Dr. Lyons at the Tour de France
I am in Normandy, France for a press conference that we are holding tomorrow. While here I was offered the opportunity to ride in the lead TV car for the Tour de France. As I look out the window, I am fascinated by not only the athleticism of the cyclists but the passion of the crowds. They line the entire course!
It is particularly interesting for me since on my mom's side all my uncles were great cyclers, Irish champions in fact. Because of this, it has always been an ambition of mine to see the Tour de France, but never did I think I would be seeing it right from the TV car, in amongst all of the riders.
We started this morning at Dinard. We have now driven 20 kilometers out from the town and still to the right and to the left there are families and people lining the roofs. It is absolutely incredible to see how many people turn out. All the flags from Spain, France, and Holland are here. I just passed a Welsh flag and one from Great Britain.
What does this mean for our business? I am particularly impressed with the cooperation not only amongst the teams but amongst rivals. In a 3,430 kilometer race, you not only must be in extraordinary shape, but you must work together. By "drafting" (using someone else to block the wind to make your ride easier), you can save your energy. Teams draft and competitors draft for one common goal: to give everyone the best chance for success.
Too many times in agriculture, and in life, we work against each other thinking, I get ahead by pushing someone down. This has lead to a tremendous divide. Whether it's between poultry producers and beef producers, conventional agriculture and organic agriculture, or crop farmers and livestock farmers; we?re working against each other rather than together. This leads to an industry that is fractured, ultimately making everyone's jobs harder. What will it take for us to come together, to draft off each other so we all can finish with a personal best - whether it be in terms of profits or our industry's reputation? It's by working together that we can explain to the world that we are up for the challenge to feed 9.3 Billion people in 2050, just as these cyclists are up for the challenge of 3,430 kilometers in 21 days.