Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 Was Good, 2013 Will Be Better!

Wow, 2013 already, guess I am going to have to break out the new calendar. I am not sure I am ready for the New Year yet. Although I am sure that I will hang on to 2012 a little while longer, at least that is what my checks will say. I have to admit, 2012 was kind of a rough year in some ways, but it will always go down as one of the best years of my life.
OK, so how could a year that was over 11 inches short of rainfall go down as one of the best in my life? How could a year with no snow, dry ponds, short pastures and a blistering summer go down as a good year? Well, I guess it is all according to your perspective. I know this was not a great year for crops or livestock alike, and the drought shows no sign of breaking, things might look kind of bleak. Not where I am standing.
One thing that I have noticed about us “ag types” is that we live with the undying confidence that no matter how bad this year was next year will be better. I look into next year knowing that the weather I am facing is no different than some of the years my father, grandfather, great-grandfather and great, great-grandfather have faced. It gives me hope to know that they made it through those years and the weather eventually changed. Maybe 2013 will be that year.
I also go forth into the New Year with the knowledge that because of the improved crop genetics and improved farming methods, we will most likely raise a crop. It was not that many years ago that we would not have harvested any crops in a year like 2012. We go into 2013 knowing that crop genetics are even better and we can raise more grain with less water.
Most of all I go into 2013 knowing that I will be doing what I have always wanted to do and that knowledge is what made 2012 one of the best years of my life. I was blessed enough to be able to farm and ranch full-time. Each morning I woke up knowing that I was following my dream. I left the house each day to take part in my chosen occupation, one that really a way of life.
I went to work each morning breathing clean air, looking out on the Flint Hills and working with my family.  I was farming land that my family had farmed for over 100 years. From calving, lambing and planting in the spring, to haying in the summer and weaning and harvest in the fall, each day was a great one. I can’t imagine a better way to spend a year of my life.
So here I am looking at 2013 with the knowledge that I will get to be employed doing something I have a passion for. My wish for each of you would be to find your passion and make that what you do to earn a living. If you do that, your life will be more rewarding, I speak from experience. Life is too short to not be happy.
What does 2013 bring? Who knows? Will it rain? The professionals say we have equal chances of floods or droughts. However, in the words of a wise old man, “there is nothing we can do about it so why worry”. I do know that there will be many challenges, some really good days and a few not so good days. I know there will be plans that come together and things that work right, I also know that other things will not go as planned.
I truly hope 2013 brings rain, great yields, high prices, big calves and tall grass, but if it doesn’t that will be OK too. I know that next December I will still be here and still have the hope that the next year will be better.  Those of us in agriculture live with an eternal optimism that keeps us planting crops and raising livestock each year.
I hope that 2013 will be a good year for each of you. I hope you find peace and happiness. I hope you are surrounded by family and friends. I was blessed enough to find all of these this past year.  That, my friends, was why 2012 was one of the best years of my life and why I am so hopeful for 2013.

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