"The sweet potato farmer"

Not much to say - just read it!

The story about the sweet-potato farmer.
Once upon a time there was a sweet-potato farmer. He was living on a farm that was fairly large when it comes to sweet-potato farming in his country, but he was struggling a bit to survive. He had lost a part of the farm where he was growing another crop and could no longer afford to pay his worker to look permanently after the sweet-potatoes. Well, it happened that a former sweet-potato farmer from another country came along, and he had a sweet-potato cutting himself and needed a place where to plant it. The struggling farmer said he could plant his cutting on his farm and that it would be great if the foreign farmer could help out as a farm-worker.
   The foreign farmer, who had left sweet-potato farming because he felt that it was too much jealousy and too little knowledge and aspirations among the sweet-potato farmers in his own country and also places overseas where he had been, said ok after a long period of thinking. He was after all responsible for his own cutting and the cutting wanted to try to become a strong plant.
   The foreign farmer took a good look at the local conditions, included a survey of the farm and the farming principles in the area. He also spent many hours studying new varieties of sweet-potatoes and how they made them to grow well in other countries. He was a bit surprised, but pleasantly, to see that some of the farming-principles he himself had developed some years ago now were used by the leading sweet-potato growing country in the world. He also noticed that the principles for educating sweet-potato workers used in the farmers country were the same that were used in his former country years ago.

The foreign farmer started helping out, tending the established cuttings and plants. He immediately saw what needed to be done to improve the crops and explained to the farmer that to grow sweet-potatoes you had to get hold of new cuttings all the time, and that the younger plants needed to grow together in one field to become good tasting and not wilt and die.
   The foreign farmer had extensive experience in growing sweet-potatoes, and he had also the highest education both as a sweet-potato worker and a farmer. He had also educated sweet-potato farmers and workers all over his former country, and had helped them to run their farms and showed them how to grow sweet-potatoes. Not only had he established the largest sweet-potato farm in his former country but his sweet-potatoes were famous for always becoming the best tasting. He had many trophies from national and international sweet-potato shows.
   The foreign sweet-potato farmer started his work in good spirits but was soon surprised and shocked to learn that the struggling farmer did not seem to want his help after all. Whatever he explained about how to do farming in a better way was neglected and all the ideas and suggestions he came up with were rejected. He managed to get hold of quite a lot of new cuttings, with a view to the local conditions, but the farmer and the former full-time worker did not find more than one inexperienced worker who could help him to tend them. That was not enough, since the foreign farmer now were looking after all the sweet-potatoes at the farm, from tender cuttings to very mature plants. Some of the established but still young plants did not seem like the improved ways of farming techniques the foreign framer and the former full-time worker tried to introduce. They rather wanted to manage on their own. This made the foreign farmer very sad because he knew he could help them to become very strong plants and that they on their own would welter and die before reaching potato-setting age.
   The foreign farmer tried again and again to explain to the farmer that there had to be plans and goals in place if you want to grow sweet-potatoes or other crops, and explained how they did their successful farming in Europe and other parts of the world. And was very shocked and sad to hear the reply that he rather should go back to the place in Europe where he came from. He wanted to help the farmer here, not the farmers overseas!
   Well, it so happened that the foreign farmer went back to the place he came from but only for a visit. And he was pleasantly surprised to see that his old farm was thriving almost as well as it did when he was running it. His former farm had been closed down some years because of a fire but the new farmer told him that they had found his old development plans and used them to rebuilt the farm. The new farmer was also happy to hear that the visiting farmer was pleased to see so many young cuttings growing together: - You are a legend here, what you say is important to us, he said.
   It was also fun for the foreign farmer to see that the ideas and plans he had come up with years ago now was put back into the sweet-potato growing all over the country and that everything was thriving. There were might be even more cuttings in the fields now than when he was working hard to improve the standard of sweet-potato growing - and one of the reasons might be that the young workers he had educated himself now were adults and had their own cuttings and were keen on making everything prosper!
   The foreign farmer helped out a bit on his old farm as a volunteer worker just for fun and was pleasantly surprised to see that the young cuttings seemed to have a lot of respect for him and that the workers asked his opinion. At two large sweet-potato shows he helped all the cuttings from his old farm to do their best - and the cuttings seemed to thrive with him in the garden - even a very promising cutting competing with the best mature plants in the country!

It was not easy for the foreign farmer to return to the new country where he had settled down and go back to help the local sweet-potato farmer. But his own cutting still wanted to become a plant competing in shows, so as a responsible person he was feeling that he just had to help. What really was nagging him was the question: What good would it do to help his own cutting to become a strong and competitive plant when he most certainly would wilt and die after a year or so because there were so few other cuttings? He wished he never had taken his cutting to the local sweet-potato farm, he should have known it could end bad.
   Another thing that was nagging him was questions staring with "why". Why did the farmer treat him like he did - what had he done wrong? Why did the farmer ignore his capacity? Why did he refuse to listen to his well-meant and well thought-trough advices? Did the farmer believe he knew so much better - could he not see that the foreign farmer was the one that could help him to save the somewhat problem-stricken farm and make it flourish? Why did the farmer not listen to the former full- time worker when he said that the farmer was extremely lucky to have such a capacity wanting to help out? Was it a case of patriotism - did he not like that a farmer from a foreign country should give him advice? Or - did the farmer not understand his accent or like the way he looked? Or was it just ignorance or lack of respect for sweet-potato farming as such?

