Leading the Way: Reflections on the Past and a Look to the Future

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Weather, markets, crop yields, prices, land values, input costs: All of these and many other factors determine the state of the farm economy, and they all change from harvest to harvest. Regardless of the stresses and uncertainty of the farming life, farmers can rely on their steady and proven advocate, Farm Bureau.

I look ahead and see bright days for North Carolina farmers. Farming will always be a challenging business, but Farm Bureau will continue to be the reliable, consistent tool farmers need during challenging times.

But, that consistency doesn’t happen by accident. This month, North Carolina Farm Bureau will convene its 84th annual meeting, and American Farm Bureau marked 100 years in November. Every year we encourage new people to step into leadership roles and give their time and energy to support Farm Bureau. Leadership and service to Farm Bureau only continue through our wise investment in preparing future generations to take on those roles, stoking their passion for advocacy.

Programs like Young Farmers & Ranchers (for farmers ages 18-35), our advanced leadership LEAD program, Ag in the Classroom and even our IFAL program plant the seeds that grow our base of active volunteer leaders. In the first commentary I wrote for our magazine, in April 2002, I talked about the young men and women in our Young Farmers & Ranchers program as our “hope for tomorrow,” and that is no less true today.

Those leadership development investments bear fruit when it comes time for the organization to consider the next person to serve as its president. That time is now, as I will not be seeking another term.

I have always believed that we must grow and train our own leaders in the Farm Bureau way and culture. I have been hooked on this organization since I was first asked to join as a young farmer in 1974, and my love for Farm Bureau and belief in its purpose has never waned or faltered. My respect for the volunteer leaders and employees who carry out our mission of service
to communities all across our great state has only grown and deepened in my time here.

It has been a labor of love to have served as president, and I wish nothing but the best in health and happiness for every Farm Bureau member. North Carolina Farm Bureau and all of our programs enjoyed a strong 2019. I believe we are well prepared for the future. All of us at North Carolina Farm Bureau wish you and your loved ones a merry Christmas and a prosperous new year.

– Larry Wooten

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