It’s been a privilege to serve the OAN membership for the last year.
With all that happened in the last year, I’m amazed that it went by so fast.
This will be my last column as your OAN president. With that said, it brings a lot of emotions to mind but the two I settle on is admiration and gratitude. There is no shortage of people that I look up to who are willing to fight for our sustainability as a business. I know with confidence that moving forward we will continue to strengthen our community, equipped to deal with whatever curveballs come our way.
The biggest takeaway I have from this past year is that we have the best people in the right positions to guide us through the uncertainty ahead. When people ask me if it was difficult to be president, my short answer is, “It was easier than I expected it to be.” The reason for that starts with staff and goes right down through the board and to our membership. I would like to give a few shout outs.
Jeff Stone — fearless leader of the OAN. We are incredibly blessed to have Jeff at the helm. I don’t know another human being that milks the most out of his waking hours. I couldn’t imagine a better person to have in his position. Thank you for your leadership.
Kyle Fessler — past president. Kyle is willing to tackle any task asked of him with excellence. He is quite possibly the most impressive individual I know. Thank you for setting an example to follow. I and our industry owe you a huge thanks for your volunteer work.
Curt Kipp — director of publications and communications. Thank you for taking my column rough drafts and making them legible. We have a world class publication, and you are a huge reason why.
To my brother Chris — for being my sounding board and helping me always find comfort and confidence.
To my wife Ashley — thank you for hearing me out when I needed to talk about nursery issues and managing our three kids while I was away for a meeting or function. I love you!
The list could be endless, but I wanted to acknowledge them as they came to mind the most when contemplating the last year.
My primary goal going into the year was to work on how our industry is perceived by people who have never been on a farm, but still have a significant impact on what we do. They include lawmakers as well as the homeowners next to our farms. I believe we have moved the needle. Not only are our workplaces viewed differently now, but so are the world-changing products we produce.
There is a lot of work still to do, and we couldn’t be in better hands than with our incoming president, Todd Nelson of Bountiful Farms Nursery Inc. I have always looked up to Todd and his ability to find common sense solutions for problems. I have no doubt that he will be a phenomenal leader for our association.
I would urge everyone to step up and serve the association if they feel the calling. You get to rub shoulders with some of the best people this world has to offer. You may feel a little out of your comfort zone at first, but that is a good thing because that is where growth happens. It’s truly a win-win.
It’s been a pleasure.