As I reflect on today’s swine industry, the need for outstanding leadership and dedicated and engaged board members has never been greater. And yet, it appears that identifying those passionate men and women, who are honored to be asked to serve on various non-profit boards, is more difficult than ever before.

I recently had the opportunity to interact with Harrison Coerver, author of “Race to Relevance,” a compelling book on association governance and management. He has identified the greatest trends and realities facing today’s association boards. Three of his points really struck home with me.

The top issue is “time.” So many boards are limited in their ability to attract the quality of leadership required because of the lack of “time” available to their members. I heard that response from many potential board members, and I finally came to this conclusion: If someone says they don’t have the “time” to serve on your board of directors, what they’re really saying is what you are offering to them isn’t worth their time. That puts a totally different light on the response, “I don’t have time.”

Another trend, which is intertwined with the “time” issue, is that they don’t perceive there is enough value or ROI (return on investment) in what your organization is doing. If that is the case, then maybe it is time to do some real soul-searching as to your organization’s strategies and policies. Most people will make time for what they consider to be truly important.

The other reality that resonated with me is the generational differences that exist in our industry. The identification of tomorrow’s leaders in the swine industry is critical to our continued success, and many of producers’ sons and daughters are being lured into other career choices. We all need to support activities such as FFA, 4-H and the National Jr. Swine Association, where young people are exposed to our industry and career opportunities are highlighted.

If you are passionate about what you do and dedicated to the future of your business, you will likely be recognized as a leader. As such, you’ll likely be asked to help lead an organization in your respective field.

If this opportunity comes along, I hope you will make the sacrifices necessary to share your vision and passion. And please don’t use the excuse, “I don’t have time,” because now you know what you are really saying.