For the past few weeks, outside of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Americans have been watching the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments and they’re up double digits.

What this might tell us is that people want to escape the drumbeat of politics, stories of inflation, and bad network programming. Those of us who live on farms and ranches want to see our favorite land-grant university in the Final Four — it’s not our year — but we’ve reluctantly adjusted to seeing sister universities keep playing. .

The plot of the Final Four, where any team can do a magic run, creates great drama and talk around the water cooler. It keeps us dreaming of how we could celebrate if our team made it to the Big Dance finals.

The tournament represents what farming is with important differences. We don’t always get everything we want, but that’s not an all or nothing proposition. Agriculture is a powerhouse, but it is powered by individual operations where operators must make decisions that are best for them. The prize is not to be the best grower or breeder in the country, although much can be learned from the decisions that go into these operations. Rather, the goal is to become the best producer with the available resources.

At High Plains Journal, our staff have written many stories about profitable growers, whether on the cover, inside or as part of a panel discussion. We quickly learn that there are many ways to be successful. The willingness of farmers and ranchers to share stories of their individual trials and errors and the changes they incorporated has long intrigued agricultural writers and readers alike.

While the tournament is called March Madness, in farming and animal husbandry, the company itself has a moxie of the madness method.

One of the most important provisions is staying in touch with family, friends and associates. During the tournament, teams go uphill and downhill sometimes in minutes. Great coaches recognize that they have to call a time out and make adjustments. Even the greatest players should be advised to stick with the fundamentals while making modifications. Even with near-record grain prices and strong livestock prices, there are immense challenges that will require adjustments in a producer’s game plan. Any grower who has priced fertilizer for this growing season knows that even small adjustments can improve their bottom line.

This season won’t be easy as much of the High Plains region continues to face drought, but unlike the NCAA tournament which is a one-time deal, farmer and rancher have a long season and there will be challenges to address and opportunities to explore.

Following a good plan has the potential for a great enjoyable dance at the end of your year.

While our favorite team may not have made it to the NCAA Tournament, we share a common theme with the ever-optimistic farmer and rancher who knows that with the right preparation, there’s always next year.