John Starkey The Feeling of “Spring” It’s late February in Georgia as I write this, which means that the early signs of Spring are starting to appear, despite the cold temperatures in much of the nation. Spring is naturally associated with renewal and hope, inspired by nature around us bringing forth new life and growth. This year, the feeling of “Spring” is especially noticeable. It does seem that, ever so slowly, we are emerging from a long, dark winter, induced by COVID-19. The number of cases is dropping significantly. The vaccine rollout, begun in December, is plodding forward and addressing those most at risk; perhaps there is light at the end of the tunnel! And, for our industry and its workers, it can’t come soon enough. Through almost Herculean efforts, our industry has done a tremendous job on dramatically reducing the incidence rates in its facilities. Practices and technology have been adopted across every aspect of production to minimize risk and the efforts have worked. Recently, I’ve had the chance to review forecasts for the food service industry and for the meetings/hospitality industries. Both see a strong yearning people have to take a step toward normalcy. Both see steadily improving conditions, with stronger demand building through the second quarter, and a return to something resembling normalcy sometime in the third quarter. We all hope and pray these forecasts are not just “Spring Fever” but accurately predict the waning impact of COVID-19! John Starkey, PE President PRESIDENT’S COLUMN John Starkey, PE President USPOULTRY SPRING 2021 I NEWS & VIEWS I 1