Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Another year older...but another year wiser?

I celebrated my 30th birthday here on God's Earth this morning at 5:18 as I was putting the feed out for my milk cows. I have lived a life truly blessed and have had some great opportunities thanks to the support of my family and friends.

But looking ahead, this coming year could very well be the most difficult of my life so far.

The dairy economy is terrible right now. While our milk price may have been a little lower a few years ago, expenses are much higher than they were during our last down cycle. Things will rebound in a few months, and the key for any dairy will be to just hold on and try to weather the storm. Many will not be able to, and that is what will ultimately lead to our prices improving in a few months. We just have to make sure we're still around to see better days! Luckily we don't carry the big debt load that many large dairies do, but we are staring down the barrel of making some very expensive capital improvements that are really going to make things tight for a while. Add in today's political climate where it seems like regulations can come out of nowhere to force major changes in our operation and you're talking about a very dicey situation. It's going to take good planning, longer hours, sacrifice, sharp financial management, and a whole lot of prayer to make it through these difficult times and come out better on the other side.

But despite the gloomy business outlook, this coming year could also be the best one yet!

About a month from now we'll have our first daughter, something that we're very excited about. And my son is getting old enough to spend more time with me around the farm this summer. I have the opportunity to do some traveling and meet a whole new set of friends this year as well. I'm finding new ways in which to hone my skills and utilize my talents. I have my health, I have my sanity (somehow), and I have the comfort of knowing that I'm at the place in my life where God must want me to be.

Through the good times and the unavoidable rough times, I can say with certainty that this coming year won't be boring.

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