Columbus Day has always been on the second Monday of October and traditionally celebrates the discovery that Christopher Columbus made in 1492 after he sailed the ocean blue.  We all know that he “discovered” the Americas and it is a Federal Holiday that we observe in the United States where most banks and schools are closed.  As we reflect, though, there could be a correlation between Christopher Columbus and all of the individual farmers who are thinking about building an on-farm rice mill, but are nervous about the unknown?  Let’s take a look at his journey.

  1. Funding.  Christopher Columbus started his funding campaign in 1485, pleading to King John II of Portugal, who submitted Columbus’ proposal to his cabinet.  After several years, it was rejected.  He then appealed to the court, but his efforts proved unsuccessful.  In 1489, he presented his plans to Queen Isabella of Castile, whose committee pronounced the idea impractical.  After repeated negotiations, he finally succeeded in 1492 to get funding.  For seven years, he searched for funding, presented new plans, and negotiated because he believed in his plans.
  2. The plan.  Columbus thought he knew the plan.  Back in his day, there were arguments as to what the diameter of the earth actually was.  He believed that the earth’s circumference was roughly 25,255 km, when in fact it is about 40,000 km.
  3. Trials.  On day three of the journey, the rudder of one of the ships (The Pinta) broke.  A month later, his compass no longer pointed to the North Star, but a mark varying a half point to the northwest (known as magnetic north).  His crew threatened to sail back to Spain, but he was able to reassure them.  After arriving, there were multiple other voyages where Columbus: experienced disobeying crew members and friends who betrayed him, was stranded in Jamaica for a year, and was even arrested for six weeks.

We can learn a lot from Christopher Columbus when pursuing the dream of owning our own rice mill.  Funding isn’t always going to come easy, things are never going to go as planned, and you can expect many trials as you learn how to maximize your milling efforts.  The great journalist, Dan Rather, once said,  “If all difficulties were known at the onset of a long journey, most of us would never start out at all.”  Columbus obviously didn’t know what all lay ahead for him, but he believed in his dream and chased it.  When you look at how much more we have today than he had 500 years ago, how much greater accomplishments can you amass than he?

To learn more about the history of Christopher Columbus, here is a great video done from A&E.  For more information about ZaccariaUSA or to become a fan on our Facebook page, visit us at

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