I’m sure all of you are still digesting the prime rib and pecan pie after Thanksgiving. And I hope you all took a moment to reflect on just how much we have to be thankful for.
We certainly have a lot to be thankful for in the cattle industry. The drought maps show the least amount of drought that this country has experienced in quite some time. Demand continues to exceed expectations, as does the cattle market. Ample feed and better-than-expected prices are certainly something to be thankful for.
This will likely be one of my most interesting Thanksgivings, as it won’t be spent with family or friends. But like riding back alone after checking cows, sometimes solitude is the absolute best time to be thankful.
I haven’t met a rancher yet who didn’t want to make some money at the end of the year. Certainly, all of the management, genetic and marketing decisions we make are geared towards making that happen, but it isn’t part of the equation that I am the most thankful for. And we spend a lot of time talking about the markets and the weather, but that’s just because they are things we are forced to deal with.
My kids have been able to grow up within the ranching lifestyle and that is what I really wanted for them. I’m thankful that they either want to be involved in agriculture or will take the lessons they have learned from their roots into whatever they are doing. They believe in God, they know how to work and they understand the concept of delayed gratification. They are no strangers to adversity, but they also know that focused effort will overcome it, or that they will be able to rebound from it.
They have the most valuable gift of all that we receive from ranching – grit. They may get bucked off, but they will get back on. They may endure a few droughts, but they will work their way through and enjoy the good times. They know the strength of faith, and that some things need to be put in the hands of a higher power. I’d like to think that I would have been a good enough dad to help them learn those things without the help of growing up on a ranch. Truth be told, I’m not sure I would have been.
So this Thanksgiving, when I pause to think of all the blessings I have received, the one I’m most thankful for is that I was given the opportunity to raise my kids with cows and horses. I’m sure they could have gotten those lessons elsewhere, but then again…..
We are some of the luckiest people in the world, not just because we were fortunate enough to be born in America, but because we get to do something we love each and every day. I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving.