Radke Report: Amid a formula shortage, ag has an opportunity to provide solutions
The last two years have been an interesting case study in businesses.
When the pandemic hit, many small mom and pop shops closed their doors for good. In the United States, we saw hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs lose everything, and the economic repercussions are going to be lasting and wide spread.
Fast forward to 2022, and we are seeing the results of mandates, lockdowns and governments deciding who had an “essential” job and who wasn’t deemed worthy to make a paycheck.
It’s been really tough to watch it play out, and my heart hurts for anybody who has gone through the devastation of losing something they’ve worked so hard for.
Yet, despite the unsurmountable challenges that have been presented to us in the past couple of years, I have also observed with great interest the creativity and ingenuity of entrepreneurs who have been able to make lemonade out of lemons.
The ability to innovate, pivot, connect, serve and lead with positivity — that’s been an impressive sight to behold, and I’ve found countless examples of just that in the agricultural industry, which I’ve been so excited to celebrate and shout from the rooftops in many columns and speeches.
To me, the businesses who have been successful all have one shared thing in common: they have been able to offer much-needed solutions at at time when consumers have needed it most.
Wineries have pivoted from making wine and spirits to hand sanitizer.
Ranchers have started selling their beef locally at a time where folks want to have more food stockpiled.
4-H kids have started businesses as a result of community service projects that were established early in the pandemic.
Work-from-home opportunities have grown, and online retail sales from stay-at-home-moms trying to contribute from home have popped up everywhere.
And most recently, when news hit that there was a formula shortage in the U.S., I have a friend who created and shared a meaningful solution to help worried parents nourish their babies.
In reference to headlines about these infant formula shortages, CNN reports, “One estimate, from the market research company Datasembly, found that stock rates have not improved. During the last week of May, 74% of formula products were out of stock at some point. In nine states, including many in the South, more than 90% of formula products weren't always available, which means families are still on the hunt.”
While it’s not a replacement to baby formula, my friend Jordan Johnson’s new cookbook, “Beef Based Baby” couldn’t have come at a more critical time. The cookbook is full of recipes showing parents how to introduce beef as a nutritious first-food for infants.
Johnson writes, "These beefy first foods are simple to prepare, will expand your baby's palette, adjust their taste buds for nourishing whole foods, and aid in their growth and development for years to come."
Naturally, this is a complex topic, and I’m not offering health advice for parents of babies during these stressful times, but this is a perfect example of listening to consumer concerns and responding with one solution to help during challenging times.
In agriculture, that’s what we do. We solve problems. We tend to the land, and care for the animals. We produce more using fewer acres and natural resources. We feed the world, and we do it alongside our loved ones. We are growing foods we are proud of, and that we are confident in providing to our own children.
And when a kid may not have enough, well, we can get the job done in agriculture, too. We can’t bridge the gap between rural and urban by simply focusing on education and outreach. We move the needle in a positive direction by showing people where our hearts are. If your heart is in the right place and you’re focused on providing solutions during hard times, not only will your community thrive, but, chances are, your business will, too.
Let’s go out there, and make the world a better place, everybody! If anybody is up to that task, it’s America’s farmers and ranchers!