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Lee Pitts: How To Live A Long Time

As a child I was ALWAYS taught to respect my elders but now days it's getting harder and harder to find one. One of those I respected immensely was Chuck Irwin who just passed away at the age of 94. If his name sounds familiar it's probably because he was one of the best bit and spur makers in the country. Cowboys loved his silver works of art and horses even more so. Chuck was at a show three days before he died, still taking orders. That night he went out to eat, tripped over a curb and fell. He grimaced, cowboyed up, ate a steak and drank some whiskey before some friends convinced him to go to a hospital. Three days later Chuck checked out of this orbiting nut house and the world is a lesser place.

Someone I'm sure you've never heard about was the lovely Lavinia, a friend of a friend who my wife visited religiously two and three times a week for a couple years. I dropped by on holidays and birthdays and one of the two photographs I have in my room is of Lavinia as I fed her chocolate cake on her hundredth birthday.

My favorite old person was my wonderful grandfather who passed away at 94. I think of him every day. From these three wonderful people I learned a few things on how to live a long and meaningful life.

First, stay away from doctors, hospitals and pharmacies. I bet between them, Chuck, Lavinia and grandpa never spent twelve days in a hospital. I also learned that people are a lot like cows, when their teeth start to deteriorate so does their life. At the end, my grandpa's teeth didn't even sleep in the same room as he did. My friends also avoided lawyers, stayed out of divorce court and were each married only once until death did them part.

Not one of my friends was a vegetarian or took Ginko biloba. They were raised on meat and milk and ate their share of prunes. They ate slowly and in small amounts. My grandpa could take an hour to eat one enchilada and when I fed Lavinia two helpings of her centennial birthday cake I thought she'd make 101 before we were done. Nor did they let alcohol ruin their lives, although Grandpa did enjoy a thimbleful of blackberry wine occasionally, but I doubt that's what killed him.

My three friends got up early and I'd be surprised if they ever stayed up late enough to watch the Tonight show. They loved to work, didn't need a gym membership to stay fit and when their possessions were dispersed their wasn't one "Thigh Master", "Bun Burner" or Richard Simmons exercise tape. They lived in older, cluttered homes and didn't waste too much time doing housework.

They all loved animals. Chuck and Grandpa were especially fond of horses while Lavinia loved cats. (Her only fault, as far as I was concerned.) Lavinia loved to garden and was married to a farmer. Chuck was a farmer and a cowman and my grandpa was raised on a walnut ranch and kept busy weeding two ballparks he built for the kids in our community. That's another thing, all three were good citizens and highly respected in their SMALL communities. None had a long commute to work… they just opened the back door and there it was.

My friends weren't stuffy or full of themselves and were comfortable in their own skins. I never once heard any one of them say the "F" word. Not one had a Facebook page, Tweeted or lived their life on "social media". They didn't dread the future nor think the younger generation is going to Hell. All three were willing to share their immense knowledge and skills with younger folks. All you had to do was ask. Instead, youngsters wrote them off as silly old senior citizens.

Chuck never spent one day in a resthome while Grandpa and Lavinia had to spend a couple years in a warehouse where old folks are stored. They hated every minute. So if I were you, I wouldn't spend another minute worrying about things that will never happen. Instead just make sure that when the sun sets tonight you can look back and say it was a day well spent. That's what Grandpa, Chuck and Lavinia did.

Baxter Black: Cowboy’s Grace

Dear Lord,

Yer lookin' at a man who never learned to cook

unless you count pork & beans

And a flowery grace like you'd read in a book

is really beyond my means

But You can believe I'm a thankful man

though it might be undeserved

And I'll eat whatever comes out of the pan

no matter what's bein' served

I don't take it lightly if it's real good

cause I'd eat it anyway

See I know there's people, in all likelihood

that might not eat today

So count me in if yer needin' grace

and bless those who provide it

The farmers and ranchers, the bakers of bread

the loving hand that fried it

But most of all, Lord, we give thanks to You

cause we who work on the land

Know how much our harvest and bounty is due

to the gainful touch of Yer hand

So bless this food and the life we embrace

and please forgive us our pride

When others with tables a-plenty say grace

for what we've helped You provide.

Ethanol is the safe option

As fuel prices decrease, farmers are seeing corn ethanol markets drop. What to do? Well, let's hope we don't see the price at the pumps go up. Instead, let's use more ethanol.

