[globe trot] Agriculture’s Story

Life is a collection of stories that we weave, watch or participate in and an industry is a collection of individuals and communities who make the story real and bring it to life. The treads become the collective fabric that is either strong, shear, flimsy, rough or incredibly beautiful.

When I look at all the characters that make the Canadian beef industry what it is today – there is quite a collage of scenes, plots and subplots, protagonists and antagonists, devils, demons and beautiful women. There is romance (often with the land) on the same page as Wall Street smarts and superhero technology combined with “all creatures great and small” humble advice. There is always hope for the future and the great fortunes it will bring.

We live in the experience economy. A time when folks can and do have what it is they want – and that leaves them thirsting for more. A time when all that we do and say is shear or transparent across a borderless world. It is a time when the value of an inspiring story is beyond our capability of measurement and the impact greater than any advertising campaign. We are in a space when people wish to hear a good story and our curious about ours.

How blessed we are to have men and women of honour who carve out a living from cows, crops and creative innovation. The consumer asks us: who are you and what is your story? What makes you get up in the morning and work all day and want to do it all again? The reader wants to know how farmers, ranchers and cattle feeders became so innovative, how they mastered their fears, who was in the story that built them up, took them down or simply walked by their side?

In many cultures, the story is used to inform, educate and inspire the youth within the village. Unless the story is told, the day is considered incomplete. We learn through social media and the internet and our interaction is at a very high level. It is important for this industry to be in that space. A dozen meetings on the woes of industry could likely be solved by asking youth. I remember going to a vineyard in BC because I had heard of their innovative marketing. Each bottle of wine had a beautiful hand drawn futuristic picture and was blessed by an Indian elder. Hollywood was buying this local Canadian wine as fast as it could be produced. My question to the manager was this: Who thought of this ingenious marketing plan? As I asked, a young man sauntered across the yard and the manager pointed to him and said “he did”. Isn’t that an amazing story!

When a neighboring cattleman died, I did not remember him for his cattle, grass or cash. I remember and treasure the hand written note he sent which said “Thank you Brenda for bringing our community together”, the bottle of homemade wine delivered one Christmas and his beautiful poems. He was the story behind beef – and so are you.

Please share your story with me.