DECATUR, Ill. (DTN) -- Perhaps it was a college kid safely coming home to roost or the realization that this crop season is finally coming to a close, but the thankful mood hit me today. Journalists need a deadline.
There's not a day that goes by that I'm not thankful for the agricultural industry. It is the thread that ties nearly everything I do, think and care about together.
I am thankful for being brought up by parents who taught me the value of hard work and instilled in me a love for the land. While I wasn't lucky enough to be able to "farm," the industry still wrapped its arms around me and provided.
Looking back on 2013, here are some things I am thankful for:
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1. Rain. Sure ... too much of it can be a bad thing, but after two years of dry, we gasped and danced at those first spring showers. It did become a long dance this spring, but that moisture also held us through a dry and blessedly cool summer.
2. Weeds. Sure Palmer amaranth, waterhemp, marestail, ragweed and other tough to control weeds are a pain, but perhaps it's better to view them as a wakeup call. Farming wasn't meant to be easy. It's a thinking man's occupation that should require husbandry and management skills. Nature is and always should be the great equalizer. I need to remember this the next time I bury a spiny amaranth thorn into my hand.
3. Farmer sources. I learn something each time I step onto a farm. I'm constantly grateful to growers willing to share their lives and expertise through our words. Unlike other industries, agriculture is, for the most part, still a community.
4. Trusted advisors. Journalists are born skeptics. So while we depend on seed companies, chemical companies and others for agronomic information, it's third party collaborations that lend credibility to our reports. It pains me to see extension and university resources so strapped and depleted. I give thanks for those trusted advisors that help me sort the wheat from the chaff on difficult topics.
5. Resiliency. This industry has never let me down. It has employed five generations of my family in my lifetime. None of us have ever been without work or gone to bed hungry. My oldest child went to a liberal arts school to get a math degree and found a job in agriculture. His brother is scheduled to graduate in May and already has a job lined up -- in agriculture.
6. Random stuff. Most of us travel thousands of miles each year gathering information. After all these years I've yet to run out of questions and still get a charge out of chasing combines, tractors and even, wild turkeys with my camera. That's something to be thankful for.
Pamela Smith can be reached at Pamela.firstname.lastname@example.org
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