It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of change, especially huge, life-changing change thrust upon me by outside forces. I can deal with it much better if it’s part of a plan gradually implemented for which I can give an opinion or have choices.
I have been very upset – over the top, beyond all reason upset – this year about changes developers and the city have made and continue to make on and around my property.
There is a new street where I’ve had a dead end for 22 years. I’ll have a special tax assessment to pay for a part of it.
Between the street and my house is a new section of the city’s hike-bike trail. Its construction required removal of my privacy hedge (a mess of a thing, but still good for privacy), changes in my lawn sprinkler system and new sod that I’m watering daily to ensure it gets a good start going into winter.
I’ll get a 4-foot chain link fence built in the next few weeks. Because the contractors were so late in paving the trail, I’ll wait now until spring to plant a new hedge and maybe an additional backyard tree to restore some privacy.
I’ve complained about this a lot to anyone who would listen.
After visiting some of my friends near my hometown of Wilcox, about 25 miles southwest of Kearney, this week for harvest-related stories that ran in the Weekend Hub, I feel ashamed.
On June 14, a terrible windstorm went through a lot of south-central Nebraska, with Wilcox and the surrounding farms hit particularly hard. Grain bins were destroyed just three months before the harvest season and hundreds of pivot irrigation systems were tossed, bent and flipped just weeks before the most critical part of the growing season.
Mother Nature helped by proving a relatively wet Nebraska summer. The pivot dealers and their crews did amazing work in restoring irrigation service to farm fields that still had crops – there also were terrible hailstorms this summer that destroyed may cornfields – and some farmers and grain elevators were able to get new bins built.
Still, the costs, labor and worry involved in all that are enormous.
One of my Wilcox friends lost all of his on-farm storage. Every big blue Harvestore silo, every steel bin, everything.
He has a bagger to put his 2014 corn into long plastic bags as a temporary solution. With corn prices around $3 per bushel, well below the cost of production, the bags will preserve some of his marketing options so he doesn’t have to sell it right out of the field at a loss.
James said starting from scratch on his storage has a silver lining. He and his son can consider what they want the future of their farm to be and plan accordingly.
He and the other farmers who lost so much and still face so many big decisions about their futures have amazing attitudes. James said no one moped around after the storm, because rural Nebraska folks just aren’t that way. His neighbor talked about “cowboying up” and getting back on the horse.
I hope their positive attitudes linger in my mind whenever I start to complain about the minor changes in my life.
Our NFPW President Teri Ehresman is planning some strategic planning time at our spring 2015 board meeting. We need to do that, but had to put it on hold in recent years as we focused on developing online professional and high school contests, a really big change for NFPW.
I vow to keep an open mind and try to make some worthy suggestions next spring when change is in the air and on the table.