While on our Sept. 23 conference call with the Board of Directors, a decision was made not to have an in-person national convention in February next year, because of COVID-19. This was not an easy decision, but after much discussion, everyone felt the safety of our members and staff had to be our top priority.
The administration and staff have started holding weekly calls to iron out the details about what our virtual convention will look like. As these details come together, we will do our best to keep everyone informed through our Facebook page, magazine articles and convention emails.
2020 is the year that we will not soon forget. To say it continues to be a difficult year is putting it mildly. Our fiscal year ended on September 30. In spite of the fact that a vast majority of our staff have been working from home, we have experienced one of our best years in recent memory. From growth in our commodity departments, to the number of new members, it has truly been a team effort and a lot of hard work. A big thank you to our staff and members who made it happen.
Down on the farm, COVID-19 has only added more stress and anxiety to what was already a difficult situation. After years of low commodity prices, this year has only caused more volatility and extremely adverse market conditions. We continue to experience more extreme weather conditions, a complete disregard for buyer concentration and foreign ownership of much of our nation’s food chain.
Whether we want to admit it or not, I believe politics is playing a larger part in commodity prices than ever before. This is also an election year and a lot of money is being sent out across rural America. We all know that this money is desperately needed because of COVID-19 and continued low farm prices, but I wish it was real income originating from the marketplace. If you follow the money, these subsidies are certainly not given out in a fair or equitable manner in regard to various commodities or farm size.
Many moving parts are involved when it comes to fixing the farm gate price problem on farms and ranches across this great country, but simply subsidizing a broken system with more money is like putting a bandage on someone with a terminal disease. This has been going on for years; if you don’t believe me, just look at our national debt. I’d like to remind all of you where real wealth truly originates.
I want to end on a positive note. Please read the story on pages 4 and 5 about our new livestock facility in Manchester, Iowa. This is truly a success story about what happens when people not only work hard, but also work together. Congratulations to everyone who made it happen.
Until next time, stay safe and healthy.