Time to try something new

Time to try something new

Apr 3
Lauren Quinn, ACES Media Specialist

People around here have some pretty great ideas. I could never do justice to the range of creative solutions our faculty and students have found for problems relating to human health, family relationships, environmental issues, and more. When I hear about these innovations, my immediate reaction is something along the lines of, “whoa, awesome.”

With great new ideas or inventions that just make sense, I wonder why things haven’t always been done that way. But it turns out there are very real barriers to change.

Recently, one of our faculty members studied the factors that lead farmers to change their practices (or not). She surveyed farmers in Illinois to find out how likely they are to adopt multifunctional perennial cropping systems on their less productive land. If you’re wondering, MPCs are things like nut trees, fruit-bearing shrubs, and perennial grasses—pretty different from the corn and soybeans that most Illinois farmers are comfortable growing.

It turned out that some of them see the potential of MPCs in terms of environmental benefits and profits and are willing to give the new system a try. Who is most likely to take the plunge? Young and well-educated farmers. Older landowners aren’t as willing to change their ways.

Writing about this research made me wonder: what are my own barriers to change? I’m (relatively) young and well-educated, but have I really tried anything new or beneficial recently? Why not? Mostly, it’s trying to raise two young children while working almost full time. But is that really a good reason?

What about you? Is there something that you’ve been meaning to try? What’s holding you back? Maybe it’s time to make a change. Spring is the perfect time for new beginnings, after all.