President's Column: Looking Towards a Brighter Future

Posted on Dec 16, 2020
Kentucky Farm Bureau President Mark Haney.

As we come to the close of 2020, I am hard pressed to think of anyone who is not looking forward to moving on to a new year. This one has been tough on many levels.

After celebrating Kentucky Farm Bureau’s 100th anniversary in 2019, the leadership of this organization was very excited about what was to come in 2020. By all indications, especially from the farm family point of view, it looked promising.

But, as we all know, COVID-19 swept the country and turned that hope into challenges. When all this began, I believe most of us felt that we would be out of the pandemic woods by this time. However, that has not been the case and we have spent much of this year learning to adjust to new rules and regulations related to this coronavirus.

But a lesson about adjusting can be learned by all of us from the farm, and you don’t have to have an agricultural background to understand it.

For instance, those of us who live and work on the farm know we have to be constantly mindful of the weather and make production changes – sometimes at a moment’s notice – when mother nature throws a curve ball our way.

We must also gauge what and how much we grow based on market demand here at home and internationally, as well. Our farm families are connected to markets around the world, and we depend on them to make a living. Therefore, as global market demand and prices change, so do we.

We regularly pivot to become mechanics, teachers, marketers, and economists, along with the more visible “occupations” connected to the farm. But as we adjust to the demands of the day, it seems the regularity of these changes has come at a much higher frequency in 2020.

For those who feel they are not directly connected to agriculture, I would offer you this: If you have eaten today, then you have a relationship with a farmer, somewhere, somehow.

Because of the dedication and work ethic exhibited daily by our farmers, the job is still getting accomplished, despite this pandemic.

My parents shared many lessons with me about weathering the storms that come our way. Our farm has been in my family for more than 150 years, and through each generation we were all taught to respect the land, put in a good day’s work, and be kind to our neighbors. You never know when you might need a little extra help.

I believe we should all adhere to these principles. We have never needed them more than we do today – especially the one about being kind to our neighbors.

That was one of my mother’s greatest attributes. She was always kind to everyone she met. We had to say goodbye to her recently, but the lessons she left with us will remain in our hearts until we meet again.

Yes, 2020 has been tough, but if we pull together the coming year can and will be better. I pray we all have a joyous Christmas season as we look toward a brighter future.

Mark Haney, President
Kentucky Farm Bureau