What I'm suggesting is oil companies increase the amount of ethanol blended into gasoline – from the mandatory 10 to 30 percent.

And, my reasons are not purely economic. Without higher ethanol blends, a century of research shows the only way to better octane ratings is more carcinogens.

Let me explain. There's no such thing as pure gasoline. Typical gasoline is made up of 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent other petroleum products. And, anywhere from 25 to 40 percent are classified as highly toxic carcinogens. These aromatics include: benzene, toluene and xylene or BTEX.

These facts concern me. My mom passed away from cancer in 2008. Was it caused by benzene, toluene and xylene? We will never know.

And, the government knows all about it. In fact, in the 1990 Clean Air Act, in an effort to minimize specific aromatic pollution or mobile source air toxics, Congress directed the EPA to control hazardous air pollutants to the greatest degree of emission reduction achievable.

Clean tailpipe emissions can be achieved with biofuels – like ethanol, specifically, E30. Research shows that E30 can be used in non-flex and flex fuel vehicles alike.

To put science into practice, Glacial Lakes Energy, an ethanol cooperative in Watertown, South Dakota, launched a campaign founded on education and economics. In return for every gallon sold, Glacial Lakes Energy donated 30 cents to the local Boys and Girls Club, up to $50,000.

Consumption went up by 600 percent. The campaign is over and Watertown drivers continue to fuel up with E30.

What's the holdup?

The crux of this issue, to quote my friends at the Urban Air Initiative, "is that the EPA is relying on science that routinely and knowingly discounts the value of biofuels. Extensive research has shown that regulations are being implemented based on vehicle testing that uses fake test fuels. But, even if unbiased science was allowed to play out in these tests, the regulations that the EPA creates are prohibitive for development and production of any alternative to petroleum-based fuel products." (Read more at fixourfuel.com.)

I received confirmation that EPA research and data is not complete from the man himself – EPA's Christopher Grundler, Director of the office of Transportation and Air.

Our conversation was spurred by a December 15, 2017 Wall Street Journal article announcing the dangers of leaf blower emissions – saying they were more detrimental to air quality and our health than automobile emissions. The article quoted EPA data. Read Wall Street Journal article at this link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/that-ear-splitting-leaf-blower-it-also-emits-more-pollution-than-a-car-1513346400.

Upon reading the article, I sent a letter to Grundler. He responded the same day! We corresponded regularly for the next few months.

Promoting the truth about the safety and efficiency of ethanol is a banner South Dakota Farmers Union flies proudly. Members of our organization (Orrie Swayze) helped launch the industry in South Dakota. Since the early days, our grassroots policy has supported the growth and expansion of the industry because ethanol is a renewable source of fuel that is safe and raised right here.

It not only helps our farmers who raise corn, feed the coproducts to cattle and their rural communities – ethanol could begin saving lives if the EPA will begin to follow guidelines of the Clean Air Act and hold oil companies accountable.

Throughout the 2019 Legislative Session, I'll be writing quite a bit on this topic. We are entering a critical time to address this high priority topic as State and National government agencies welcome new leadership.

Let's work together to share the truth about the health benefits of E30.

To learn more, visit the Clean Air Initiative's website, FixOurFuel.com.

–South Dakota Farmers Union

Gange: Windless in Woonsocket – How not to sign a wind turbine agreement

I marvel how many South Dakota landowners sign a wind turbine agreement or an oil and gas lease without the benefit of good counsel. I have seen the end product. It is not pretty. Though we are taught about the seven deadly sins of this world also called the seven cardinal sins or capital sins, yet a wind turbine agreement may contain an even greater smorgasbord of "contract sins" all of which should be discovered, remedied and purged by any negotiating landowner before entering into a long term land use agreement. I will in this opinion piece visit a few contract issues. Let us first however examine a difference one occasionally finds between a North Dakota landowner and a South Dakota landowner. I am reminded of an old Aberdeen lawyer friend who has now passed away. He once said, "In North Dakota they spend money to make money and they spend money to save money, but in South Dakota they just don't spend money." Consider that many wind turbine agreements are private contracts in which the parties have an unequal bargaining position. To be involved with one is not the time to practice parsimony.

