Emerging Leaders Luncheon challenges attendees to stop fighting, start leading
February 7, 2018
The 2018 Cattlemen's Convention and NCBA Trade Show took place in sunny Phoenix Arizona January 31 – February 2, 2018. Through all of the meetings, networking, and keynote speaking, one presentation stood out and tugged at the heart strings of those in attendance. The presenter was Bruce Vincent, third generation logger and resident of Libby, Montana.
Vincent spoke to a room full of young cattlemen and women in during the February 2, 2018 Emerging Leaders Luncheon. His was a cautionary tale of what happens when well-intended movements turn into misguided regulation.
During Vincent's hour long presentation he shared his truth as a logger who had been regulated out of business. Vincent Logging, once a great economic contributor in Libby, Montana employing 65 families, now employees zero families. The sawmill that operated in Libby for 120 years remains closed. All of this, because of what Vincent described as a "collision of vision."
According to Vincent, collision of vision is what happens when people living in urban areas pass through and vacation in rural America. They see the beautiful landscapes and wide open spaces that they have been lead to believe are gone. They see and meet the hard-working people who live in these rural areas and fall in love with all of it.
“Don’t be ashamed of what you do. Don’t let society discount what you do with your hands and learn from experience. Out-green the posers.” Bruce Vincent, third-generation logger in Libby, Mont.
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Vincent went on to explain that when the vacationers head home to their urban lifestyles they are filled with the desire to protect what they see at "the last best places." They go to work fighting to save these places they've fallen in love with through regulatory reform, judicial and legislative activisms. The problem Vincent outlined, that the public's truth is not defined by the reality of those in agriculture, but rather, their perception of reality.
"It ain't what you don't know that's a problem; it's what you know that ain't so that's a problem," said Vincent, quoting Will Rodgers.
He built on that warning the group of cattlemen and women in the room that the public isn't stupid. They are, however, trying to make tough decisions and are seldom given the information necessary to make those decisions.
Vincent asked everyone in the room to imagine that they were dads, standing at the front door meeting the less-than-appealing kid asking to date their daughter. The dad's perception of the date isn't great and he definitely doesn't want to let this kid date the daughter that he loves. The date's perception of dad isn't great either. The date can't understand why the dad is hesitant to let his daughter go on a date with someone who loves and cares for her.
Vincent brought the analogy back to the way the cattlemen and women in the room love the environment and perceive the public and the way the public perceive cattlemen and women and also love the environment. Both parties love the same thing, but have vastly different realities and perceptions of each other.
After 30 years, the logging industry now sees the light at the end of the tunnel. Vincent announced that his son just filled the paper work to start logging again as Vincent Logging and was approved. He outlined the things the logging industry has learned and adopted over the years that helped ignite that light. He told those in attendance that they must stop fighting and start leading in order to prevent animal agriculture from suffering the same fate as the logging industry.
Vincent encouraged all those attending the Emerging Leaders Luncheon to empathize first and work to understand the concerns of the public. He called attendees to engage, showcasing environmental and food safety initiatives and offering the trusted human face that rural culture so desperately needs.
He touched on the stark reality that for far too long society has been placing more value on higher education and white collar work, discounting jobs in the trades such as agriculture. This, Vincent believes, is a large part of why there is such a large disconnect between rural and urban America. But, he said that for the first time in a long time there is hope.
"We have a generation starving for goodness and good news," said Vincent.
He went on to explain that society is ready. People want hope, instead of fear, science instead of emotion, education instead of litigation, resolution instead of conflict, and employing instead of destroying.
Vincent's presentation to the Emerging Leaders Luncheon was one filled with humor and emotion. He concluded his powerful message with challenge for all those in attendance.
"Don't be ashamed of what you do. Don't let society discount what you do with your hands and learn from experience. Out-green the posers," said Vincent.
To learn more about Bruce Vincent, visit http://www.brucevincentspeaking.com