What a whirlwind two weeks! Seems like my head is spinning and I’m still behind on my list of tasks to complete. Here’s a glimpse of what I’ve been up to!
After my last post we jumped into the week with our annual safety meeting all about what to do in an emergency, where to meet, who to call and a whole host of other great things to remember around our operation. Our crew is our family and we never want a hangnail much less anything more serious to occur. I know it seems boring and tedious but during an emergency it’s hard to remember what to do as your adrenaline starts racing. I pray we never need these skills but I hope by reviewing them something will become second nature.
We have conducted our annual employee performance reviews. I can say with great confidence we have the best row crop crew in the business. They all work hard for the team and have vast knowledge of how to seed, weed, feed and harvest the crops we grow. When new technologies or techniques come around they are early adopters. It’s fun to work with great people. In fact between the different personalities they each keep us entertained too! I think we could have an entertaining reality farm TV show!!
Thanks to my peer group for guidance and feedback about these winter tasks. We met in early January. It is an awesome group of women to have my back!
I worked hard to complete our year-end accrual balance sheets and get all the proper information to our Ag lender by the second week in January. This is a major job in my opinion. I have all sorts of check and double checks when it comes to preparing this information. I believe it’s important to always have the same year-end date to be able to compare “apples to apples” so to speak. This way the financial ratios help to tell the story of the strength or weakness of our operation. You can see trends and work to improve areas you need to improve.
It can be overwhelming to borrow the amount of funds needed to operate a row crop farm from year to year. It certainly takes some time to grow accustomed to the number of zeros involved. After 25 years I suppose I am numb to the amounts that once caused slight paralysis for my brain! But that total is always there in the back of my mind with each problematic weather event, drop in market prices or tariffs employed by our government.
Farmer educational meetings are all the rage during January and February. I had the privilege of moderating a session at the Soil and Water Educational Conference at Arkansas State University. Very interesting information and I always love when farmers talk about their experiences. It just makes it feel real to hear from them.
The highlight of the last two weeks were two collegiate visits for our son! He has decided to study agriculture but still is unsure of which college he would like to attend. I will say that the two colleges really put on a great recruiting effort. It has been fun to watch him think through his options and make a decision.
It would be my nature to just push him in the direction I would want him to go. As a Mom it’s been tough to sit back and let him take the lead. But I am glad Greg and I have done just that. This is a decision that will affect the rest of his life and we have tried to offer all the tools and information for him to choose. He is close to making a choice and I feel like I know the way he will go. If I am correct, I think he is making the best choice for him and that makes my heart smile. My college years were some of the best times of my life and I enjoyed every minute. That’s all I want for him too!
Now I did have some serious fun during the last weekend of January!! I am a huge Eric Church fan and he started his Double Down tour in January. My Eric Church road trip friend and I traveled to St. Louis to see him on night 2 in that city. We also have tickets to two more shows on this tour!! His tour consists of two nights in each city, hence the name Double Down. He has no opening acts and his concert is simply 4 hours of him singing. He also has an extraordinary singer that is on his albums with him named Joanna Cotten. She was born in Memphis but grew up in Forrest City so she is an Arkansan! She has a voice that won’t quit and pairs well with Eric. He writes all his own songs and even talks about hard subjects that resonate with good ole down to Earth hard-working folks like me. One of my favorites on his new album is titled Drowning Man.
“We put the smoke in the stack; Put the seed in the ground; While Lady Liberty turns her back; and Uncle Sam just turns around.”
This verse hit home for me and many other farmers. The 2018 crop season was a tough one. Harvest was the most difficult I have ever experienced. We began the year with over $10.00 per bushel soybeans and fell below $8.00 due to the trade war with China. It really felt like Uncle Sam just turned around…
Is January a crazy time for your business or farming operation? I would love to know what challenges you face this time of year. I am looking up to have an exceptional 2019 crop year! Who is with me?