The VALOR fellows recently experienced Southwest Virginia during Session VIII. Our trip began at Virginia Tech, with a presentation by Dr. Alex White. Many of the fellows are Alumni of Virginia Tech and they have enjoyed his classes in Ag Finance, Small Business Management, and Problem Solving. Others have seen Alex facilitating workshops for agricultural groups across the state for many years.
His presentation during this session was about Moving Agriculture Forward. Alex posed 5 challenges facing the agriculture industry that need improvement to continue moving the industry forward:
- Record Keeping
- Risk Management
- Labor in Agriculture
- Transition planning / management
- “Division of Agriculture”
Have we heard these topics before? Absolutely. But are we continuously addressing these topics and improving our practices in these areas? That’s the relevant question.
While these topics weren’t particularly new to the group, they were great reminders of things to keep in focus as leaders. Who likes keeping records, working on risk management strategies, and talking about transition planning? Probably not many farmers. But they are necessary evils for a successful agribusiness. I think if people can see the long term benefit of working on these challenges, the short term work becomes easier. And the strategy of doing nothing is the costliest approach of all.
What ways can we become more involved as leaders, and promote the importance of these items with our peers? Seems like a good opportunity to become involved and give back to an industry that has provided so much to us. After all, it is the season of giving.