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The impact of politics in the Midwest

Although the headlines change from day to day, political squabbles, particularly international ones, will probably be around for a while to affect business of all kinds.

In the near future, “companies will be used by political leaders around the world to achieve specific goals that are often not in the interests of business,” predicts Robert A. Dilenschneider, principal of the New York communications firm the Dilenschneider Group.

Further surprises may be in store. “Know that deals will be cut with the most unlikely nations—Russia, for example,” Dilenschneider adds.

Over the past year, “the instability of border relations with Mexico has been a cloud over the industry for 2019,” said Sam Maglio, president of Maglio Companies, headquartered in Glendale, WI, BB #:105281.

“Closure of the crossing points, diverted resources to patrolling the border, insurgent migrants creating chaos, retaliatory tariffs are unduly affecting the marketing of the crops.” This situation shows no sign of a quick or easy resolution.

Such impacts may well continue all the way through the supply chain.

“The cost of a tomato may become prohibitively high,” Maglio adds, “forcing the restraint operator to replace it with more cheese on a burger (there is a glut of milk, which leads to overproduction of cheese products).”

Undue pessimism isn’t wise, of course, because most things you worry about—personally or commercially—never come to pass.

As Nate Stone, special projects manager of Detroit’s 106-year-old firm Ben B. Schwartz & Sons, Inc., BB #:104793 says, “any concerns that seem to come up in the [produce] business have been successfully dealt with for years upon years.”

In fact, change and uncertainty provide the best and fastest way to grow if you know how to respond to them. To quote management sage Peter F. Drucker, “The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.”

This is a multi-part spotlight feature on Midwest produce adapted from the October 2019 issue of Produce Blueprints.

Richard Smoley, editor for Blue Book Services, Inc., has more than 40 years of experience in magazine writing and editing, and is the former managing editor of California Farmer magazine. A graduate of Harvard and Oxford universities, he has published eleven books.