The British publication, The Guardian, ranked 274 occupations in 2014 according to how satisfied job-holders rated their occupations. Clergy rated their work as the most satisfying, followed by chief executives and senior business management officials.
When I last wrote about Dan's misuse of alcohol and his family's travail in early September last year, everyone in his family and their children's grandparents were more hopeful than ever for Dan's turnaround. I was also hopeful, but uncertain, because relapses can occur many times for some alcoholics. Everything went well for the family for eight months after Dan's last drunken episode. To celebrate, Dan and Darla planned a private dinner at a fine restaurant in a nearby city for her birthday in mid-January.
Few people are not guilty of procrastination. I'm among the guilty — just ask my wife — but please don't tell her I admitted this. Marilyn knows I put off such tasks as preparing taxes, mowing the lawn and performing jobs around our home and farm that I view of lesser importance than what I prefer to be doing. To her, the jobs I avoid often are paramount in her mind.
Many large and small commercial farm operators in the U.S. and worldwide are struggling to make ends meet currently. The 2017 farming year looks like it could be a "turnaround" year, but there will be casualties among some overly-indebted producers who want to continue farming and will have to cease or restructure significantly in order to keep a foot in agricultural production.
The U.S. Congress is debating whether to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and start over with new legislation, or to fix the shortcomings while continuing its useful parts. When the ACA was implemented in 2010, it was meant to reduce disparities in access to healthcare between rural and urban America, among its many provisions.
On July 24, 1972, Marilyn and I reached a high point in our lives. It was also one of our most dangerous days ever. We had been married only a month. Marilyn already had her master's degree in psychiatric nursing and was serving on the faculty of Weber State University while I was pursuing my doctorate in clinical psychology at the University of Utah. With another married couple and their two teenage sons, we attempted to ascend the highest point in Utah, Kings Peak, at 13,527 feet in elevation.
A thoughtful friend who is moving on determinedly after her farmer-husband died of suicide several years ago told me recently how moments of contemplative silence speak loudly to her about her life's purposes. "Silence," she says, "offers us teachable moments." Her insights taught me much while I assisted her with her devastating loss, and continue to inspire me whenever we communicate. I am sharing several of her insights, and a few of mine, about what may help all of us to find direction in our lives during rough—and also good—times.
A January 2017 article, "Getting Ready for Farm Loan Renewal" by Tina Barrett in the University of Nebraska publication, Crop Watch, prompted me to write this addition to the ongoing Farm and Ranch Life series about how current farm financial stress affects agricultural producers and what we can do to work our way through difficult times.
Farm economists and lenders last October estimated that about 20 percent of farmers would have difficulty paying annual farm operating and/or long-term loan obligations which are due this year. The emails and phone calls I have received lately bear out their estimates. Farming overall is in a recession. Specialized producers with ready customers for their goods, wealthy producers with cash reserves, and still others are faring satisfactorily.
During the past two weeks, I received four requests for assistance with farm economic uncertainty. Two inquiries came from farmers with grave concerns about their financial situations; another came from a Farm Service Agency loan officer and one came from a farm business accountant. I can't offer as much advice as I would like to these requesters, for the U.S. economy overall is in unfamiliar territory, with a new president and Congress still figuring out agendas and roles. Planning a new federal farm bill also contributes unknowns to their deliberations.