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Thanksgiving ham iStock/Getty Images Plus/Veselova Elena

Make America grateful again

I wish more people would realize how great we have it here, and to be thankful for what we all have.

Every day we should count our blessings, but this week in particular as we hopefully gather with family and friends for Thanksgiving.

I know I have a lot to be thankful for this year.

Family and friends

Hopefully, this is at the top of everybody’s’ list. Every day I thank the good Lord for my family, near and far. I would be nothing if it weren’t for my wife, daughters, son-in-law and son-in-law-to-be. Of course, I would be even less if it weren’t for my parents and older brother, as well as all the others who came before me to make me who I am. I am a mere product of the culmination of a lot of genetic gifts from my parents, grandparents and before.

Of course, the extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins also completes what I have become, and for that I thank you all.

A lot of people are fortunate to have a core group of friends who are almost like extended family, and I am one such person. Some of these friends have been with me for most of this wild ride, while others have come and gone. Through this great industry, I have had the great fortune to cross paths with many whom I now consider colleagues and friends.

Health

The human body is an amazing thing. For as many moving parts as there are in our anatomy, and all of the possible maladies that one can get, it’s amazing that any of us can get through life unscathed. Other than the common ailments of a middle-aged man, I am lucky to be fairly healthy, and I count my blessings every single day that I am still able to count my blessings every single day.

Shelter

Living in the Upper Midwest, especially during winter, it is good to have a roof over your head and walls around your sides. It pains me to watch the news and see stories of tent cities in our American metro areas where homeless people gather as a community. That prompts an entirely different discussion for another day in a different forum.

It’s human nature to remind ourselves how fortunate we actually are when we see the misfortunes of others.

Work

I have been fortunate to have always had close ties with agriculture, growing up on a hog-corn-soybean farm. Though my farming career ended when I graduated from the South Dakota State University, I have had great opportunities to work in journalism that have kept me tied to agriculture, and for the last four-plus years tied more closely with the pork industry.

It is with great gratitude that I appreciate all of the individuals who I have crossed paths with in this industry. Even with all the issues this industry faces, it is still one of the best around, and that starts with the innovative, trustworthy and friendly producers, veterinarians, researchers and other industry leaders. I thank you all for welcoming me into the fold and trusting National Hog Farmer to help tell the industry stories.

I am also grateful for the work done by these wonderful people. They sacrifice family time and struggle through whatever elements God throws their way to care for the livestock in their barns to produce a wholesome, healthy product for the global consumer. They do this all the while getting barraged by efforts to put them out of business whether it be from environmental groups, consumer groups, animal rights activists or Texas lawyers. The U.S. pork industry is well-armed to fight the good fight to keep telling our story and producing great pork. (That’s another thing I am so thankful for, great pork!)

Good ol’ USA

We did it; we all survived the mid-term elections. Now with the elections and nasty campaigning over, I will be thankful if we can get past all of the negativity and get back to being the great country that we are. I don’t have the luxury of a lot of international travel, but when I have, I have been grateful to return to this great country.

Even with all the issues facing our industry and our country as a whole, I am still thankful that my forefathers decided to make the journey to America. I just wish more people would realize how great we have it here, and to be thankful for what we all have.

There is a fine line between being thankful and wishing for more, but that’s for a different season, and maybe I’ll touch on that next month. In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving to all, and I hope your list of gratitude is long.

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