My Way of Thinking: The President’s review
Rick Patton As America approaches another Presidential election, let’s take a couple steps back from the partisan sniping, unending television ads and biased mainstream media reporting to examine the situation from the perspective of a real world scenario in agriculture. The setting is the boardroom of Liberty Co-op in Iowa, and Barry Soetoro, Liberty’s General Manager has just arrived for his performance review with board president Jim Madison.
Madison: Well Barry, as you know it’s time for your performance review to determine if you’ve accomplished what you promised the board and our farmer-owners when you interviewed for this job back in 2008. Granted, you were facing some tough economic headwinds here at Liberty Co-op caused by previous policy to push banks to make farmland loans to new farmers that really couldn’t afford it, and when those defaults started, the domino effect on the whole state of Iowa was pretty dramatic. But you came in promising so much hope and change that you were selected to lead this Co-op back to prosperity.
So let’s review some of your key objectives and your results: 1) You committed to cut our debt in half by the end of your four year term; 2) You committed to bring us together; the farmer owners, the board and the 50 retail plant managers that make up the operating team. I believe your exact words when accepting the job were “this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow, and our planet began to heal”; 3) You committed to reduce the rising cost of custom application; 4) You committed to a new way of doing business, and that your administration would be the most transparent ever; and finally 5) you committed to closing down our foreign operations.
How do you believe you’ve performed?
Barry: I believe Liberty Co-op and our farmer owners are better off than four years ago. I solved the escalating custom application costs, and everything is scheduled for the foreign shut down. As far as the deficit, it was a much deeper hole than I imagined. And amongst the farmers, I believe a lot of the Iowa State fans/farmers are beginning to see that my U. of Iowa philosophies are sound. All in all, I definitely feel I’ve earned another four years.
Madison: Barry, I don’t see it that way. Let’s start with the debt, which under your watch has skyrocketed from $10.6 million to $16 million. A 51% increase! This also represents 70% of our annual gross revenues.
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