Besides friends, family and all the little things I'm thankful to have in my life, there's been one thing that's always been there for me. From the show cows that gave me confidence in the show ring to the amazing people that have made me feel like family no matter how far from home I was. I'm most thankful to be involved in agriculture.
Agriculture is a lifestyle for less than two percent of Americans, but don't let that statistic fool you. Ag has a big impact on this country. First of all, what would the holidays (and in particular, Thanksgiving) be without good food and family recipes? None of that would be possible without farmers or everyone that has a job a step or two removed from the farm.
Besides farmers, agriculture impacts so many people. In the dairy industry, that includes the people that work with milk marketing cooperatives to help farmers produce a high-quality product to the milk haulers that also never get a day off to state and federal inspectors who ensure the milk supply continues to be safe to those working at the processing plant to make cheese, yogurt and other dairy foods. Add those folks to the many that work in retail selling those delicious dairy products and many, many more. Not to mention all of the people who enjoy dairy products and other food on a daily basis. Agriculture touches so many lives every day and it makes a difference.
Farmers are some of the nicest folks you'll ever meet. Moving across the nation and starting over (many times) is scary and I'd be lying if I said it was easy (although it does get a little easier every time). Having dairy friends nearby (thank you, ADSA!) no matter where I lived made all the difference. I love being in an industry where colleagues become friends that feel like family. It makes everything so much fun.
The dairy industry is complex, things are always changing and there's always so much more to learn. That's what I love about it (besides for the cows and people). There's always a challenge.
The Indiana ag community is special. In fact, it took moving away from it for me to realize this (better late than never, right?). Everyone in the Hoosier ag industry works together in a way that I hadn't seen anywhere else in the nation. I'm thankful that I got to move back and be a part of that in 2014. It has been such a good year and I certainly have a lot to be thankful for, including the many people who never gave up on me and helped me get back here. Although I didn't know how good I had it when I was in Indiana before, I definitely know it now and never take it for granted. Today is a good day to reflect on that.
Hope you all had a great day with family today!