2020: What an experience! But more importantly, what have we learned?

By: Todd Kennedy

December 2020

It is easy to say that 2020 will go down in the record books as SOMETHING. When it comes to this year, everyone has different views, thoughts, experiences and stories, to be sure. Yet I feel that if we all take a step back, catch a breath and just appreciate everything we learned from this challenging time, we will see a reward. We can all find reasons to complain about what has occurred, what we had to do or what we did not get to do in 2020. It has been frustrating on so many accounts for nearly every one of us, our families, friends and neighbors. But as we look to close out this year and move into the holidays, I would ask you to reflect during this time and ask yourself one question: What have we learned?

For starters, let’s consider our livestock community and those involved with production agriculture. This year, we have seen some of the very best moments, as well as many lows. We in the show world have experienced multiple cancellations of several activities and events — yet within hours, we saw groups rally and come together to make a new opportunity happen. The drive to help families within this industry is certainly second to none, even if that means doing nothing more than sharing a kind word of encouragement or a pat on the back to tell a kid to keep their chin up. We also have seen appreciation and acknowledgement of the farmers and ranchers who produce our food move toward the forefront. When people were scared about how they would get food, they began to realize what it takes and who is responsible for providing us all the protein we need. People outside of our game now have a better understanding of the fact that agriculture DOESN’T STOP! Whether you want to talk about the goat, lamb, pig or calf that a family has on feed as a project or the herds of cows, sows, does and ewes in the pasture, animals are being fed and cared for daily thanks to those within our industry.

We have all learned something new! We have had to adapt to new methods of doing business, as well as going to church and school, along with many other activities. At Show-Rite, we learned a lot — and hopefully, many of our customers did, too. As soon as we all started to learn more about the effects of COVID-19 on society and activities for kids being limited, we immediately began getting in front of our customers with what we called the Stock Show Classroom. This was a huge hit, as we reached thousands of customers, families and dealers every night of the week to teach them more about all aspects of livestock show projects and daily care. We found ways to engage with customers and utilize technology to put our people and other industry leaders in front of the masses. One huge milestone for the Show-Rite Team was to see many of our competitors follow our lead, allowing us to strengthen and hold together our entire community even more.

The Show-Rite team, our colleagues and dealers all learned a lot from one another. By working together and keeping in close communication with our customers, we were able to provide the necessary nutrition to families with livestock projects. I was very impressed with how the Show-Rite team worked hard to find creative ways to teach, give educational advice and keep kids engaged with feeding and caring for their projects during a time of uncertainty. I am truly blessed to get to work alongside this team daily, and I learned even more about each of them during this time.

It was encouraging to see that everyone put forth the effort to give our customers an opportunity and a reason to stay positive. For that, I personally want to give you a huge thank-you. In addition, we all learned the importance of and now have an even greater appreciation for those on the frontlines of our feed mills every day. The workers in the production facilities continue to find ways to show up to manufacture feed daily and get it out to the dealers to supply the customers. We cannot thank you enough!

All in all, we have all learned a lot. Again, I know it is easy to find all the negatives with everything that may be going on, but equally, with the right mindset, we can all pivot to the positives. I challenge each of you who take the time to read this to stop and think about something positive you learned this year. Mine is easy: with my team, my family and friends, the people within the livestock industry, my co-workers and, of course, the Big Guy above, I have learned that nothing can stop us from having a prosperous 2021. Thank you to all of our Show-Rite customers and friends! I wish you a happy holiday!

God Bless, TK