The definition of change as a verb is “to make or become different.” Life is full of changes – personally and professionally. When a big change happens, we like to follow it up by saying, “When things get back to normal.” Normal is conforming to a standard, and after a change, really there is no “getting back to” because things are different.
We have certainly seen changes over the years in agriculture. A couple hundred years ago, 90 percent of the population lived on farms and grew their own food. Currently, about two percent of North Americans live on farms and less than that grow food for their own consumption.
As things changed over the last few decades, there was plenty of resistance, plenty of questions, plenty of pushback, but change forged on regardless. Nowadays, I think you would be hard pressed to find a farmer who would want to go back to farming practices from 200 years ago. In fact, you would be hard pressed to find a farmer that would want to go back to farming practices from 20 years ago.
We are now living in a society where change happens quicker than it ever has before. Some of this change is planned and welcomed – and some of it isn’t.
On everyone’s mind is COVID-19 and the disruptions this virus has caused to our personal and professional lives. The way in which businesses forged ahead through COVID-19 is something not many people would have been able to imagine prior to the pandemic. In a matter of days, travel stopped, meetings were cancelled, businesses closed and our lives as we knew them changed.
On everyone’s mind is when things get back to normal and what that normal is going to look like? Are virtual meetings going to be the norm rather than the exception? How will relationships between co-workers, vendors and customers bode? Is working from home going to be more common than working from the office? Will co-workers be able to establish the bonds, connections and rapport without physically sharing an office space?
And from all of this, what is going to be gained and what is going to be lost?
All of this makes me think about how CAAR has changed over the years. In 2021, we will join numerous other industry associations and companies that have made the move to virtual events when we host the first ever Virtual CAAR Conference from Feb. 9-11.
I was looking forward to networking with fellow CAAR members even more so than I do each year now that I have the privilege of sitting as Chair of the CAAR Board. Instead, I now look forward to embracing the opportunities a virtual conference creates and connecting with CAAR members in new ways.
CAAR is lucky to have members that have been with us since the inception of the association over 25 years ago. If you are one of them, think about what things were like back then; why we needed CAAR and what is different now compared to then. One thing is for sure, the industry needs, maybe now more than ever, a collective voice that will advocate for our industry in a time of uncertainty and change and when public scrutiny, health and safety and feeding the world is more important than ever.
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