A particular contract term used by wind farm developers is the confidentiality agreement. This stratagem requires landowners sign a confidentiality agreement often before even seeing a form lease. The clause attempts to give a developer an advantage over landowners by prohibiting the sharing of information among landowners. Such a "gag" provision is also found in a final executed wind lease in order to protect the contract terms from disclosure. A confidentiality clause makes it a bit more challenging to determine what the regional "market" payment terms really are for a given project. And in turn the clause hinders a landowner's ability to knowingly negotiate terms which are fair for a particular project in that particular market. The absence of market knowledge gives a competitive advantage to project developers. When I consult ag land appraisers to discuss regional wind turbine payment terms I usually find these experts bereft of much information on the subject. While there are methods for learning what a fair payment term should be, the methods are a bit more expensive than what might be found in an open and transparent market.

I will list some important terms found in a wind turbine agreement. This is a sobering list, and should motivate the landowner to seek the exact parameters for each term. Common agreements contain: a construction and land use option all in favor of the developer; an access easement to cross and use one's property; the right to construct roads; the right to construct large turbines on one's land; the right to construct underground and above-ground transmission lines and substations; and terms that bind on one's heirs or any subsequent purchasers of the land. As in a courtship, pretty pictures painted, verbal promises and solid verbal commitments between the landowner and developer mean nothing once an agreement is signed.

Some wind turbine agreements are called easements, some leases, some something else. It matters not. These babies are a binding, long-term land contract. Or, as young people say, a wind turbine agreement is a land contract with benefits. Be not dissuaded by the good money offered. While an agreement often presents itself as if it were a lease – an agreement is considerably more than a lease. A wind turbine agreement is a binding commitment of the landowner allowing the developer the right to broad use of the landowner's property. The "right-to-use" language often has ambiguous or liberal terms subject to interpretation. I suggest one leave as little to interpretation as possible. A wind turbine agreement is a business marriage with all its serious consequences. Let me provide an example of language found in an agreement: 'The final decision concerning the placement of any wind turbine equipment remains in the sole discretion of the developer.' This term sets no limits as to duration, quantity or type of equipment. The term is unrestricted. A written wind energy agreement is the very Constitution of the land use relationship. It has many other consequences not here discussed including a legal liability issue and several tax questions. If in fact a landowner is interested in entering into a wind turbine agreement in the first place, a tax and legal analysis is essential. Ben Franklin said that an investment in knowledge pays the best interest. A landowner should invest money to make money and to protect property.

Lee Pitts: Be Nice

People the world over use their fingers to communicate; mostly in rude ways. Hip teenagers and Italians couldn't communicate if they had to wear mittens or a catcher's glove. The problem is this "finger talk" is not universal the world over. In America the "okay" sign means everything is hunky dory, while in Germany, Russia and Brazil it's on par with giving someone the finger. In Japan it means that you want change, preferably in coin, and in France it means that you are worthless and quite possibly a drunk. And that's definitely not "okay"!

If you travel a wide circle you'd be well advised to keep your hands in your pockets. And don't say anything either. I've previously written about the time in Australia when I asked who everyone was rooting for, not realizing that "rooting" is the "f" word down under. Many years ago American Jim Courier committed an even bigger blooper when he said of a player on worldwide television, "There's two guys in the locker room rooting loudly for her."

Constantly staring at someone is the norm in the Middle East and it's a compliment to a pretty girl in America, but do it on a New York subway and you'll get a knife in your gizzard from a gang banger. And remember that sign from your childhood where an uncle would pretend to take your nose off and he'd show it to you between his fingers? Do that in many parts of Latin American and you'll get your nose knocked off for real; except in Brazil where it means good luck.

In America if you turn your glass over on the bar it can mean you're through drinking. Do the same thing in an Australian pub and it's a challenge that you can lick anyone in the place in a fist fight. While you're in Australia do like I did and just drink from the bottle.

You don't have to travel overseas to get in trouble by making the wrong gesture or saying the wrong thing. Many of the gestures people make in big cities are misunderstood by us country folks. For example, if you're at a sporting event in New York city and grab your throat with both hands it's a sign that a team or player is "choking." The same sign when seen in a small town cafe is an alarm that you're gagging on a tater tot and need someone to perform the Heimlich maneuver on you.

On mean urban streets and NBA basketball courts you'll see young men engage in highly orchestrated "handshakes." They'll hook the ends of their finger's, twist their wrists, tickle their palms, do a 360 degree turn in the air, do a few high-fives and finally finish off with a hard bumping of fists. But can you picture two farmers in the coffee shop saying howdy that way?

