Bring on the change. In agriculture’s climate of constant flux, convention can be costly. Spotting and dealing with change before it charges through the gate is a high-wire act and part of farming survival.

Speaking at the recent Tomorrow’s Top Producer Conference, Dino Giacomazzi says tomorrow’s top operators must recognize the lethal effect of disruptors that can break a farming business. The fourth-generation California dairy producer details the actions producers can take to adapt to a business world that’s constantly in flux.

“As a producer, I know I have to listen to what is being said on the fringes. Why? Those fringes often become mandates in short time,” Giacomazzi says. “What can we do now to change, in case we get forced to change?”

From the get-go, Giacomazzi began implementing new technologies. He dropped conventional tillage and switched to strip till, resulting in an 82% reduction in tractor passes. “The hippies loved it, the EPA loved it and the banks loved it,” he says.

Giacomazzi maintains vigil searching for approaching disruptors, whether consumers, GMO controversies, regulations, water technology, synthetic food, bitcoin or 3-D printing. “I don’t want to get knocked out by a black swan I never saw coming,” he says.