From the Editor: December 2016

Election selection
Lianne Appleby
Monday, 28 November 2016
By Lianne Appleby
As I write this, I have the luxury of not yet knowing the outcome of the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election. I say “luxury” with tongue firmly planted in cheek, because I went about deciding who I would have voted for with a “who do I dislike the least?” mindset.  The actual content of the candidates’ campaigns was an afterthought.

The campaigning became more amusing as time went on and the world watched with morbid curiosity – the kind of rubbernecking you see when a bad car accident has happened on the other side of the road.

U.S. citizens are now digesting the outcome of their vote and with the Electoral College (EC) vote pending – which doesn’t necessarily have to follow the popular vote, but typically does – all that’s left is for inauguration on Jan. 20 to make that choice a reality.

It’s a time of weighty reflection about whether the U.S. people collectively made the right decision – or the least wrong one.  Americans were ultimately presented with candidates that no one dared accuse of having fantastic potential as the leader of the third most populous nation in the world, and its largest economy.

The democratic process is not perfect. We’ve seen two shining examples of that in 2016 (don’t forget Brexit). It is, nevertheless, fair.

December is typically the time when marketing boards and other agricultural associations begin a democratic process of their own. With annual general meetings dotting the calendar over the next few months, industry associations will also be looking to fill open positions on their board of directors. It’s a time for a renewal and a chance for fresh blood to come in.  

The shame for our sector, though, is that for every one person who lets his or her name stand for a board position, there are probably many more equally worthy candidates who need the encouragement to take that important step in seeking nomination.  In agriculture, after all, humility does trump all. No pun intended.  

I’ve been involved with several industry recognition awards in the last decade and it has always been a struggle to entice applicants.  The problem is not a lack of aptitude.  The fact is that farmers just aren’t comfortable with recognition.

Regardless of that, poultry producers DO have passion for their industry and an inherent desire to do what’s right.  Across Canada, we are lucky to have astute people in the right positions to help move the industry forward.  But there needs to be keen talent waiting in the wings as partial turnover occurs each year – new faces to take on challenges and keep momentum.

In his inaugural speech, John F. Kennedy succinctly said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” That quote can easily be applied to our sector by interchanging the word industry for country.

We’ve just witnessed a presidential election where neither top candidate inspired confidence from the voting masses.  Take the time to reflect on how different the next four years could look for the U.S. if a selection of better-qualified candidates had entered the race and ultimately been on the final ballot.

If you have ever considered running for a board position, I sincerely encourage you to pursue it. For support, talk to your peers and ask for input.  The decision to give so much of your time to the industry should not be taken lightly, but in a democratic society, it truly is a shame when leaders are acclaimed simply because they had no serious or competent challengers.

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