Thanksgiving reflections |

Thanksgiving reflections

Will Walter
Mitchell Technical Institute

Thanks-giv-ing. Another growing/harvest season is put in the books. Whether a crop or species of livestock, the seasons of planting/birth followed by growth, maturity and harvest is nothing short of a miracle. These seasons often consist of producers wishing for that one more timely rain, or relief from various stressors on production. This is not just a profitability desire, but often is similar to a shepherd’s worry of seeing the “flock” under his care being burdened by less than ideal conditions of which he has no control.

This is a time of reflection for all of the things the producer and his “crop” did receive…. Remember May, what if it didn’t ever rain more than a few hundredths like the mid- 1930s? It takes faith to plant a seed and all of the corresponding inputs into the dry soil. The rain did come eventually. Although often not as much or even too lucrative at once for one’s liking, we must be thankful for what we receive. The prices we get for our crops/livestock may not always achieve our expectations, but the fact that we have the opportunity to accept or defer bids offered to us on a given day is a right to be thankful for. As you reflect on the past season, I challenge you as a producer to not dwell on the things you did or didn’t receive, but rather think of how to manage and utilize the hand you are dealt. As we watch national and world news, it is not difficult to find folks in worse situations than you or I can fathom.

It is often stated, “You must treat your farm as a business.” I agree. If your business just happens to include family members, the dynamics can be challenging but should be viewed as a strength that enhances all involved. Be grateful for this. It is hard to find employees that care for your business like family members looking out for each other.

I challenge you this holiday to focus on thankfulness and gratification in your personal lives. In our household, it is often necessary to call time out to cease the conversations containing the words: cow, fence, corn, feed, or tractor in them. I challenge you all the same. On this day words like thankful, love, care, trust, hope and faith should flow through the house!

I have intentionally limited the usage of the words: marketing, management, financial, profit, enterprise, and analysis from this column. If these words interest you in most weeks of the year, you can contact me at 605-770-0758,, or

Happy Thanksgiving!