The foreign farmer always took his responsibilities serious, and that he was met with such a strange and negative behaviour at the local farm was constantly bothering him. It was hard for him to concentrate at his regular work and hard to sleep night-time. He had spent many, many hours besides his work in the farmer's garden planning farming procedures and gardening activities that might be used by the farmer. The foreign farmer now felt it was such a waste of time but could only scratch his head trying to understand why the farmer was so negative. He knew that another foreign farmer trying to help a farm growing another kind of crop in the same area had experienced similar problems but why should it have to be like this?
   The foreign farmer felt sorry his own cutting, for the sweet-potato farmer and all the cutting that he had collected to the garden just to see them disappear, but most of all he felt sorry for the young cuttings already established on the farm; He would have loved to help them to prosper, and he knew he could do it, but now he only could watch them wilt and die.

   When the new growing season started the foreign worker was surprised that several workers suddenly wanted to work at the farm. And this time without getting paid. The foreign farmed had been working voluntary in sweet-potato growing and other agricultural activities for many years so he did not mind that there were no money, but what really surprised him was that the workers were not interested in co-operating. The workers wanted to have a few of their own cuttings they could tend in their own little piece of the farms garden. It was bad enough that some of the young plants did not want to follow the growing procedures that the former full-time worker and he had established, because that was really cruel against the other young plants, but to keep the young cuttings totally from each other was against all agricultural principles.
   To have enough workers is almost always a good thing but the foreign farmer knew very well that they had to co-operate. Different workers might have different ways of growing sweet-potatoes. That is more or less ok when it comes to separate sweet-potato growing countries: They can compete - to see which country can do best at the international shows. But when it comes to one farm, with not many cuttings, the workers just got to agree on how to grow the cuttings and plants. For if you gave the wrong fertilizer to one young plant it might not only harm the plant but also spread to the other plants. And a fertilizer that worked for one plant might not work for another, so of course the workers had to talk to each other to establish what kind of fertilizer was working best for each plant. The workers and the farmer should also sit down to decide what kind of sweet-potato farming they actually wanted. If the farmer wanted to take part in sweet-potato shows then they should decide what results he wanted. And then they should plan how they could help all the plants to grow to their best ability or the ability needed to get the results.
   After another period of scratching his head the foreign farmer heard the farmer say that sweet-potato growing just was hobby, he was not actually farming to make the best sweet-potatoes. Well, a hobby is always fun but many years of experience in several countries had taught the foreign farmer that to have sweet-potato growing as a hobby did not work in the long run. It is fun for a while but then the interest is always fading away. Sweet-potato growing was the same as all agricultural activity - you just had to be serious it to be in it!

The foreign farmer would have loved to help promote sweet-potato farming but what was the use if it only was a hobby for the farmer? The foreign farmer had the experience necessary, and had successfully promoted sweet-potato growing in his own country and overseas, but how could he promote sweet-potato growing when there were no serious plans in place? He did not want to be responsible to see fresh cutting be brought to the farm just to see the die - not again!

So what should the foreign farmer do? Should he start his own sweet-potato farm? Well, that would certainly bring more happiness into his life but it would also bring a lot of more of hard work. And at the moment he had some important projects to complete - had had put them on hold to help the farmer. He could set aside a number of hours to help his own and other sweet-potato cuttings grow but to establish a farm on his own would demand a lot of him - he knew that from experience. Should he take his own cutting to another farm? Or might be try to make him grow together with other kind of crops and forget about being a sweet-potato?
   What he really wanted was that the farmer should realize that he was wasting a resource that was very hard to find and change his negative attitude. Is should not take much - should it?

Academy 2008 - the academy was never approved/started.
Newsletter 2009 - start of the season/year.
Coaching Comittee - 2009 - established and later cancelled.
Development Committee - 2009 - established and cancelled.
Coaching plan, period 1 - 2009
Coaching plan, period 2 - 2009
Coaching plan, period 3 - 2009
Own evaluation, players - 2009
The Turbo Table
Coaching Clinic - 2009 - Easter Holiday week-end coaching.
All Ages Tournament
Recuitment - 2009 - drives to get new members.
"Time for a change"
- letter concerning coaching.
Junior Invitation Series
- an attempt to get the juniors back.
Coaches Workshop - 2010
- cancelled same day.

Supporting letter for Terry - from Paul Jones
Who is Terry Dahl? Information about me.