Anticipate the Unexpected

It’s impossible to describe 2020 with only a few words, but “unprecedented” seems to easily top the list of adjectives. No one could have anticipated a global pandemic that killed millions of people and upended economies; social unrest; political tension; and the continuing effects of relentless climate change.

It also feels disingenuous to assume such upheaval can be planned for. Large-scale disruptions like these, which affected people all over the world, can overwhelm us to the point of immobility. Who hasn’t spent at least some time staring at a book or computer screen, reading the same text three times before it made sense? Sometimes it seems simpler to shut down and hope everything will all be over soon. How can anyone possibly be prepared for such universal calamity?

You can’t. But you can be ready to handle issues that affect your own business. It’s just as vital for you to be prepared to identifyevaluateand prioritize risks as it is for national and state governments to address the safety and health of their citizens.

No one wants to talk about crop failures, but they happen. Whether it’s poor germination, early or late frosts, or insect and rodent predation, sometimes cut flower plants die, or their flowers are unsalable. Do you have enough other material in production to make up for this potential loss?

What about on-farm safety? Is every one of your employees, family or otherwise, completely familiar with the correct operation of each piece of equipment? If the worst happens and there is an accident, what is your procedure for handling a medical emergency?

Which USDA, DOT or OSHA regulations may affect your business? Are you in compliance with them?

Who reads every paragraph and page of their insurance contracts? Do you remember which desk drawer you “filed” that in?

Referenced above, identifyevaluateand prioritize are the cornerstones of four excellent presentations the ASCFG offered its members in November and December of 2019. ASCFG member Gretchen Langston, a cut flower grower whose other job is a risk management specialist, volunteered to create and present these sessions. “Risk Management 101—The Basics”; “Safety and Compliance”; “Insurance Claims and Contracts”; and “Crisis Management” were created specifically for cut flower growers. Gretchen’s PowerPoint slides, the video recordings of the Zoom sessions, and many pertinent collateral files are all posted in the Members Only section of the ASCFG website. Whether you’re a new grower, or you’ve been in business for more than 25 year, it’s worth your time to watch these free sessions.

We are enormously grateful to Gretchen for providing such valuable information.

If one of your resolutions for 2021 is to better plan, organize, and protect your business, this is an excellent place to begin.