Riding the Roller Coaster of Life

It’s been a week filled with highs and lows, and I’m not talking about the commodity markets!  I’ve been experiencing a roller coaster of emotions, and the “heartline roll” began with continued talks about the Sequester.

After reading about nine U.S. senators asking USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to explain the rationale for furloughing meat and poultry inspectors, I had all intentions of writing a follow up piece to my post last Tuesday.  I wanted to hammer on all the essential programs being cut.  There are many non-essential programs that could’ve been cut, but then again, those wouldn’t have gained the politicos nearly as much attention.  I also wanted to shed some light on new programs in the works while everyone’s attention is diverted by budget cuts.

Every loop on a roller coaster is followed by a high point, and one high point for me last week was a class on PQA Plus certification.  Other high points were the two, town hall meetings I attended last Thursday and Friday.  I visited with Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer, Senator Amanda Regan, Senator Bill Dix and House Ag Committee Chairman Pat Grassley.  I also had the privilege of meeting Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey.  Great discussions with these folks made me think that some things, at least here in Iowa, are moving along the way they should.

Saturday was another good day.  Grandson Devin came up from Iowa State to help me with farm work.  Devin moved snow while I did chores, and then we put together an old pool table my grandfather gave me years ago.

The next two days were emotional.  We had planned to attend church on Sunday morning, but instead, I ended up driving Janice to the emergency room.  She’s still in the hospital, but thankfully she is getting better.  Then Monday morning I received word that my Aunt Cleva had passed away.  When I was in college, I lived with Cleva and her husband, Carl.  I helped them farm because Carl had had back surgery the previous winter, and Cleva treated me like the son she had never had.  Great memories!

After all the emotion of the last few days, ups and downs, I received this message on my Facebook page:

You are an amazing Iowan. I appreciate how you represent rural Iowa and farmers. I find your articles interesting. Thanks for putting farmers in a positive light. Thanks for your hard work, your passion for agriculture and for being a great friend.

Thanks, Tammy Sneller, for making my day!  You gave my spirits a big lift just when I needed it.

In my circles of agriculture and social media, we don’t often say “thank you” or “nice job.”  I know I should thank more people for having conversations with those who do not understand what farming and ranching is about, but perhaps we take one another for granted.  Thank you, Tammy, for reminding me about the things I take for granted every day!  And to all my fellow advocates out there, thank you for also putting farmers in a positive light!