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A time for thanks

By Holly Martin

I enjoy Thanksgiving more than any other holiday. It's a holiday with very few rules. No one cares if you eat lasagna on Thanksgiving. It's OK to spend the holiday with friends or family or both. There is no set of rituals to be followed--you can have your meal at noon or in the evening or at 3 p.m. if that's what works. You simply eat and you enjoy the company of whoever is there.

And I love the mission of the holiday--to give thanks. How many times do I take things for granted that I shouldn't? Every day. But on that one day, I know that I'll do the thankfulness justice.

As I think about the many reasons I have to be thankful, I always remember to give thanks for the opportunity to be involved in agriculture industry. In high school, I remember people asking me what I wanted to do with my life. I knew very little for sure, but I knew that I probably wasn't cut out to be a farmer, but I did love the industry. I wanted to enroll in the college of agriculture; where I went from there was the question.

There are so many reasons why I'm happy I made that decision--many of which I appreciate even more after nearly 20 years of working in agriculture.

Pride. Farmers and ranchers take pride in their work--sometimes to a fault. But they believe in what they do and enjoy knowing that their work truly matters. Each day, people who they have never met reap the rewards of their hard work by nourishing their bodies. Who wouldn't be proud of that? And rightly so.

Determination. I appreciate the resolve of an industry that has changed significantly and rapidly. When many other industries would have thrown their hands up in frustration, agriculture has risen the occasion. We know the challenges continue and we accept them. It's not a matter of "if" the agriculture industry can conquer these tasks, it is only a matter of "when."

Work ethic. No one works harder than the people in the agriculture industry, but it is about more than working hard--it is about working until the job is done, sacrificing sleep and peace of mind.

Passion. Those of us in agriculture love what we do. You only have to look to the "agvocacy" movement in the industry to see example after example of farmers and ranchers who share their passion continually because they want the opportunity to continue on their mission.

And those reasons makes me wonder, do other people in other industries feel the same way? Do they feel fortunate to work with such a fine group of people? Do they believe so much in what they do that they give thanks at their Thanksgiving prayer for the industry that provides for them?

I hope so. For if everyone is as passionate about their job as I know farmers and ranchers are, the world can only be a better place.

Holly Martin can be reached by phone at 1-800-452-7171 ext. 1806, or by email at hmartin@hpj.com.

Date: 11/19/2012

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