By Seth Estenson, NDFB Northeast Field Representative
Season greetings and happy holidays!
Aside from occasional bad winter weather, this is undoubtedly my favorite time of year. At our ranch, it is the time of year where we fall into a nice routine. A typical day encompasses feeding cattle, dealing with any herd health issues that may arise, and trying to button up any loose ends that may not have been attended too because it was placed on the “not essential to conduct normal business list.” I laugh because it can certainly be that way in our personal lives as well. It is the holiday season, and it also brings us into a new year which brings new beginnings and a fresh set of challenges to contend with.
In theory it is supposed to be the most joyous time of year, but I know it can also lead to stress and discomfort. Farming and ranching have changed significantly in the past few years. As we look back at the previous crop year, many of us will be met with the reality of falling revenues and profits. Current cash prices in both sectors don’t seem to have a bullish trend of any sort. Yet increases in land rent, price of inputs, equipment and supplies show no sign of slowing. Early snowfall throughout the state forced many harvest delays; and while we should be planning next spring’s activities, we are caught trying to put the current year to bed.
Really great outlook, right? For me, it’s easy to get caught up in the doom and gloom of this economic downturn affecting many of us in the farming and ranching community. Until I take stock of the things that really matter.
Eight plus years ago, when agriculture was booming, and I barely had two nickels to rub together, the good Lord brought a woman into my life that changed it forever. Eight years later, Brynna and I have two healthy children who provide us with love and tons of cheap entertainment. I was to the doctor once over the last year due to a swift kick in the pants by a calf and everything could have been far worse than it was. Brynna and I will manage to pay the mortgage, insurance, electricity, heat, daycare, healthcare, and feed and clothe ourselves and our children. We’ve had the pleasure of great people coming into our lives through various activities and involvement. A few of them are not here with us anymore. I believe we will see them again, under much better circumstances.
A little over 2000 years ago a king was born in the humblest of circumstances. (Circumstances that social services would have some question about today, no doubt.) When I compare our situation with His beginning and end, at around the same age I am today, I can’t help but take stock in all that He has blessed myself, my family, and this country with. I genuinely hope that the Lord blesses you all with the same grace in which He has me.
From my family to yours, Merry Christmas!