A time to be thankful

Soon High Plains Journal readers will be sharing a Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends.

In a challenging era of lower grain prices and a fickle Mother Nature it can be difficult to be thankful for the blessings of the past year, and yet farmers and ranchers recognize the spirit of Thanksgiving is in all of us.

A few points to consider:

Lower grain prices have spurred opportunities for those who feed livestock.

A recently completed election cycle was conducted in a peaceful manner and, while the outcome may not have turned out the way we might have thought or hoped, people went to the polls to cast their votes in an orderly and civil manner.

Those who plan to attend church services will find they can freely do so and feel comfortable in saying thanks to their maker for all of his blessings.

In many parts of the High Plains Journal region, the Drought Monitor map has only a few spots of dryness, with the exception of New Mexico, Colorado and North Dakota. That benchmark seemed impossible to achieve a year ago.

Consumer confidence is at its highest level in 18 years, with the lowest unemployment rate—about 3.7 percent nationally—of the modern era, it bodes well for increasing meat and protein consumption.

As farmers and ranchers gather with their families, father time has shown us there can be silver linings to ease the burden.

Interest rates have trended up, according to the Federal Reserve, yet remain manageable, particularly when compared to three decades ago. Trade wars caused producers to be uneasy about their marketing plan for this past year’s growing season and yet nearly 40 years ago the United States imposed a grain embargo against the former Soviet Union and producers survived the pain.

Challenges have always been part of farm life and producers face them as independent entrepreneurs intermingled with their appreciation for a quality of life unmatched in any vocation. A new day is always here with new opportunities. If you live in the heartland optimism is tangible when you can see beautiful sunrises and sunsets and the gift of the change of seasons offers living and breathing art when viewed from a porch or windshield.

The thought of families coming together for the timeless tradition of carving a turkey with all the trimmings remains Americana and at the heart of it is the commitment made by those who make their living off the land.

American Farm Bureau Federation in recent years has estimated the annual Thanksgiving feast for a family of 10 costs about $50, a remarkable achievement and commitment to feeding many with unmatched stewardship. Farmers and ranchers—although they never will do so—should take a bow. In their stead we should never underestimate their achievements and offer a heart-felt salute.

As Thanksgiving nears it is a reminder of the gifts our creator has provided us and that includes 2.2 million farmers and ranchers who drive the U.S. economy.

Happy Thanksgiving—a time to reflect, enjoy and offer thanks. No one does it better than the American farmer.

Dave Bergmeier can be reached at 620-227-1822 or [email protected].