Lessons Learned: Dave Lynn

This Illinois farmer talks about the importance of listening, patience and going a little easier on himself.

By Jeff Caldwell | Photos By Christy Couch Lee

Dave Lynn knows the value of experience on his Williamsfield, Ill., row crop and cattle operation. He’s gained a lot of it from the relationships he’s had with area farmers dating back to when he was just starting out on the farm. But, this self-effacing farmer will be the first person to laugh and say he’s never listened to the advice he’s been given … at least not the first time. Here’s a bit of what Lynn’s learned.

FL: What was the best advice anyone’s ever given you?

DL: “Old Pappy” was the father of Les Potts, owner of our farm. He gave me most of my education. When I was about 12 years old, he was in his 70s, and I was with him all of the time. To this day, I can still hear him say it like it was yesterday: ‘He who don’t taketh care of nothing will haveth nothing.’”

FL: What have you learned about trying to predict the future?

DL: Predicting the future? Ha! I have learned the hard way just to not try. Every time I think I have the future figured out, things turn around and go the opposite way!

FL: How have you changed since you were younger?

DL: Well, I haven’t gotten any taller, and I’ve gained some weight! But, I’d have to say I have gained patience. When I was younger, I never had enough patience. It still sometimes seems like I never have enough, but I have gained a lot over the years.

FL: What’s a mistake you’ve made that taught you a lesson?

DL: It’s hard for me to separate all the mistakes I’ve made. Even if it’s something small in the field that causes a little extra work, I think all of my mistakes have taught me something. I make enough mistakes that I try to learn from all of them. But, sometimes you feel like you don’t want to learn anymore!

FL: What’s something you’d like to learn to do, but never have?

DL: I have always wanted to learn how to play guitar, but I never have. I’ve always said I don’t think I could do it. I don’t think my left hand is attached to my brain! But, I also need to learn how to stop putting so much pressure on myself. I’m my biggest critic, and I hope to learn how to go easier on myself someday.

FL: Any advice for the FarmLife readers?

DL: Listen to the “old guys.” Ever since I was a young kid in high school, I always had the older farmers around here. Even when I was just working on the farm part-time, I always had them around to share with me all of their experience.

<< See Dave Lynn’s full story, “Heavy Metal, High Tech”