In an unusual year, farmers found gratitude in the familiar things. Despite all the challenges caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, work in the fields and pastures provided a sense of normalcy for many farmers.
Some farmers saw dry conditions that affected yields and limited forage growth, although for many farmers it was a successful year with some good yields.
Jay Schutte is the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council chairman and farms at Benton City, in Audrain County. He expressed thanks for this growing season and harvest.
“First, I’m thankful we had a safe and very productive farm year,” he says.
Also, Schutte and other farmers appreciated the bump in prices during harvest months.
“Second, I’m thankful we’ve had some very good pricing opportunities,” he says.
The fall months also saw the coronavirus spread to rural communities in greater numbers, and many rural Missouri counties that had largely been spared from the pandemic have seen increasing numbers in recent weeks.
Schutte says he is hopeful about the news on a vaccine.
“Lastly, I’m thankful there has been progress in the development of a vaccine for COVID-19,” he says.
Health was also top of mind for Gary Wheeler, executive director and CEO of the Missouri Soybean Association and Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council.
“I am thankful for heath … my health and my family’s health, as well as across our organization and our state,” Wheeler says. While COVID is impacting so much, we are all still very blessed and for that I am thankful.”
For many farmers across the state, the simple, everyday things are a source of thankfulness. The timing of Thanksgiving at or near the end of harvest provides a good time for farmers to celebrate and be grateful.
Robert Alpers, who farms in Cooper County, says he is thankful for a “healthy family and good harvest.”
Missouri farmers appreciate getting to share the good times and frustrations of the business with their fellow farmers, with friends and with family.
Mitchell Rice, who farms in Chariton and Randolph counties, says he is thankful for his family.
“There are many things that I am thankful for,” he says. “First, is my beautiful wife, Andrea, and our three lovely daughters, Isabell, Abigail and Elizabeth. Without them I would not be the man I am today. I’m thankful for the rest of my family and being able to be a part of their lives.”
Like a lot of farmers, Rice is thankful for a good harvest but also enjoys looking ahead with optimism. He also credited his faith.
“I am thankful for new opportunities, a bountiful harvest and, most importantly, my Lord and Savior. Without him, I would have none of the things listed above,” he says.
There is always uncertainty making a living off the land, but farmers are hopeful for good prices, good yields, good times, looking ahead to the payoffs for their hard work. Ronnie Russell, who farms near Richmond and serves as president of the Missouri Soybean Association, says he is grateful to be a part of it.
“I am thankful for my health, family and country,” he says. “And as a farmer, I’m thankful for the opportunity to be part of the agricultural industry.”