Sid Parks

Sid Parks

I would guess somewhere among my readers, there are more than a few St. Louis Cardinals baseball fans. Not to alienate anyone who is not, I hope you will indulge me sharing a little of my life with you. And yes, I know this column space is to be themed around profitability. I’ll try to get there, too.

I have been a Cardinals fan since I was a kid. I grew up listening to the broadcast on our local radio affiliate, with the likes of Bob Gibson, Lou Brock or Ozzie Smith taking the field and making plays. More recently, Albert Pujols and Yadi Molina were the stars getting accolades. There are still many star athletes on the team, but I want to focus on one of my favorites, Adam Wainwright.

Wainwright has been one of the more durable pitchers in the majors. He has pitched 17 seasons with the Cards and holds many records both for the team and in MLB. He is a three-time all-star, has pitched in and contributed to the Cards winning a couple World Series. He has endured several injuries which could have ended his career. He has been very successful, and recently announced this would be his final season.

I am not linking myself to Wainwright, but I do find many similarities. His faith, his family, love of competing and belonging to a great organization are some that come to mind.

Last year, Wainwright began doing what he calls the “Old Man Walk” on his day after pitching. Whether visiting the many ballparks around the league or in St. Louis, he takes time to explore the many great venues and people and appreciate the time and blessing he has enjoyed being a major league player.

Today, I am doing my own “Old Man Walk” of sorts. After over 33 years, and roughly a million or so miles driving around the Midwest, teaching or training, speaking at conferences or meetings, interacting with growers, industry, academia and employees of our fine system, my time working for GROWMARK as well as having this opportunity with FarmWeek is ending. I will be retiring at the end of January, and very much appreciating the opportunity to work for and serve our customers.

If my records are complete, I’ve been contributing to FarmWeek for more than half my career, as I found articles going back over 16 years. I’d put the assigned publish dates on my calendar and every other month or so, that deadline would sneak up on me. In the early days, I used to stress over the topic and taking the time to get it delivered to my editor. It did get easier, at least the stress part.

I often wondered if anyone even read the articles because in this format, feedback is rare. I would occasionally get an email or have someone come up to me in my travels or at some meeting and comment, say they enjoyed an article or even compliment me on my writing or an opinion. I guess that makes all the fretting worthwhile. After all, isn’t that what we’re all looking for? Some acknowledgement that we’re reaching someone with our efforts?

Over the years, I’ve written a lot about soil testing, fertility management, new technologies and economic issues both during times of challenges and opportunities. If I could sum up the entire effort, I’ll use the words of one of my former mentors and supervisors. He’d say, “Good agronomy always wins over time” and I have tried to stay true to the fundamentals.

I’d always try to close my articles with a reminder to consult your local FS crop specialist or FS precision professional for assistance. If I can sign off with those words of wisdom from Rod, and a final plug for my peers, I will consider my job done. Thanks for this opportunity. I’m wishing you all the best.

Sid Parks is senior manager of agronomy technology at GROWMARK.