Last year, my travel schedule got off to a good start. I headed off to California for a few days and then traveled to Nashville for a conference in March. Then… nothing. It wasn’t for a lack of trying, but with last year’s pandemic, I was grounded for the first time in my professional career. Aside from a day trip to Central Georgia for a story, I never left my office for work. It was the first time in year that I’ve let dust settle on my suitcase.

It was an odd scenario, because travel can be annoying. I have to fly out of Atlanta’s airport, which is hectic and filled with long lines on the best days. I’ve had flights delayed, redirected or outright canceled. I’ve stayed in hotel rooms that really do not look like the photos on their website.

But I missed it. I missed going to plants, sitting in an office with a couple of business leaders and chatting with them about their business. I missed getting a look at some of the latest machines, and learning about some incredible success stories. I’m sure many of you have missed attending industry conferences and trade shows, or just visiting other friends in the industry. There are some things that Zoom meetings just can’t replace.

That was 2020. Now we’re in 2021, I’ve got my vaccine, and I’m getting back on the road once more. I’ve had trips to Wisconsin and Indiana, with a couple more in the works. I have the AAMP Convention in Oklahoma City coming up this summer and other shows beyond that. Earlier this week, my colleague Andy Hanacek traveled to a processor for the first time in a year. Suffice it to say, we are on the road again and can’t wait to talk to the leaders of the meat industry once more.

So, just to put it out there, we’re looking for great industry stories. If you think that your business has a story worth telling – you’ve thrived during the pandemic, you’ve opened a new facility, you’ve released new products – get in touch with us. We won’t be able to visit all the meat and poultry plants out there, but we’re always interested in good stories and good lessons to pass along to our readers.

Sam Gazdziak