Call for Leadership
Aself-proclaimed “wandering chicken breeder” in the 1950s and 1960s, Donald McQueen Shaver has seen enormous changes and advancements in the poultry industry in his 88 years.
The keynote speaker at the Inaugural Poultry Innovation Conference (formerly the Poultry Health Conference) hosted by the Poultry Industry Council (PIC), Shaver gave the audience much food for thought.
Shaver noted as he began his speech the challenge of having committed himself to delivering a significant address on the heels of two noteworthy elections in North America, coupled with a near world economic collapse.
However, the timing of his address couldn’t have been more perfect. Who else but someone of his significance, who has been a key player in the development of poultry industries worldwide, could discuss what the poultry industry in Canada (and farmers as individuals) must do in order to remain successful in such turbulent times?
Adding poignancy to his words was the fact that his address was given on Remembrance Day, before (and after) the silent observance of the eleventh hour. As a veteran of the Second World War, Shaver noted that many attendees “cannot really understand how a participant might have his or her life shaped by such an event” and how living and fighting for years so far away from home profoundly influenced the values, attitudes and commitment of those that served.
He spoke of “worrisome issues” – the Canadian poultry industry, international trade, food production and sustainability –with such insight that he simply cannot be ignored.
One of the underlying themes of his address was the need for leadership. Shaver stated “we desperately need a 21st Century Churchill,” a leader who can lead us through what we and the rest of the world are embarking upon: a second industrial revolution.
To protect our industries and our “way of life,” Shaver stated that we will be required to adjust to an energy-constrained future. He is absolutely right. Saving energy isn’t just about saving money – it’s also about sustainability.
We are heading into what will undoubtedly be a difficult year, caused by a worldwide financial collapse unseen since the Great Depression, it’s important to reflect on how this might change the world as we know it – and how we do business. Our industry has many quiet leaders who have made changes on their own farms or within their business to save resources, money and meet ever-changing consumer demands.
I hope those who attended the conference and heard Shaver’s talk walked away with a sense that although the world seems like a crazy, uncertain place right now, there are tangible solutions (for those of you who were not able to attend the conference, Shaver’s speech will be included in our next issue). It will just take strength on the part of industry to step up to the plate and not be fearful to try new things, discard the current barriers to progress and start to think outside of the box – and recognize the ideas of our “quiet” leaders.
On behalf of Canadian Poultry magazine, I wish you and your families all the best this holiday season. n
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