The folks at Ag Online said I did not have to submit a column for Thanksgiving, but I could not resist the opportunity to dispense a little country philosophy from the Smith farm. At the risk of sounding corny, I have a lot to be thankful for.
As a farmer, of course, I am always thankful for a good crop. We did not have a bumper crop, but considering the heat in July and dry weather in August, it was better than it might have been. Comparing what I got to yields in other parts of the country, I will take mine.
I am thankful that prices go up and down. I know they are bad right now. Still, there has been enough price movement that there were profit opportunities. I did not do everything right. I did enough things right that the bottom line will look all right when the totals are added up for the year.
I am thankful for the people who read my writing and listen to my speeches and radio shows. I do not call all of the market moves correctly. Still, I have had feed back from as far away as Australia. Most of it has been positive. Agricultural people must be the most gracious people on earth.
I am thankful that in the past year two families have respected me enough to ask me to officiate at the funerals of loved ones. I am not a clergy person and I certainly do not have the ambition to do more funerals. However, if I can fill a need, I go for it.
I am thankful for my church. I am not hung up on great theological concepts or social issues. In fact, I am uncomfortable with the public stands being taken by some religious groups. I am the finance chairman for my church. Our annual mortgage payment was due on November 15. This year we paid our scheduled payment plus an additional 10%. We have over paid three consecutive years. Our 15 year mortgage is now down to 10 years and nine months. I am probably the only person in the world for whom a mortgage payment is a spiritual experience.
I am thankful that my wife and my mother are best friends. Mom has been in a retirement home since 1989. Her health is fairly good. Her mind is sharp enough that she can recall experiences from 90 years back when her family lived in South Dakota. Sharon calls her every evening. Not every family is that close.
You know this is coming. I am thankful for Claire, my new grand daughter. I held her every day for the first five days of her life. We have seen her every week except one since she was born. She likes to have me sing Jingle Bells even if it is only November. When I look in her eyes I forget about the price of soybeans and doing cash flow projections. I am almost 60 years old and she is my connection with immortality.
Things are tough financially on many farms. Look at many third world countries and ask yourself if you would trade places. Prices do go up and down. Controlling your psychology and managing your business until the next up cycle is the challenge.