Last week, my Facebook newsfeed was full of sour goodbyes to 2016. Many likened the year to a horror movie that you want to be over but you can’t help but watch all of the gory details anyway.
From my vantage point, I agree that in some ways 2016 was pretty rough.
This nation experienced the most social upheaval we've seen since the 1960s. We had an ugly presidential election season that pitted people against each other in the most extreme ways possible. We saw cattle markets tank, lawsuits against the beef checkoff escalate and a deep-set paranoia creep into our industry that is going to be hard to shake.
Yet, despite the pitfalls, I’m excited and optimistic for 2017. We’re certainly going to see wide, sweeping change as President-Elect Trump takes the helm, and I think some real opportunities for self-employed entrepreneurs and working class families will soon emerge.
This is good news for cattle ranchers as we attempt to overcome this downward cycle in the markets. Perhaps if we can remove some of the regulatory burdens weighing down food producers, we’ll see some fresh life in this business once again. (Looking at you WOTUS and Obamacare.)
I often think about the saying that no politician is going to make your life inherently better or worse. It’s up to you as an individual to determine the success or failure of your endeavors. Sure, poorly written policies can make life more difficult, and the state of the economy certainly plays a role, as well.
However, with discipline, hard work and a dogged determination, we can weather even the toughest storms. Ranchers are a tough group; we face our challenges head on. I think 2017 is going to be a lot of that. Markets aren’t yet expected to recover this year, or even next, and it might separate the men from the boys, but I think we are up to the challenge.
In 2017, I’m strengthening my resolve to weather the storm. In our operation, we’re tightening our budget. We’re committed to getting more involved as this new administration takes office. We want our voices heard, and we know that we can’t sit on the sidelines and just expect things to fall into place. Now is the time to set your own goals for your operation and take action to make them happen.
Yes, there’s plenty of work to be done in 2017, but I’m up to the challenge. How about you?
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Penton Agriculture.