Lessons From the Farm (No. 1)

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Having moved back to farm country (from where I continue to manage the Faith Based Security Network), there is also the reality of needed work to be done on the farm. Fortunately, there is not (yet) any cropland; the daily duties are centered around making sure the small cow herd is healthy and accounted for.

It is rare that I can’t think of the applicability of some farm action to the realm of effective security operations. 

Such was the case this week when a neighbor called to see if I could help him out. Helping is just part of common rural hospitality. It’s called “neighboring.” When someone’s ox is in the ditch, you go help them.

He owns no oxen, but he did have a few hundred acres of corn to get harvested in a narrow window of time. He needed to keep 3 semis continuously filled as drivers ran the harvested corn to the granaries. He had a 12-row combine working nonstop cutting the corn. The missing link was a man on a tractor to catch the freshly harvested corn out of the combine into a 750 bushel mobile grain cart, then transport that corn to the waiting semis. The inset picture shows the operation and equipment well.

He set aside an hour to have one of his workers train me on the tractor and the mobile grain cart. After that I was all alone in a John Deere 8400, 4-wheel drive row-crop tractor. 

This wasn’t like driving Dad’s old 2-cylinder John Deeres 50 years ago. This $300,000 monster had a computerized cab more like a cockpit. At 30,000 pounds and 225 horsepower, it was bigger, more powerful and more expensive than any machine I’d ever operated.

One hour of training.


Think About it

The great late Jeff Cooper said, “Owning a handgun doesn't make you armed any more than owning a guitar makes you a musician” (another version quoted him as, “Owning a pistol doesn't make you a pistoleer any more than owning a piano makes you a pianist”).

A few hours operating powerful machinery doesn’t make one a farmer either.

Is your training commensurate with the tools and the needed actions? How much is a life worth?

If you think an hour might be a little light for training on a monster tractor, how much is too light for your tools of protecting life?

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