NCCA Executive DIrector's report from bryan blinson
There are moments, days, years and phases of our lives that are memorable not necessarily for what we did but for what we learned. As I sit down to write this column, I hope to express how important memories are to me and I hope to you as well.
To set the stage, I wanted to reach out to you an let you know that in June, I announced to the Executive Committee of the North Carolina Cattlemen's Association that I planned to retire. I plan to work through the Conference to help a new person transition into the role as Executive Director.
In the next few paragraphs I hope to explore some of those who have helped to provide these memorable lessons that are indelible to me because of the honor that all of you have given me to let me work for you for so many years. I could spend volumes on things we have done as an association in the two stints that you have put up with me, but I choose to focus more on the relationships that I have been blessed with because of all of you.
As I think back to the young guy who first sat down in this chair nearly 30 years ago, I realize that regardless of how much I thought I knew at the time, I was in for a World Class Education by some of the most dedicated, passionate and helpful teachers in the world. You may think I am referring to professors, specialists, researchers, Deans and college administrators, certainly many individuals with those credentials were and are among my instructors but it did not stop there.
I have had the pleasure of learning from 4 Commissioners of Ag and hundreds of their capable and dedicated staff members. I have been blessed to have had valuable lessons from too many Senators, Congressmen and other elected leaders to count. Often these lessons involved learning to understand that sometimes disagreements handled correctly could lead to valuable cooperation later on.
There were leaders of Farm Organizations, Commodity Associations, fellow Cattlemen’s Execs from across the country that were critical to my education. I have been blessed to have learned much from 23 NCCA Presidents as well as scores of other amazing leaders who have served on the Executive Committee throughout my career. As far as I can tell and remember, each of the noteworthy leaders that are mentioned above have been recognized for expertise, leadership and contributions to the industry and to society as a whole.
To be sure, the advice, instruction and support of each of these people have been instrumental in whatever success that I may have enjoyed over my career. But thankfully, my education and direction did not end with those whose names may be on plaques, in books or even on buildings as my teachers. There have been and will continue to be innumerable teachers, mentors and influencers in my life.
Every day that I interact with the staff of the North Carolina Cattlemen’s Association, I realize that while we might not be able to do everything that we would like for the members of the association the incredible team here are second to none. I learn something from each of them on a continuous basis and have learned from those who came before them. I can honestly say that I have never been to a county meeting, field day, sale or Ag event that I did not learn something.
Often, what I learned was not from the speaker but maybe the person sitting beside me, the producer asking a question or relating an experience, the sponsor letting me know about a new product that could help the folks I serve or maybe even the person serving the roast beef. I learned that sometimes I just needed to watch and listen for the next valuable lesson.
Some of my most valuable teachers are leaders or our association or other agricultural groups, successful men and women in business, elected officials, professors, doctors, pharmacists, veterinarians and Moms and Dads to the leaders we don’t know yet. But often the best lessons they taught me were not in the role they hold now, but when they were trembling or even tearing up at the thought of stepping into the show ring for the very first time with a heifer or steer that was at least 10 times their size or when they were staring at this stranger knowing they had to give me a set of reasons.
These lessons, I have to admit are some of my favorites. I learned that no matter the age, ability or the obstacles, there is value and talent in everyone and the lesson is to realize how blessed I have been to watch how important each of these little ones become.
I have been blessed with a family that has taught me more than I can even comprehend. Mom and Dad taught by example that if you are going to be part of something, to make sure you get involved, speak up, volunteer and support the organization and the people that supported the “something”.
Beth, Rossie and Mason taught me that while I might miss a meal, a family event, a show or recital how to be understanding and not selfish because they knew that my family was much more extended than most and included those of you reading this column and many who have successfully completed their Lifetime Membership.
I want to close this column with a thank you for all of you who have taught me so much for most of my life and have helped me to hopefully used some of what you have taught me to make our Association and our Ag family just a little stronger.