It’s harvest time in Nebraska and across the entire breadbasket of America.

It is my favorite time of the year because it features such wonderful things as cool weather that is not too cold to make outdoor activities miserable, the beautiful colors of the gold and red leaves, baseball’s World Series, football season, and my traditional home-based week off from work to get caught up on at least a few things.

However, it mostly is about the harvest. One of the early lessons of life when you grow up on a farm is that most, if not all, of a family’s income for the year depends on avoiding bad weather and other perils of a growing season, being able to harvest a good-yielding crop, and then selling it for more than the cost of inputs.

Harvest is both a celebration and a worry most years. Farmers work long hours around big, dangerous machinery as they hurry to get grain in the bins before the snow flies.

This year’s worries for many south-central Nebraska farm families are that thousands of acres of corn and soybeans were damaged or destroyed by wind and hail storms over the summer, many on-farm storage bins also were destroyed, and the low spot price for corn, at just above $3, won’t pay the bills.

Without risk management tools – crop and building insurance, and a marketing plan to contract grain for delivery during non-harvest months to get a better price – almost no one will make any money this year. Those things are in place on most farms just because no one can stay in business over the long haul without them.

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I also think of my farmer dad and brother whenever I pass a field where a combine is running through the cornstalks and there is the distinctive smell of corn in the air. Harvest was their crowning achievement every October, the farmer equivalent of an Oscar or an Emmy for a job well done.

In other “fields,” fall also is planting time.

Membership renewal forms will be sent out soon to National Federation of Press Women members as a reminder to pay dues for 2015. It also should be a reminder for all of us to recruit at least one new member.

Planting such seeds – getting new members started and growing along with us – is the only way NFPW or any organization can be sustainable.

Add some punch to your membership sales pitch by encouraging new members to enter our two-tiered online contest, attend an affiliate meeting or even take a trip of lifetime next September to attend the 2015 NFPW Conference in Alaska.

A paid membership would make a wonderful Christmas gift for someone special who is involved in a field of professional communications and would benefit from our contest, conference and/or website-accessible workshops and seminars, and the great networking.

It’s a gift I’ve been giving to myself at harvest time for the past 36 years.

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