Counting My Blessings

As I sit at my desk typing this blog post, all of the negatives of the world run through my mind. The Mayans have predicted the world to end today, Congress is driving right off the fiscal cliff and our wheat fields remain dry and parched.

But as an adopted farmer and rancher, I remain optimistic that the world will not end, our lawmakers will find a resolution to this country’s growing fiscal problems and Mother Nature will again bless our farm with cold, wet rain.

During the holiday season, we often stop to think about the things we want and believe we need, but we rarely take the same amount of time to asset our gifts and blessings. Here are a few of the blessings experienced on our farm in 2012:

(1) The cows came home. Like most cattle owners around the state, the ongoing drought took its toll on our pastures and ponds. We brought some calves home early because the ponds on their South Central Kanas ranch were dry. Other cows were given feed subsidizes to make up for lost nutrients while others weathered the hot, dry summer with little impact. In all, we were happy with the health of our cow herd and condition of our steers and calves.

(2) Our crops were harvested. Our fall dryland crops were nothing to brag about but irrigation allowed us to raise and harvest a successful corn and soybean harvest. Our dryland corn was chopped and fed to the cattle and our soybeans were baled and likewise fed. We had an average wheat crop and we decided to bale the straw to use this winter for feed and bedding.

(3) The family grew. Derek’s family welcomed a new little one to the world in May – Rylie Ann Sawyer. She is adorable and easy to please and always has a slobbery smile to greet you. One of the many perks of farming is you often live close to your family. We are blessed to have Derek’s parents and two brothers within a 25-minute radio, which means we can gather for birthdays, holidays or really any reason to celebrate and dine together. Each year, the gathers get a little larger, and louder, as more grandchildren enter the picture. Derek and I were also able to announce that we would be the next to contribute to the growing Sawyer clan with the addition of a son in May 2013.

(4) Our advocacy continues. In February, Derek and I concluded our term on the American Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmer and Rancher committee. We were sad to part ways with couples that he had grown to love and enjoy. Thankfully social media has allowed us to stay in touch and celebrate the birth of five children since our last meeting. That being said, our advocacy efforts have not ended. Derek was elected vice-president to our local Farm Bureau board and I remain a spokesperson for the CommonGround organization and the Kansas Beef Council, through Team Beef. We have both continued to speak on behalf of farming and ranching and were named the Kansas Farm Bureau Farm Family of the Year for the 7th District.

There are just a few of the dozens of blessings we experienced on the farm this year. We are thankful for the ability to continue to do what we love and raise our family on the farm and with the many blessings only found in rural America.

We are excited about the changes and challenges that will come our way in 2013 and wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and happy New Year!

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