This year, this week, we start our 103rd year at Kansas Farm Bureau having just finished our business session at our 102nd annual meeting. One hundred and three is a big number and a lot of years. Dare I say no year has been quite like the one we just finished up. Note that I did not say it was our hardest year. It was not even our first pandemic at Kansas Farm Bureau, but it was a year a lot of us would like to move past and put in the rearview mirror.

Yes, there have been harder years in the ag community. Years of more extreme drought, heat, rain or pests. I am sure we have seen years with worse markets and more trying times. Maybe not, bad years and good years are so personal to each of us. If you were touched by COVID-19, 2020 may very well have been your worst year ever, and if that is the case, my heart goes out to you.

My point is 2020 was not a good year, and I am sure that most of us hope that 2021 will be a much better one. The one thing I do know is those of us in agriculture have learned to deal with adversity and keep moving forward. We know how to absorb the blow of a bad year and pick ourselves up and keep, keeping on. That is what we do, that is who we are and that is why agriculture is the backbone of the United States.

What will 2021 look like? Who knows? I have seen long-range forecasts, but I do not put much faith in them. As far as the pandemic goes, we have no idea, even the experts are split on what the next 12 months will look like. But I do know this. We will plant the next crop this spring, we will help new lambs, calves, pigs, goats, chickens and horses come into this world. We will persevere with the faith of a farmer and rancher because that is what we do.

We will go to the field and to the pasture with the same optimism that our parents and grandparents carried with them, even through the toughest of times. I also know Kansas Farm Bureau will be right there alongside us making sure our voices are heard in Washington D.C. and Topeka. That voice is one each of us have a note in, coming up from the grassroots and making sure those of us who feed the world are heard.

No, I had no idea what was ahead of us at this time last year, but we made it through it, and I have no idea what is ahead of us in 2021. We will change and adapt just like we have for the previous 102 years, and we can all be proud knowing that we are part of an organization leading the way when it comes to ensuring our farms and ranches survive and thrive no matter what the year brings.