Opinion: Spend A Little, Grow A Lot

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Paul Rusnak

There are some sensitive folks out there who will argue in the honor of all that is love, but facts are it’s money that truly makes the world go ’round — and there’s no shortage of currency in circulation. Where and how it’s invested is the problem. The saying, “You have to spend money to make money,” may ring true, but parting with your earnings can be quite difficult, especially in an economy that hasn’t inspired confidence in recent years.

Lump me into the thrifty is nifty crowd. While several much-needed home improvement projects around my stead await, I’m still reluctant to pull the trigger even though I’ve done my homework and know the upgrades would pay for themselves in relatively short order. My wife thinks I need help. Yes, perhaps I do. But I know I’m not alone, and I have proof. In a recent reader poll question, we asked: Do you plan to make capital improvements to your farm in the coming year? A good chunk of respondents said they had no plans to pony up. Now, it could be those who responded in the negative have recently made upgrades, or they’re waiting ’til next year, or they’re happy with their current situation. Maybe it’s something else.

Spare Some Change?

When you have a hot hand, it’s hard to know when to pull back and assess. Farmers who have made a living for generations off the same land and same crop run the risk of hitting a rut, or worse. Such is the case with citrus. It’s no secret acreage has shrunk and the numbers of fruit and growers have dwindled. Devastating diseases and freezes will do that.
The Lowe family, Florida Grower’s July cover story, was not afraid to trade tradition for survival. For nearly a century, citrus was the bailiwick of these multigenerational growers. However, modern problems helped them find opportunity in their latest venture, Lake Catherine Blueberries. The decision to invest literally and figuratively in a whole new farming philosophy and crop sector wasn’t easy, but it is paying off. And it’s not proving profitable just because they picked a hot crop at the right time (though that helps). Time and money in marketing onsite and online have turned out to be the right moves, which has them in prime position to start a whole new legacy of growth.

It Adds Up

Much to the chagrin of any red-blooded, success-driven individual, having more money doesn’t necessarily solve all life’s problems — business or personal. Tales of woe about the roller-coaster rise and fall of mega lottery winners exist as a lesson to us all. Wise investments have a lot to do with knowledge and little to do with luck. The business landscape is always changing. You have to be willing to recognize the shift and adjust with it. The transformation isn’t always quick either. A methodical approach, even one nearly 100 years in the making, isn’t unheard of. And there’s nothing wrong with taking your time. I just need to convince my wife of that.

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