In honor of Father’s Day, farmer and South Dakota Soybean President, Jordan Scott, with Scott Family Farms, discusses the importance of family and farming. He explains how the farming industry has evolved immensely from what it was like when his grandpa farmed, to what it is like today.
How has farming changed from previous generations to now and how have they changed so quickly?
When my grandpa was farming, they were out with 50 to 100 horsepower tractors with no heat or air, open cab out in the elements in the dust and everything. Now we’re riding around in five or six hundred horsepower tractors and huge equipment and air conditioning and heated seats and things like that, you know, so it’s changed quite a bit in the technology space for sure. Even since I’ve started farming with my dad, it’s changed quite a bit. The technology has grown really fast. The things that we’re tracking and paying attention to now, we wouldn’t have even thought about 20 years ago. It’s a crazy fast growing world in technology, for sure.
How do you think a farm successfully continues on for generations with keeping up with all of the new technology?
It’s all about sustainability. If you’re not doing sustainable things on your farm, you’re not going to continue that tradition and survive. You have to be sustainable to adjust for the market, environmental, and political changes. So if you’re not doing sustainable practices, you won’t be around for a long time. That comes with experience and multigenerational stuff helps with the experience. You see what your dad or your grandfather did and learn from their mistakes and hopefully not make the same ones.
What do you think the future of farming is going to look like for this next generation?
I think there’s going to be a lot more automation. It’s going to look a lot more like a video game than farming. You’ll probably be managing a fleet of drones or robots rather than sitting in the tractor. Who knows what the future holds, but that’s kind of the direction it’s headed. The things we’re doing now my grandpa would have never thought were possible. So it’s hard to judge what’s going to come in the future.
We’re already using drones just for video and things like that. We can use them to check our plant standards and we can fly over a field and it’ll tell us how many plants are in a certain row or missing plants in an area. It’ll tell you your plant health based on the color of the plant and things like that. So it’s already coming, but I think it’ll get a lot more advanced in the future.
What does the importance of family and farming mean to you?
Our farm is called Scott Family Farms, so family is important enough that we put it in our farm name. I think it’s really cool to be working with my dad every day and seeing my two year old son come out and ride along in the tractors with dad and grandpa. I think grandpa likes it a lot, too. The reason I work so hard and spend long hours in the tractor away from my family is to provide for my family and to be sustainable like we talked about and to continue this lifestyle that we’ve built here. If we’re not doing sustainable things then my kids can’t farm and their kids can’t farm. So a lot of the decisions we make on the farm are based off of the next generation and keeping them able to farm if they want to.
Do you think now having your own family that your your goals and hopes and visions for the future farming has changed?
Oh, absolutely. When you have kids, everything changes, they say, and it’s true. As soon as you’re taking care of kids your priorities are more focused on them than on you. It changes pretty quick. A lot of the decisions we were making before, from my viewpoint, were based on what’s best for us right now. After having kids, it’s changed from that to what’s best for my kids and their kids. You start thinking a little more long term.
Jordan and Samantha Scott just welcomed their second boy, Dane Marshall K. Scott, congratulations!