It isn’t the only lesson from 2021, but it’s potentially among the most important: Our farm organizations will only grow more valuable the further we get into this decade.
I pointed out once before in this space that there are two questions we almost never ask in our Country Guide interviews. What farm organizations are you involved in? And how much emphasis do you put on participating in them?
When I pointed that out last year, I promised to turn a new leaf. But we didn’t, so I’m promising again. I can feel the Zoom calls with our writers taking shape as I type.
I also said that we would look into asking farmers in their mid- and late-careers how much effort they put into creating an expectation that their children and grandchildren will support industry organizations too.
Again, we didn’t get it done. And, again, we’ll do better.
It’s important that we do. 2021 has been the most insistent year that I can remember. It has insisted that we rapidly evolve in the face of economic mega-factors like COVID-19.
And it has insisted that we learn to fight simultaneously on multiple fronts in those battles. Who knew that a virus would send container freight rates skyrocketing?
2021 has also insisted that Canadian agriculture contend with global warming. And also that we watch that other production regions may be stealing a competitive step on us. (Fabian Flintoff begins a series from Australia in our October 5 issue that bears close reading.)
At the same time, though, 2021 has also given us fresh insight into the capability of Canada’s farm organizations to mediate our way through and above these challenges.
The expectations that are placed on our farm organizations and the range of issues that they need to engage with are far beyond anything that previous generations ever saw.
When I began in this business, going to a board meeting was like watching a local municipal council in some old black-and-white movie. I exaggerate. They did much good work, but you get my point.
Today the skill sets that are assembled for such meetings put them on a par with the boardrooms of large corporations.
The thing is, as every farmer knows, just having a lot of horsepower under the hood doesn’t mean the field is going to get worked right. In fact, the extra horsepower makes it even more imperative that the operator knows exactly how to take control.
It takes a guiding intelligence. And vision.
Agriculture is a community of independent farms. As I see it, that’s inescapable.
So, while I organize these Zoom calls, assign someone on your farm to research what organizations you might support, and how you might support them. Or do the research yourself.
Then, for the good of agriculture, decide. It’s what you’re good at.
Are we getting it right? Let me know at [email protected].