John’s Jottings: Change & Choice


2019 is certainly a challenging year for those of us in production agriculture, and in agribusiness as well. Recently, many of us attended the NEAFA Annual Meeting in Florida. As an industry, we face a time of change and choice. Sometimes those changes are voluntary, yet other changes happen where we don’t have a choice. Learning to accept what the future holds for us and to adapt with it is the key to growth in the upcoming year. Most likely you have changes going on in your life. Recently, many of us attended the NEAFA Annual Meeting in Florida, where we explored some of the changes and choices that our industry is currently facing.

While all of the speakers did a great job, some really resonated with me. The dairy producer panel of four unique and diverse producers gave us their current perspectives and how they are meeting their current challenges, each differently. Beth Meyer illustrated numerous ways to prepare for public communications on social and other forms of media. Patrick Clark gave us the C6 Advantage in the form of feed mills, and Sheila Pierson showed us how to identify with different generations, including our own.

A true standout for me was motivational speaker Chad Hymas. He was forced to change, and he had many difficult choices to make afterwards. In 2001, as an active farmer in a hurry, he was in an accident that left him without use of all four of his limbs. Imagining the worst day you or I have ever had, it’s hard to think of anything that compares to this challenge. Hymas had to change, he had no choice in the matter. Some of us have a choice to change or not. Hymas told us, if we listened as well as read between the lines, that as he suffered tremendous challenges, he even contemplated suicide. For a long time, he could not see the light at the end of the tunnel. His success today is a stark reminder that even if you can’t see the light in a situation, it may just need more time to come into focus. For Hymas, that light shines when he goes into a room now.

As I close, I’m reminded of a famous Benjamin Franklin quote. “We must all hang together, or most assuredly we will all hang separately.” For those that missed the annual meeting, please know that you were missed, and we hope to reconnect with you throughout the year at different events and at next year’s meeting. During the remaining months of 2019, think about how will you deal with change. What choices will you make?

John’s Jottings over and out.