As 2016 came to a close, I found myself at my computer several times, attempting to summarize and reflect on the year that was. It was quite a year for the Sawyer family – kicked off with the birth of our second son, Owen, on Jan. 5 and accentuated with tough times on the farm, a second degree for me, two big trips for the hubs and the start of pre-school for our oldest son, Evan.
It was a whirlwind of a year and one I will never forget because it taught me just how much our family can manage and endure. From an early-rising baby to an always-on toddler and a husband who works way too many hours, it was a year of learning and growing.
But 2017 is here and with it comes a host of new opportunities and adventures. On Tuesday I will officially start in my new position as District Director for Congressman-elect Dr. Roger Marshall. I believe in what he stands for and his desire to represent our district, put constituents’ needs first and be a voice for agriculture in Washington D.C. I will remain in the district, acting as the eyes and ears of the Congressman and his D.C. staff. It’s an honor and privilege to have this opportunity and I look forward to the many great Kansans I will have the opportunity to meet and get to know.
Unfortunately, hubs will endure the lions share of the challenges as grain and cattle prices continue to lag. Crop prices sank in 2016 but record yields allowed many farms, including ours, to make it. If the rains don’t come and yields fall, 2017 could be disastrous for many in the farming community. To add insult to injury, many necessary inputs continue to rise, meaning our costs will again outpace our revenues. We have invested in the various crop insurance and farm management programs available to us but nothing replaces strong exports, rising commodity prices and continued demand for our products. (See chart below for illustration of farm income.)
Owen will continue to grow, change and learn each day. Evan will continue with pre-school, moving to a pre-K program in the fall. We’ll figure out a new normal with my new job and Derek’s continued demand of the farm, Farm Bureau and other organizations he’s involved with.
We all look forward to a happy, successful and productive 2017. It won’t be without headaches, heartache and hard times but we’ll endure and continue farming, laughing and growing.
Cheers to 2017 and happy new year to all!