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An Important Perspective

Well-known figure’s passing brings clarity to what really matters

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Our industry lost a great person in February. Kevin Miles, president of Rolfes@Boone passed away in his sleep on Feb. 26.

I’ve known Kevin since the late 70s, when we were both getting involved in this industry, me as a sales rep for Feed & Grain Times and he as a sales rep for G.A. Rolfes. He was high energy, friendly, straight-forward, one of those people that ... cared. He cared about you and how you were doing, about his business and his co-workers. He cared about growing and creating opportunities. In my opinion, he was always willing to tell others about his perspective on the market and issues we face, and even more willing to listen to others’ ideas and learn from their experiences.

Before hearing about Kevin, I had started working on this column focusing on some positive aspects for the feed and grain markets as we steam through 2020. We had upbeat news about the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, with leaders from the AFIA and NGFA pointing out the opportunities for moving more U.S. ag products and enhancing trading opportunities beyond North America.

I was thinking that maybe this year, should long-range weather forecasts hold, we could see a better spring planting. I was excited that the early USDA forecast provided bearish projections for the upcoming crop year, including record production and domestic use, increased exports, and higher ending stocks for corn, along with higher crush and exports for soybeans.

If accurate, this is great news! And that’s exactly how Kevin would have looked at it. It means we’ll handle and process and export more U.S. agri-products. We’ll keep people employed and active and successful in this industry. More importantly, we’ll create new jobs. And that’s how people support themselves, their families, their communities, their schools, their churches ... and so much more.
That’s a great point of view, isn’t it?

I worry about how our business will do this year. I worry about how your business will do. It’s all intertwined and complex, affected by domestic political policies, by politics across the globe, by the threat of a global pandemic, by drought or floods or ... whatever gets thrown at us.

Sometimes, though, in the midst of our hectic work lives, we get a reminder that a narrow focus on the day-to-day can distract us from other important aspects of our lives and those we work with and care about. It’s an important perspective. But a sorrowful way to be reminded. ■

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