Passion Leads us to Reach our Potential

I’m writing this blog late on Labor Day after driving about 700 miles home from Oklahoma City. I had so much fun over the holiday weekend with four of my granddaughters, one just over a week old!

Three granddaughters and I left my wife, Janice, with young Keely for another week. The girls were pretty subdued on the ride home, which gave me time to reflect. I couldn’t help but wonder what these young girls have to look forward to… What will our country look like 50 years from now?

Over the holiday weekend, I traveled to Oklahoma City with three of my granddaughters to meet my newest little one.

Over the holiday weekend, I traveled to Oklahoma City with three of my granddaughters to meet my newest little one.

These days it seems that plenty of folks are full of doom and gloom about the direction our country is headed. With events like those in Ferguson and the recent murder of a police officer in Texas, it’s easy to get caught up in the negativity. But we must find hope! I think back to national events in my life time, recalling the race riots of the 60s. There were war protests on college campuses. President Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were all assassinated! Yet, strong leadership and commitment by the people got the U.S. through those tough times.

“If you have a strong commitment to your goals and dreams, if you wake up every day with a passion to do your job, everything is possible.” This quote by Canadian wheelchair racer Chantal Petitclerc, Paralympic Champion and World Record Holder, popped up in my newsfeed. Her inspiring words really hit home tonight, as I truly believe with faith and determination, we will overcome our problems.

Then I thought about how Petitclerc’s words applied to #RealPigFarming. (Yes, it always comes back to pigs with me!) I’m fortunate to work at a job about which I am passionate, but I see so many people just putting in their time. They put in their 8-hour shift, and then they clock out. This lack of work ethic is not unique to the livestock industry, but the consequences are greater. Working with animals takes patience. If you don’t like animals, than this isn’t the job you should have! Those animals needs us to always do the right thing, every day, even when we are worn out

Farming, whether you’re raising crops or livestock, requires dedication. Farming is hard work and the hours are often unpredictable. Sometimes the job just doesn’t end. Passion is what drives us to put in extra time – often times without pay – and to do the right thing when no one is looking. Passion inspires us to do better, to be better. Passion also fuels us to reach our goals and dreams.

Speaking of dreams, what happened to the American dream? Could all the “help wanted” signs in windows and ads in newspapers be the result of a nation filled with people who lack goals, dreams and hope? Even if one of these jobs isn’t your dream job, it’s a place to start as you work your way into other positions with more responsibility.

It’s next to impossible to start farming from scratch, yet we’re seeing a real labor shortage in agriculture. Fruit and vegetable production is especially labor-intensive. Entry-level salaries for agriculture and life sciences graduates remain strong, with positive average salary increases in most sectors of the industry. Agriculture is like any field; you start where you can and work your way up! Are today’s kid being encouraged to dream big and reach to work toward reaching their dreams?

My mind was racing with thoughts as I drove down the road today. I see so much potential in today’s kids, and I have high hopes that this next generation will bring it all back together! Let’s get our schools back to encouraging accomplishment. Let’s encourage kids to pursue their passions help them achieve their full potential!