Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Thoughts from a Farmer

I must admit it; I like to eat poultry from time to time. Fried chicken is one of my favorite meals and I don’t mind other chicken dishes occasionally. Most of the time I prefer beef and pork, but there is one time of the year that poultry is the required main dish. Thanksgiving is just not the same without a big ol’ turkey. Of course we can’t forget the dressing, cranberries, rolls and pumpkin pie. All important ingredients in a Thanksgiving feast.
While food and overeating seem to be the focus of Thanksgiving, I think we sometime miss the point. Well, maybe we don’t miss the point but the idea of Thanksgiving takes a back seat. This is the one day of the year that we are to take time to give thanks for the things that are most important to us. We all have much to be thankful for.
I truly believe that we should all take a little time each day to reflect and give thanks for all we have. Each of us is blessed with so much, giving thanks once a year is not enough. I don’t care what your situation is or what is going on in your life, each of us have blessings that we can give thanks for. However, with our busy lives we do not often take time to think about all we have, that is why Thanksgiving is so important.
First and foremost, I am thankful to live in a nation of unprecedented freedom and individual rights. I know that many of the headlines and many of the talk shows focus on what is wrong with our great nation. I am here to tell you that we still live in the greatest nation ever; we are freer than any people have ever been and those rights are more protected than any human rights have been ever in any nation. We often take the rights and freedoms we are born with for granted.
We also live in a nation where our quality of life has the greatest potential to be comfortable and happy. Notice I did not say wealthy and easy. Some are privileged enough to live a life of wealth and ease, most of us are not. However, we enjoy a better quality of life than most of the rest of our fellow human inhabitants of the world. We are relatively safe, free of worry about being harmed each day. That is a rare thing in this world. Most of us have enough money to purchase the necessities we need like shelter and food and many of us have enough to purchase “things” to make us happy. That is a rare luxury in this world.
Along with that comfort and quality of life we are so blessed to live in a nation where food is often an after-thought, at least when it comes to availability. We will go shopping for our Thanksgiving feast and have to decide between many different brands of turkey, prepared in many different ways and in many different sizes. Then we will wander the long aisles of the supermarket looking at the massive displays of all the different ingredients for the many side dishes we will prepare. What a blessing to live in a nation with all the different choices of food, the abundance of food and the quality of food, we all enjoy.
Where else are whole TV channels dedicated to food. Nowhere else in this world could you have the choice of eating establishments or the diversity of places to purchase food. It seems everywhere we go we are faced with the availability of food. Most of us have more problems with too much food than too little. I am quite sure this is a blessing that we all take for granted.
I know that Thanksgiving is also a time that I am thankful to be part of the tremendous network of farmers and ranchers who help provide this abundance. Think about the fact that fewer than 2% of our population work to grow all the food we consume. That leaves the other 98% to pursue other paths and make our nation even greater. I am so proud to be part of this occupation so revered that it is considered a way of life rather than a job.
I am also proud to be a part of a larger system of food and fiber production. This includes the researchers and entrepreneurs’ who provide us with the cutting edge technology to steadily increase the amount and quality of food we produce. I am also thankful for the educators, mechanics, technicians, and others who help us on a day to day basis. And I am thankful for the men and women who handle the raw materials we grow and bring the finished products to your table. We are all part of the greatest agricultural system the world has ever known.
This is just a small, small sampling of our blessings and the things we should all be thankful for. All I am asking is for each of you to take a moment on Thanksgiving to reflect on all that we have. Then take that moment and bring it into each day. I think if we all take time to remember what is important each and every day; we will appreciate all we have. 

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