It's the same thing with those air kisses you see the Kardashian sisters blowing in Hollywood. I guarantee that if a lady greets an old crusty cattleman by fake kissing him on both cheeks he'll think she can't see or has bad aim.

If you rudely honk your car horn in the big city it means get the heck out of the way, or watch where you're going, you jerk. Whereas the honking of a horn in the country is more apt to be a sign to the cows that their dinner is now being served. It could also mean the local high school football team won again, someone just got married, or the brakes are out in my truck and, pardon me, but I'M COMING THROUGH!

In the country, where lawyers are outnumbered by cowboys and urban folks only stop if they have car trouble or hit a cow, if you see a finger raised above the steering wheel it's probably a sign of friendliness, not hatred. We know not to tailgate or we'll get a face full of bumper when the friendly old cuss in front stops suddenly to talk to his neighbor. We don't go in for a lot of touchy-feely stuff with strangers either and we'd advise any urbanite who gets lost out our way not to pet the car alarm in the back of the pickup or you may not have any fingers left to communicate with.

Lockwood wins PBR at the Garden, Larry Larson clinic, BHSS events, roping, poles and barrels

It's sure been a nice week around here. Above normal temperatures and no new snow. There's still snowdrifts and patches here, but mostly the grass is bared off and available for grazing. I'm not minding it at all, nor are the cows and horses.

Madison Square Garden has been the site for rodeos for decades and these days it's one of the big venues for PBR action. Jess Lockwood, after battling injuries in 2018, is back on his game and won the event last week! He came away with 895 points toward the tour, $118,350 in his pocket, and leading the PBR standings. Good job, Jess. Just so you know, I have it on good authority that he is one of the genuine good guys and is a fine role model for young people overall. He has taken on the colors of the Border Patrol to show his support for the hard job they are doing protecting our nation against illegals. Good job, Jess, on all that you do.

Larry Larson has announced that his Equine Photography Clinic will be held in May at the beautiful High View Quarter Horse Ranch in the Black Hills. The date is still to be announced, but will be a two day clinic. There is limited enrollment so that each person gets the individual attention necessary to learn and it will fill up fast. Email your name and address to Larry at llp.photographics@gmail.com. right away.

The Black Hills Stock Show is nearly upon us. The event lineup is as spectacular as usual with so many things happening that one person couldn't possibly make it to them all! For a full schedule of events you can go online at http://www.blackhillsstockshow.com/events.

The BHSS will officially kick off with the opening of the trade show and the Stallion Row and horses sales on the 25th. Stallion Alley will be showcasing a phenomenal lineup of horses and will be open to view at 1:20 p.m. on the 25th and 26th. The horse sale preview will be at 8 a.m. At the Event Center with the sale at 2 p.m. at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.

The BHSS Broncs to Breakfast will be Jan. 30 with 8 a.m. Biscuits and gravy breakfast and the ranch bronc riding to follow. It will be at the Event Center. Entries are open and will close Jan. 17 and is limited to 32. You can find an entry form at http://www.blackhillsstockshow.com.

January 19 and 21 will be the BHSS NRCHA Open and non Pro Bridle Spectacular show and the AQHA Winter Spectacular show will be Jan. 19 and 24.

If you are into the fast paced, ranchy event of Stray Gathering, that will be at the Event Center on January 25, 7 p.m. There will be a dance to follow so be sure and bring your comfortable boots!

The BHSS Ranch Horse Versatility Show will be Sunday, Jan. 27 and Monday, Jan. 28. They start at 8 a.m. I believe and is sure good watching. It is held at the Event Center.

January 30, 10 a.m., will be the saddle bronc futurity, 1 p.m. the bucking horse sale, and then that night at 7:30 will be the spectacular PRCA Bronc Match with 30 of the top bronc riders in the nation on the top end of the broncs.

Meanwhile, at Ponca, Neb., there's the Jr. Dees Roping at the Arrow B Ranch on Jan. 19-20. Open, #11 Handicap and draw pot. Enter at 10, rope at 11. Call Jr. at 605-212-8917.

PRO Jackpots Barrel and Pole Bending continue Jan. 20, Feb. 17 and March 10 at the Cam-Plex, Gillette, Wyo. Peewees, youth 3D and open divisions, plus 3D poles. Open riding starts at 8 a.m. Call Paula O'Connell at 307-687-0566 for info. Remember, if the weather's icky, call before you haul.

