November will mark three years for me as an editor in Annex Business Media’s agriculture group. I’ve been in B2B journalism for the better part of a decade, but prior to this, my areas of focus were in entertainment and media. I tried, at first, to find parallels between the two industries – but few came to mind. Those who write professionally always try to find metaphors and similes everywhere.
But now that agriculture is no longer “new” to me, I have found myself picking up on patterns that seem to inevitably surface in almost every industry, which speaks to the universality of our current economic climate.
For example, there’s that of adaptation. In media, Canadian news providers are having to adapt to Meta and Google’s new rules that see their content effectively blocked across their platforms. Their adaptations – which include creative workarounds, capitalizing on and creating other revenue sources – can look like innovation to a consumer, but they often don’t see the scrambling and the sacrifices. Similarly, in Canada’s livestock industries, many beef farmer are having to find creative ways to adapt to the much tougher beef market. There’s cost-cutting measures, alternative revenue streams and – unbeknownst to many consumers – a lot of pain.
As consumers, we tend to only see the ending successes and failures. Even when we see “how the sausage is made” (in this case, literally!) we are still viewing it through a consumer lens. It’s easy to mix up surviving with thriving; it’s even easier to think that a successful business has no reason to be on the lookout for change. In my conversation with Meadowlynn Farms’ Thomas Judd, however, Judd emphasized repeatedly that despite all the recent success of his family farm, the urban expansion of the town in which the farm resides means that things may not always stay the same.
Ultimately, the lesson learned is that no one – even your most loyal consumer – understands the work you do until they do it themselves. Whether it’s the cost of feeding a weanling pig or the complexities of feeding growing foal, there’s always much more that goes on behind the scenes that the public does not understand. Take a moment to appreciate the work that you and your colleagues do – because no one is doing it quite like you.
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