Barbara Young

When a species exhausts its ecological niche, a process of correction is imperative. Whether individuals subscribe to it or not, there are moral and ecological niches predetermined by nature. Neglecting this code of life goes against the natural order of things.

The world has clearly gone astray concerning its attention to certain basics of life, including employment for its citizenry, a secure and viable economy defined by growth and productivity, energy use and conservation and environmental-protection matters.

So, what to do? There are two paths before us in my view — purification/renewal or extinction. This is the way of nature.

But first a look at the issues is called for. The United States, its institutions and economic means are in crisis suffering from the most devastating financial uncertainty since the Great Depression, which lasted 10 years. History tells us that unemployment was a flat line in the double-digit range until 1941, when U.S. involvement in World War II created defense-related jobs. Experts blamed poor monetary policy for the failing economy.

The major difference impacting this situation is the global nature of the economy — the world operates as a series of connecting dots in just about every way possible. Anybody who discounts the fact that the world continues to revolve around interdependence is truly out of touch. NAFTA and GATT opened the door for the international marketing of goods and services.

The meat and poultry industry collectively knocked at the door of this new opportunity, and it swung wide open. Finding new solutions to tackle, or at least cope with, the slowing economy while also keeping ahead of fluctuating consumer trends are the twin challenges facing the industry, to be sure.

Strolling down memory lane to review events that shaped, threatened and defined the 21st century is not an altogether pleasant outing. The authors of The Millennium Project identified 15 global challenges representing the key issues of the early 21st century including these three questions:
• How can growing energy demands be met safely and efficiently?
• How can scientific and technological breakthroughs be accelerated to improve the human condition?
• How can sustainable development be achieved for all?

The entire list is available atthe Millennium Project.

In spite of this economic warfare the world is waging, these continue to be the best of times and the worst of times.

Agribusiness is smarting from the pinch of economic downturn right along with other supply-chain sectors. We understand that the natural instinct is to hunker down, and in so doing, shun the media during these harrowing times. Don’t do that. As your industry partner, our ability to gather the best information available depends mightily upon access. The best way to get past this huge bump in the road as we travel toward recovery is to stay in touch with each other with pertinent information.

Here hoping that 2009 marks the beginning of change for the better on all fronts.