NLBRA reminder! If you are a Finals camper that reserved your spot before leaving the 2018 finals, final payment to hold that spot is due by Feb. 1. Call 800-763-3694 to get that done.

Well, that's my circle for another week. I hope this weather holds. My Dad always said that January was the best time for a drought there is. Have a great week and be sure and send me any upcoming events you want to have talked about here! My email's at the top of this column.

A few thoughts by John Nalivka: Positive change in the industry and on the ranch

There is no doubt that increasing production efficiency is critical to the sustainability of any business. The beef industry is no exception. From a macro perspective, beef production per cow, often cited as an indicator of production efficiency, increased nearly 50 percent over the last 30 years from 539 pounds in 1988 to 656 pounds in 2018. More impressive, the figure showed a 98 percent increase since 1960. That's great and it is important to the industry if it is to progress over time and remain competitive. However, the other question is how are you doing as an individual producer? Measuring and monitoring your ranch performance is as important to you as measuring and monitoring industry performance is to me as an analyst. And the best part, if the government shuts down, you still have data!

We talk about industry trends and I have more than enough industry data going back to the early 1900s to create charts forever. The trends are important but those long term trends are not nearly as important to where the industry is headed as what has occurred in the industry over the last 5 years.

I have said it often over the last several months, but liquidating the nation's cattle numbers to a 60 year low in 2014 took the bottom 1/3 of the cattle out of the inventory. These were the lowest performing cattle making little or no contribution in terms of quality and consistency. The cattle that remained became a solid foundation for setting the industry on a path for the future in terms of performance – from every perspective. And, producers carried the ball, paying top dollar for better genetics. The end result – cattle that consistently grade 80 percent to 85 percent choice which in turn has led to growing demand for U.S. beef, both at home and in global markets.

The ball is still in your court to take this positive change and continue moving forward. If you have not done so already, make 2019 your starting point to begin measuring and monitoring various production parameters on your ranch. View and analyze your ranch production relative to your financial performance. You may be amazed at the wealth of information that you create and how that information can help you to assess your production and marketing options. Industry performance is important for your long term success but it's YOUR decision-making based on sound data and risk management that ultimately affect YOUR success.

Ol’ Roanie

"How ya doin' Skip?" I asked.

"Okay, I guess," he said. "Remember my good rope horse?"

I remembered. Skip, like me is left-handed and therefore requires a left-handed heelin' horse. Whenever I'm in southern New Mexico he lets me borrow ol' Roanie.

Last time I had been to his place to rope I got there early so I saddled up and was warmin' up the horse. I didn't remember him bein' quite so belligerent and feisty. He made a couple stops where I had to grab the horn!

When Skip arrived he explained why Roanie was actin' up. It wasn't Roanie. It was the other horse.

The other horse, which had a big scar on his shoulder, was also a roan. He was the flotsam of a relationship gone bad. Skip had wanted to sell him but the now departed love interest had insisted he keep him so they could go on romantic rides together. Skip roped on him now and then but it was always a risky venture. He kept thinkin' if he roped on him enough, he might make a good horse.

"Yeah," I said, "I remember ol' Roanie."

"Well, I just crippled him. And to top it off, the week before I'd gone down to Sullivan's and ordered a brand new slant WW two-horse trailer with all the trimmings. It has the ladder, optional large hayrack on top, extra long tongue, red and white pin striping. Did I tell you it was a slant? Has walk-in tack storage in the front.

"I figgered it was a Christmas present for myself since I didn't have to buy anyone a diamond this year. And then Roanie got crippled. Dang!"

"It looks to me," I said, "that you might as well buy yourself two Christmas presents. Get a new horse. Sell the old one."

"I'm…I'm not sure," he stuttered.

I went into my lecture about how horses aren't people and there is not much point hangin' onto a horse you can't use. I've seen too many people hang onto a horse that limps, jigs, bites or bucks or is just too much horse for them. I explain to these people they are not obligated to maintain a horse the rest of its life just because it cost $1500. It was a bill of sale, not adoption papers.

I warmed to the subject using my nursing home analogy, the price of killer horses and the plethora of good horseflesh available. "Life's too short," I concluded, "to spend good money on a horse out of a misguided sense of obligation."

