The Planted Row: The Green Sheet is turning pink

Stan Wise

By Stan Wise
Farm Forum Editor

My mother-in-law is a breast cancer survivor. Her grandmother had the disease, as well. So, you can bet your favorite tractor that I am very concerned my wife or my daughter might have to deal with breast cancer at some point in the future.

According to Breastcancer.org, one-eighth of all U.S. women are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lives. In 2017 alone, 252,710 new invasive breast cancers are expected to be diagnosed, and 40,610 women are expected to die from the disease.

Chances are high that someone you know will have to wrestle with breast cancer.

Since October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Farm Forum would like to encourage you to support breast cancer research. Next Friday, Oct. 13, with the help of our sponsors — Beadle Auto Group, Butler Machinery, South Dakota Farmers Union and Steffes Group, Inc. — the Green Sheet will become the Pink Sheet. Instead of our usual green paper cover, we will print on pink paper.

So, if you see a bunch of pink newspapers sitting on the newsstands, don’t worry — it’s still us. We’ll just look a little more fabulous in honor of all the fabulous women out there fighting cancer.

All electric future

It was only 10 years ago that Apple released the first iPhone, and suddenly smartphones were everywhere. Before that, people weren’t walking around with all the knowledge and power of the internet in their pockets. They couldn’t download the latest books or movies on the go. They didn’t have apps that would let them control all aspects of their lives and technology in the palms of their hands. 

In many ways, I liked the old reality better, but the world didn’t consult me when it introduced that new piece of technology. And for better or worse, the world isn’t going to consult you before it introduces new technology that completely changes your life and your business.

This week, I read a sobering article on CNN’s website. In the article, Mark Reuss, General Motors’ head of product development, said, “General Motors believes in an all-electric future.”

The article said General Motors plans to release two new electric vehicles in the next 18 months and a total of 20 new electric vehicles in the next six years.

I know, I know. The distances in the Midwest are often too vast to allow the use of current electric vehicles, right?

Never mind the fact that at least a few times a year I read about a new breakthrough in battery storage capacity or charging times. Never mind that GM’s latest electric release, a hatchback which starts at $36,000, can travel 238 miles on a single charge. It seems some of these new electric cars will actually be powered by fuel cells. You won’t charge them up. You’ll refill them with hydrogen gas.

Other car companies have comparable electric vehicles either already on the market or soon to be released. And, I’ve mentioned in this column before that some of my in-laws are already driving electric cars on the East Coast.

Will electric cars fully dominate the market in the future? Probably not for a long time. But remember that most people in this country live in the more densely populated cities, where daily traveling distances are much shorter. I think we would be fools to dismiss the fact that our more urban fellow citizens might find value in an electric car. How much of a market share would electric vehicles need before demand for ethanol in blended gasoline seriously diminishes?

How long before that affects corn prices?

The future is coming, and electric cars make too much sense to too many people for you and I to stop it.

So, my question is: What kind of future are you preparing for in your operation?