GEAPS is, and rightfully so, proud of it’s 2013 Exchange in Louisville this week, pointing out that it’s the largest event ever. This is my 29th GEAPS. After 29 years we’re supposed to have earned and learned from great experiences, which gives us the right to provide a bit of perspective. Here’s mine:
First, the industry always represents and reflects progress. Perhaps whether we like it or not. The mergers and consolidations we’ve all seen — from farms to feed mills to co-ops — bring some pain. But it also brings progress, builds scale and often improves our opportunity to innovate, to add services and continue growing.
Second, highlighted by the attendance we’ve seen at many sessions here in Louisville, people appreciate ongoing training and education. In talking with a few of my long-time industry friends, we all like the constant emphasis on safety — on keeping our workers safe and healthy. Mark Aljets, speaking in the opening workshop on preventing catastrophic events made that point very well. He asked us to think about the impact in a small community if there is a loss-of-life incident at that town’s elevator. When you see someone at church, watch your kids growing up together, that sense of loss is heartrending. I know we’ll all keep safety training in the forefront.
Third, this market works together. We have two customers at Feed & Grain — our audience and our advertisers. Many of the advertisers I’ve worked with point out that some of their best ideas — where they make the most progress – started with customer input. Listening is a great skill. I think this industry does that.
Finally, for all of these years and more to come, this industry represents fun. To meet again with people first met 29 years ago, to pick up conversations right where we left off, to get updates on business, on what they’re changing — and on kids and grandkids, is gratifying. I’m fortunate to be part of this industry. No wonder 29 years doesn’t feel like a long time!