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What will 2022 bring?

Amanda Radke Speaking.jpg
As we say goodbye to 2021, we can reflect on lessons learned from a tough year and prepare for what’s to come with seasoned wisdom.

This past year has been challenging for many producers.

An ongoing drought in many parts of the country squeezed feed supplies and forced many to cull hard to reduce numbers.

Increasing input costs are nothing new for producers, but with the high rates of inflation and the rising price of goods in all areas, the sticker tag to operate was higher than usual.

Many ranches have called it quits, scheduling their dispersals and moving onto the next chapter.

Others are still reeling from recent weather events — notably tornadoes in Kentucky and wildfires in Kansas.

Meanwhile, heated debates with no resolutions in sight continue on the topics of fair cattle markets and packer consolidation.

Supply chain disruptions have left many producers scrambling for items they need to operate. And on the retail end, empty shelves seem to be becoming more commonplace.

Everyday we hear from the “experts” that cattle are destroying the planet, and the solution is lab-created meat substitutions or plant-based alternatives.

Combine all of these challenges with the ongoing pandemic — the loss of life, the loss of economic opportunities, the isolation, the division, the negativity, the uncertainty and the lack of stability — it’s safe to say that 2021 has been tough for a lot of people.

Yet, we also see success stories of producers who are finding success by going against the grain. These folks are willing to create their own pathways to success. They are exiting the system that has failed them, and are starting new by claiming more of the process from pasture to plate.

These folks have realized that the closer they get to the consumer, the more value they can add to their products.

I’ve been so inspired by producers who have seen the challenges and obstacles ahead, and instead of becoming a victim of circumstance, they have risen to the occasion and found success.

They are innovative. They are willing to pivot. They are connecting and serving with their customers. And they are leading with positivity.

In 2021, I had the opportunity to share some of these producers’ stories at 38 agricultural conferences across the country. What an honor it has been to speak on these stages, and showcase some of the best and brightest in our industry at these events.

I don’t know what 2022 will bring, although I’m anticipating more hardships up ahead. What I do know is that it will take grit, resilience, determination, drive, and the ability to anticipate these challenges and be ready to pivot and adapt as needed.

As we look forward to the New Year, let’s brush ourselves off from the falls we may have experienced in 2021. Let’s learn from our mistakes and the pitfalls, and let’s move forward with the seasoned wisdom of those who have walked through hard things and have come out on the other side ready to keep fighting and face a brand new day.

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of or Farm Progress.

TAGS: Management
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