Skip said, "You know yer right. I am gonna sell him! He's never gonna git much better. It's not fair to them to keep 'em around if yer never gonna ride'm. I'm really not sentimental about him anyway."

He put his arm around my shoulder. "Thanks, my friend."

"Yer welcome," I said, happy that I was able to counsel my friend. "Then maybe you could do some serious horse trainin' on the other horse."

"Whatya talkin' about?" he said. "He'll still be crippled."

"Oh, I thought we were talkin' about ol' Roanie."

"Oh, no," he said, "I could never sell ol' Roanie."

Pulling the bull

(editor's note: this letter was submitted a few months ago. We didn't run the letter immediately because the author and I were communicating back and forth about the state of the industry. We decided it is time to run the letter now.)

Ironically enough Dad and I had this discussion on the day we were pulling the bulls.

I never thought I'd see the day and certainly didn't think dad would see the day where in the cattle industry we would have to hire a fact checker or investigate the real story to sift through the "fake" news that is sometimes being published in some livestock publications.

The one industry that fortunately survives with almost no government intervention is seemingly being destroyed from the inside by its own so called "cattlemen!"

I know where to go to get solid facts about political topics in DC's beltway but it's getting harder and harder to find that in cattle country. When guest writers "affiliated" or "representing" a particular organization will blatantly lie or mislead readers to skew public opinion, then where are we to go for the facts? We expect these people to be experts, and they take advantage of us by stretching the truth or outright lying. Should we expect the publishers to do their own fact checking before allowing these articles from different organizations to post? Or do we simply expect them to "uninvite" future articles after the damage is done? Personally I'm too busy to do all the research needed to validate all these articles and it's certainly why I'm a member of so many grassroots organizations focused on aviation, farming, beef, and constitutional gun rights. The minimal amount of money I pay for memberships to various organizations gives me the ability to offer my humble opinion but more importantly to have it represented by folks whose job it is to educate themselves and stay abreast of all the facts.

Often when we attend various organizational meetings, all you hear is speakers tearing down the other organizations. The cattle industry is so far behind in so many respects, that if we don't unify and use the sparse resources that we have we are certain to implode and be left with government intervention to dictate our every move. The beef industry is already a battlefield, with nut jobs telling us how raise our products in environments we live in daily. While I don't agree with ALL the positions in every organization I'm a member of, I certainly don't think we should waste our energies on petty topics and definitely not to the point of dividing an entire industry with misleading information. We certainly can't afford infighting and need all the help we can get in educating people about our product. We all need to be on our soapboxes occasionally but let's be unified and passionate about promoting BEEF, and more importantly spend our energies against the real enemies of our industry, not the cowboy across the creek!

Respectfully,

Jared Schott

Day Writing by Heather Hamilton-Maude: 2019

Lord, as 2018 draws to an end,

I thank you for the good days, and for the bad.

For the times endured, enjoyed and embraced

For the love and the joy, as well as the tests and the failures faced

And, looking ahead, I thank you for the opportunities still to come

That will begin to unfold in days not yet done

For those very days themselves I am preeminently grateful

I know they are numbered, and strive to live them in a way not wasteful

I'm grateful for this life of revolving optimism

Where we plant seeds with both faith and pinpoint precision

Then care for that crop until its fruit we can glean

A wonderful lesson in believing in what is yet unseen

I truly love these acres where my children roam

And the roof and four walls that they call home

May they go down the road to what lies beyond

But know they can always return and still feel as though they belong

And Lord, I pray the calves this spring come small and full of vigor

That their mothers are good and certainly not kickers

May the crops we've planted and those awaiting the ground

Bless us with their bounty when their day comes round.

May our machinery run when we depend on it most

May we find issues while small and before they've had time to grow

When we expand or make a purchase please guide our minds

Let the decisions we make find favor with Thine

I pray for our leaders who know Your name

Asking you to impart on them wisdom as they play the game

That they may do the work necessary for us to live

In this land we call home, and take pride in again

We fervently pray America remains for our children

Where they can worship Your name without fear of persecution

As well as this industry that feeds the nations

Let it remain an honorable vocation

Ultimately I pray your will be done

And that I see your hand in every outcome

For within each breath are lessons to be learned

May I grasp them and not leave your blessings unturned

I look forward to experiencing all You have planned

For myself, my beloved family, and this piece of land

Within this new year all shiny and clean

Thank you for making 2019!