The holidays are always a wonderful time. It all starts with Thanksgiving, a time for reflection.
We pause our busy lives and take time to experience the power of gratitude. This clears the lens of how we view the world, allowing us to see more fully.
With clearer vision, the holidays transition to Christmas, a time for giving. It’s inspiring to watch the world put self-interest aside and begin to look outward as thoughts and actions become centered on those around us. The cards, baked goods, gift baskets, and phone calls are all reminders that someone, somewhere is thinking of you. This alone is enough to lift the spirit and increase the joy within.
The close of Christmas brings New Year’s Day, a time for resolutions. Every year, people around the world renew goals of years past or make new goals for the year ahead. The aspiration for a better tomorrow makes this one of the most exciting times of the year.
I hope each of you had a wonderful holiday season, with plenty of opportunities to reflect, look outward and make impactful resolutions.
Recently, I met with a valued truck broker. We reflected on the past couple of years and discussed the challenges our industries have faced. We reminisced on the uncertainty we carried in early 2020, as the world began to shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We had no idea what the impact would be for our two industries.
We realized quickly that our worst fear wouldn’t be the lack of business, but instead, our ability to meet the increased demand that came as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown. I am so grateful for our friends in the trucking business that came through big time and provided the resources we needed to still get the job done.
In our industry, we spend a considerable amount of time digging, planting, spraying, fertilizing, culling and nurturing nursery stock. It takes years to complete this process, all so we can provide our customers with the very best and most beautiful plant material at the right cost. Yet at times, external issues and challenges threaten our ability to do so.
Just as in 2020, there is uncertainty surrounding the future. Inflation is at an all-time high. Fuel costs vacillate between high and higher. Threats of rail strikes and local government labor regulations are potential roadblocks that make it more difficult to get our plant material to the customers at a reasonable price. How do we combat this? I would invite you to look outward, through the customer’s perspective. The external challenges we face greatly impact them. Are there things that can change in our processes that would greatly improve the customer experience? Are there tweaks that can be made to how we load trucks, organize workload or book shipments, so these processes can become more efficient and cost effective?
As you ask yourself the hard questions, ideas will come to your mind on how to counter the difficulties that are caused by these external factors. You will see new ways to safeguard our industry.
Challenges are not new. We have some of the most hardworking and innovative people within the nursery industry. The Oregon Association of Nurseries is a wonderful network made up of individuals who are going through the same difficulties you are. We are here to help in any way we can.
As we start this new year, now is the perfect time to reflect, look outward and make impactful resolutions. I am excited for 2023 and look forward to meeting the challenges ahead together.
Todd Nelson, OAN President (2022-2023)
President’s Message from the January 2023 issue of Digger magazine | Download PDF