On June 25, 1963, JFK delivered an address at the Assembly Hall at Paulsckirche in Frankfurt, Germany and included in the speech is one of his many famous quotes: “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”
On June 30 of this year, ProAg began a new journey – one without MC (Mike Connealy) leading our team. We started this change knowing well in advance it was coming. We should expect as circumstances and people change, things are going to be different. ProAg continually strives for improvement, change that makes us better. Our past achievements cannot be ignored nor do we want to just stop there. The status quo is not our plan. We have a willingness to change at ProAg, and we know that is the only way to learn and grow.
I enjoy the challenge of change and the process of improvement. It brings to my thoughts this time of year. School is starting up, kids are getting new shoes and clothes, meeting new friends and learning from a new teacher. We would never encourage them to not learn from this new teacher or to stay in shoes or clothes that no longer fit. I’ve always enjoyed the start of school for myself, all the way through college and along with my daughters. While they were learning something new, they were teaching me something new.
This time of year also brings to the forefront, harvest. As with any crop year, farmers have faced things in 2017 that are out of their control. As I’m writing this, Hurricane Harvey has pounded the coastal areas of Texas and Louisiana. The reports of damage are devastating and the full effects are still unknown. I’m proud to work with the team we have in Texas who will support our agents and their farmers as they work through the impacts of the rain and wind. We won’t know the extent of the damage in Texas to cotton, hybrid seed rice, corn, soybeans, livestock and other crops for months. In contrast, farmers in the high plains states are dealing with dry conditions so severe that drought damage is likely to be extensive. We can see the impact of the drought now in the yield estimates. For example, the recently completed ProFarmer Tour predicts that South Dakota corn production will be 138 bu/ac, this down from 161 in 2016.
While circumstances and conditions will change due to legislation and rule changes, weather and market impacts – we are committed to servicing our agents and insureds. Whatever challenges lie ahead, ProAg will be there to lead the way, helping our customers navigate change and mitigate risk.
I’m looking forward to working with the ProAg team and our agents. Thank you to MC for his long term commitment to our industry and ProAg. Thank you to everyone for the support and encouragement. We hope you had a safe and enjoyable Labor Day weekend.