There are many parts of a moving machine and that can also be said of a project like Shepherd’s Grain. The complexities that you understand at the beginning stages of a new business seem fairly simple and as time goes on and growth happens those simple parts become much less, well, simple. Within Shepherd’s Grain, one extremely vital part is trust. The only problem with trust is it is between humans and that is when we run into trouble. As a wise man once said, “you can’t be betrayed by someone unless you trust someone”. Then there is the concept of “trust no one”. I absolutely do not adhere to the last one stated and believe that you can and need to trust everyone until they prove you different. Then there is the idea that “trust must be earned”. I do agree that levels of trust definitely must go through time and situations and still there is that one time that something shatters that trust level built over time. So is this how we become cynical in our later years?
Within Shepherd’s Grain we are taking time to review our processes and procedures of how we treat our producers and customers to ensure that our level of trust earned is not forgotten by us. We have been told many times that our continued success with long term participation by both producers and buyers is because they can trust us. They state that our steadfastness to our guiding principles and consistent message has “earned” their trust. We respect the fact that trust left alone can become quite fragile and it takes a continuum of work to not only maintain a level but it should always be a part of our daily work to improve the level of trust.
A significant contributor to trust enhancement is personal relationships. As I have stated many times, when we have visits by producers to the buyers or the reverse we deepen an understanding of each others beliefs and convictions to the partnership of “connecting the farmer to the consumer”. That “partnership” drives both sides to caring more about what they do for each other. Since we cannot spend all our time making visits to each others place of business it falls on us to continually convey that relationship through whatever means possible.
With all this being said, we pledge to you to promote, acknowledge, act, and ensure a transparent and honest level of trust each and every day.