The entire country paused last week and gave thanks. People also ate a lot of food and watched football. Likely some of you shelled corn, if you had anything empty to put the corn into. This is another week - the week after Thanksgiving. But shouldn't we be thankful all year long?
I think so, and I believe nearly all farmers and ag people think so as well. There are plenty of challenges facing agriculture today, maybe no more than in the past, but the stakes seem higher. Whole industries are at stake. In spite of all of this, here a few things that might bring a feeling of thankfulness to the heart.
One. God granted us a late Indiana summer. On Halloween Day, it looked like many people would be combining soybeans in January, corn in February, on frozen ground. "My dad was already trying to tell me what to be ready for," one young farmer says. "He said we'd be pulling in, backing out when the combine broke through, bending snouts, and freezing all the while. I've never experienced it, and it doesn't sound like fun. It's not - and the Indiana summer stretch averted that for most people.
Two. Yields are better than expected for most people. Corn may be wet, but even corn planted as late as June 10 is yielding 150 to 220 bushels per acre. Dodging rain drops to finish June 10, it looked a whole lot more like a 100 to1 20 bushel per acre top yield year for some people.
Three. Cap and Trade was delayed until Spring - True, this one depends upon your point of view. But if you're an ag company that could be directly impacted by this law, such as Country Mark, any respite, even if it's a few months, could be helpful. Inside sources tell us that many improvements in the light of agriculture and consumers have been made in the bill since it was first introduced, even if there's a long way to go.
Four. Farm people help our own. Canned food drives have been stepped up this year. The Switzerland County FFA alone collected thousands of cans to feed the hungry in Vevay, Ind. This act has been repeated by others across the country.
Five. Farm people support troops. More than 16,000 Christmas trees were collected and distributed both here and abroad to brighten spirits for service men and women. The trees are donated by Christmas Tree growers, and Fed Ex supplies free shipping. But volunteers, many of them in rural areas, did the backbreaking work to get the trees from tree farms, like the Tom and Kerry Dull farm in Thorntown, Ind., to places they needed to be. The Dull farm was a collection point for trees in Indiana.
And on a personal note, I'm thankful that my daughter, Ashley, and first grandchild, Graham, are both healthy. Graham was born Oct. 30, some five-plus weeks early. Ashley had complications. The Lord above put them in the right hospital at the right time by a string of unusual circumstances.
God still answers prayer. Maybe that's the number one thing many of us can be thankful for. Ranking right behind that is the fact that we can still pray to the God we believe in here in this country. This is still America, despite all the challenges, and we need to act like Americans- thankful Americans.