This young dairyman looks for opportunities

I love this time of year.

Reflecting back on 2013 and setting new goals for 2014, I see that some of my resolutions may be repeat attempts. Nevertheless, I am able to anticipate what a new year of change and opportunity can bring.

I"d have to say that I am somewhat of a dreamer. I have a "bucket list" of things that I would love to do in the dairy industry, such as being a leader within Dairy Farmers of America or being on a team that develops innovative products for consumers.

This young dairyman looks for opportunitiesThis keeps me driving towards goals that I want to reach, and I find I am much more motivated in day-to-day activities if I can still see progress in achieving those goals.

I must admit that I wasn"t blessed with an abundance of patience and wish I could get things checked off my list much faster. My mom is always quick with the old adage: "Rome wasn"t built in a day." My remarks are usually something to the effect of: "Rome wouldn"t have been built at all if never started and they just kicked the can down the road."

I often feel that the younger generations push harder and faster for change than what was expected of previous generations.

Technology has played a role in this. We have grown up with technology speeding up the way business is done at an exponential rate and, consequently, expect an immediate result or response to many things.

Most young dairyman probably carry a smartphone and are comfortable accessing records, placing orders, communicating in multiple locations, watching markets, and so on, while being mobile and multi-tasking.

Having survived a disastrous year like 2009, we are still bold in moving forward and are most likely not as afraid (possibly naive) to take more risks than our parents. While understanding that these risks need to be calculated, I know I always feel a sense of urgency about making decisions. I don"t want to ponder things so long that nothing happens.

While at a leadership conference, I picked up this quote from motivational speaker David Okerlund: "The time to change is when you don"t have to."

Why wait until a disaster hits and be forced to change under emergency situations instead of preparing to avert a crisis before it happens?

I hope that 2014 brings positive change to our farming operation, as well as to the dairy industry in general, and that we will not just adjust to change but embrace and even seek the changes that we want to occur.

Opportunities for young dairyman to have a positive impact on our cooperatives and organizations, our government"s leadership, our local communities and our kids" futures have never been greater. I think most of today"s  young dairymen are getting more involved at an earlier age than our parents did, and I applaud the organizations that nurture and invest in developing the next generation of leadership. I have had plenty of opportunities to become involved and enjoy taking part in an industry that I was born and raised in to ensure a bright future for myself and my kids.

I hope young dairyman will continue to keep dreaming, strive for change and contribute!

David Foster was born and raised on his parents" dairy farm in southeast Kansas. He stays active in the dairy industry, while helping to manage the family operation.

twitter: @fosterdairy



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