|Louis Schurmann and Dave Taylor – longtime dairy producer advocates and leaders.||The Mainland Young Milk Producers – a brilliant, positive incubator for discussing issues, learning and interacting with dairy producers that share similar challenges.|
It’s easy to get caught up in your own ‘stuff.’ We all have too much to do and not enough time to get it done. It’s too easy to stay home and just work harder.
The nature of dairy farming keeps everyone working long days close to the barn. A lot of information flows directly to your smartphones – we’re connected to others, social media and news like never before. But it can never replace gathering with others. Sure, we like the socializing, but I think we benefit from the exposure to new ideas that come from interesting origins – not necessarily Facebook.
This recent BC Dairy Industry Conference marked its tenth year – well worth noting, since it continues to go strong despite our steadily shrinking producer numbers. Not everyone agrees on the downtown venue, but it remains a draw to most to get away from the farm and see what the urban neighbours are up to. I appreciate the efforts of the organizers to find interesting and varied keynote speakers every year – it can’t be easy. You will find summaries of most of the presentations in this issue – but they can’t possibly replace the value of actually being there to experience the emotions, details, questions and reactions. If you’ve not attended, I would encourage you to come out and see what your industry is doing past the farm gate – we are blessed with many producers that sit on boards and committees to help guide this business. More than ever – we need everyone to support our leaders as they continue to advocate for dairy in the political halls that we must watch constantly.
At a different level, I had the pleasure of attending the Mainland Young Milk Producers Winter Gala in Abbotsford in December. What a brilliant concept! Bringing together young people with similar challenges and interests in a fun, welcoming and positive structure builds engagement and leadership early! Everyone starts their dairy journey somewhere, and this group offers a safe place to engage at important levels without judgement! I think many would agree that sometimes personal growth and learning is enhanced away from home and parents.
While much of 2018 was spent in the clutches of NAFTA battles, I am hopeful that we can put our hands around its neck and not let it choke our momentum to be positive, progressive and innovative. We can’t change the outcome – we can only adapt and be enthusiastic for the non-dairy world to see who we really are! We are a vibrant, progressive industry of family farms, and we need to ensure our reputations deserve the support of Canadian consumers.
If you can’t join a board, at least come out and engage with your peers – we are better when we work together and pull together. Besides, life’s a journey – get involved and make it interesting!