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Roy Smith: Year in review

What a difference a year makes! Last year at this time I was shoveling out from one of the numerous snow storms of the season. I was worried because my bins were piled high with corn that was a little too wet to store into the summer. This year the corn is dry. Unfortunately the bins are not full. Last year on this date the temperature had already been below zero. Today it is short sleeve weather. The weather man promises cold weather soon.

I came very close to losing two grain bins from the weight of snow last winter. It seemed as if every time I went outside to fix something, I found two more things that were broken from the bad weather. Electric motors, motor controls and wiring do not like to be covered with snow.

I was able to haul corn whenever the weather cleared for a few days, so my fears of spoiled corn proved to be unfounded. In fact, when I finally finished delivering corn the moisture level had dropped just from running air on it most of the winter.

The 2010 soybean yields were the historic best for my farm. The corn yields were not so good. When multiplied by the prices, the year turned out good from a financial standpoint. Since I cut back to a retirement level of farming in 2004, I have tried to keep my cost of repairs and new purchases to around $10,000. Repairing the snow damage unfortunately made that goal not realistic.\

In addition, this year my ten year old lawn mower proved to be not up to the task of mowing the five acres of lawn around my home and buildings. Replacing a mower with that capacity cost me more than the first tractor I bought in 1969 when I began farming. These added expenses made my year end profit picture not as good as I had hoped, considering the big 2009 crop that was marketed in 2011.

Harvest went well and was finished early. The repaired bins and new equipment worked well in comparison to last year’s nightmare. Most farmers in my area got all of the field work done that had been planned. I finished up the paperwork that needs to be done at year end on Tuesday of this week.

Those of you who have been to one of my marketing meetings know that I have struggled with being hearing impaired for ten years. Nothing I did helped to correct the problem until a few weeks ago. I recently purchased a device through a mail order catalog that promised to help me hear conversations better. It is about the size of a deck of cards. I carry it in my pocket. A wire leads to an ear bud which I wear in my good ear. I have only had it for a short time, but it is by far the most effective aid I have ever used. I went to my audiologist this week to have my hearing tested. She was not pleased that I was using my new “aid”. She insisted that I should try a new hearing aid that costs more than 20 times the pocket device. I said that I would think it over! 

Our daughters and their families spent Christmas with the in-laws so we have not celebrated the holiday yet. We plan to do that on New Year’s day if the weather cooperates. Our grand kids are ages 11, 10, 9 and 4. They are at the age where they change fast and are a lot of fun to be around. Sharon and I are making plans for our golden wedding anniversary which will be held on June 5, 2011. We are looking forward to a unique celebration and seeing a lot of old friends.   

Happy New Year. ….Roy

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