Your perseverance made it your year

Whether nine innings, four quarters, or the last steer in the ring, the end of each year concludes on day 365. When I reflect on 2022, I think about how we persevered. It was a workout. Not pushups or sudoku, but like harvest and branding every day.

Each time we sensed a grip, the bronc bucked again. We endured a significant surge in inflation, extensive drought, interest rate hikes for the first time in years and continuous supply chain disruptions. It was about persistence. Despite these challenges, farmers and ranchers always find a way to get bigger, faster and stronger. 2022 will be commemorated no differently.

Recently, a cattle producer shared insight and advice on what this year has taught him. He encouraged me and said, “Slow down. Sometimes you have to take care of yourself.” Seems simple, but here is where his ranch muscle puts brains before brawn. He talked about the next cattle cycle and its impact on herd expansion. To him, when prices are good and numbers are low, there will be an opportunity to expand.

In another conversation, a grower explained how uncertainties and economic pressures have forced evaluation in areas he would have never considered. He knows his purpose and what is valuable. Right now any effort to offset rising input and operating costs is on the table. This year he discovered supplemental products that offered surprising benefits and even encouraged extension markets and capitalization to diversify his cropping system. Both of these producers experienced achievement and despair in 2022, but both also recognize this year the world population exceeded 8 billion. A big responsibility and a big opportunity.

The agribusiness segment, which includes High Plains Journal, saw a continued shift toward work-from-home operations and hybrid practices that now seem semi-permanent. Like many, we had to learn how to adapt our strategies. We invested in tools for our staff to be more efficient, adopted production practices for greater reliability, and committed to product innovation and portfolio expansion. It has been tough, but it has been worth it. I am so proud of our team and where we are going.

Before we reset and dial in a new year, I ask you to think about whether what we do today will matter a year from now. I think it will. I believe each day in 2022 has instilled a degree of courage in all of us—an ability to overcome fear and uncomfortable circumstances. Maybe even some mental toughness too. Sadly, there are just four quarters left in this round of 365, but my hope is the last day will be super sweet and provide momentum to tackle 2023 head-on. A Sugar Bowl. Pushups for Willie and a purple team who persevered through a season of triumphs and heartbreak much like us. Go ’Cats!

Zac Stuckey can be reached at 620-227-1833 or [email protected].