Aug. 18 2021 08:00 AM

By taking on leadership roles, we all have an opportunity to help shape the future of the dairy industry.

There is so much happening in the world right now. Between international, national, and state politics as well as business pressures, I don’t even know where to begin.

Of course, it would be easy to start venting about the status of our country and blame all our woes on that. Perhaps blaming the state leadership may be your go to, depending on where you’re at. Or maybe, just maybe, your predicament is due to economic pressures and never before seen trends that are now taking the forefront. There are so many places to point fingers nowadays that seem to have zero consequences.

I got tossed into leadership roles at a young age, and for the most part, I enjoyed them. I have planned parties, making people laugh and feel comfortable as an event was coming together. However, as I have gotten a little older, my leadership roles have changed. My roles have placed me smack dab in the middle of the dairy industry, helping guide policy and influencing consumers. I can’t say that I like it so much that it’s a hobby of mine — it’s definitely work. It’s not fun seeing “behind the curtain” sometimes, but that may be my greatest motivator.

I know I said that I don’t always enjoy my roles in dairy leadership, but it’s not because I do not like the camaraderie or the progress that is being made. It is because I now have the opportunity to help shape the dairy industry, and it’s not as easy as people make it out to be. It takes very little work to run your mouth about what you don’t like when you’re not in a position that can invoke change. It is much different when you are in the hot seat wondering if you are making the right decisions.

I love the opportunity I have to sit at these tables, and I would honestly encourage that others pursue a seat at the table, too. As an industry, we have become fragmented, fighting against each other instead of working together to bring up the entire dairy community. My theory? This happens when not all the correct voices are at the table. We have great leadership in the industry, but more voices sometimes lead to new ideas and concepts that would not have been heard if someone did not make the effort to show up and speak up.

If you are one of those people that feel like you could play even a small role in the guidance of our industry, I would encourage you to take on a leadership role, no matter how small it may seem. We are stronger together.

Tyler Ribeiro

Tyler Ribeiro is a fourth-generation dairy farmer born and raised in California. He is currently partners with his father at Rib-Arrow Dairy in Tulare where they proudly ship their milk to Land O’Lakes. Tyler is actively involved in the dairy industry, holding leadership roles in various organizations locally and across the United States.