Thanksgiving a time to count your blessings 

Corn and barn in fall. (Photo by Chabella Guzman.)

Every year represents a new chapter in the life of agricultural producers and those who serve them. And 2023 was no exception. 

Throughout the year many hurdles and challenges may make life difficult, but a network of faith, friends and family was invaluable in keeping our rows straight. 

Thanksgiving is a time for pause, reflection and celebration. For grandparents and great-grand parents it is an opportunity to reminisce about past holidays. For parents with college-age children Thanksgiving offers an opportunity to catch up before they head back to finish a semester. 

American consumers will be relieved of the effect of highly pathogenic avian influenza, according to an analysis from the American Farm Bureau Federation. In October, the AFBF estimated that an 8- to 16-pound turkey would be about 22% below the 2022 price. While news on HPAI remains a topic for state and federal health regulators, consumers should enjoy the quality of wherever their pallet directs them—poultry, beef, pork or lamb. 

The American consumer has reaped the benefits of the modern food production system. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service reported consumers spent an average of 11.3% of their disposable personal income on food in 2022, a level not seen since the 1980s. The share of disposable personal income spent on food in 2022 was divided nearly equally between food at home (5.62%) and food away from home (5.64%). The 11.3% increase meant the disposable income spent was about 13% higher in 2022, as inflationary pressures took their toll. 

As U.S. families get together to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal it still comes in at a reasonable price thanks to what the American farmer and rancher is doing on a day-to-day basis. As each generation becomes more detached from farm activities it unfortunately means consumers are less likely to be thinking about farmers and ranchers. 

Many farmers and ranchers have wrapped up fall activities although there are always going to be weather or other factors that can extend a harvest into early December. A winter storm can wreak havoc on wrap-up activities or checking on livestock. 

We must never forget the backbone of our country rests with what farmers and ranchers are doing each and every day. Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate and relish the relationship we have with farmers and ranchers. 

Soil Health U update

As Soil Health U approaches, HPJ is offering an early bird registration that can save attendees $36 if they do so by Nov. 30. That could make a nice stocking stuffer with cost savings to boot. Soil Health U is planned for Jan. 17 to 18 at the Tony’s Pizza Event Center in Salina, Kansas. Notable speakers include Cristine Morgan, chief scientific officer at the Soil Health Institute; Jeremy Brown, with Broadview Agriculture, and Macauley Kincaid, a regenerative farmer from Missouri. 

The two-day event features interactive trade show, keynotes, panels, breakout sessions, hands-on workshops and demonstration, Certified Crop Advisor CEUs, and networking with industry experts. 

Additional news about Soil Health U can be found elsewhere in this edition. For more information, visit  

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