Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What's the next step?

Serving as the chairman of the AFBF's Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee this past year was a great honor and a tremendous experience. It gave me the opportunity to travel around the country and speak to folks about our organization and industry, as well as to spend time with some of our nation's most influential agricultural leaders. The experience has given me a more informed perspective on both the opportunities and challenges that face American agriculture, and I like to think that I'm leaving the position as a more effective leader than when I first began.

As my time on the committee and service as its chairman was coming to a close, I started getting lots of questions from friends and Farm Bureau acquaintances like "What are you going to do now?" and "What's the next step?". Even though I thought these folks were asking more about what would be the next position I would seek or opportunity I would pursue, my answer was always something to the effect of going back home and re-learning how to milk cows. After all, I am fully engaged in my family's 365 day-a-year farming business, but I've spent a fairly significant amount of time away from it over the past several months.

While at the AFBF Annual Meeting in Atlanta last month, a gentleman I had never met before thanked me for the job I and the YF&R Committee had done and then asked me what my own next step was. I gave him my standard answer, but his response wasn't to smile or chuckle like most. Instead, he said just as seriously as he could be, "God puts things in our path for a reason. Don't ever forget that."

So, what's the next step? For me, it really is to focus on being a successful farmer and a good family man. I can't think of anything else that could be more important or satisfying. But whenever and however God puts something additional in my path, I just pray for the wisdom to recognize it and the ability to do a good job with it while still fulfilling my commitment to my family and farm.

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