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From the Board Room

Shane Sickler, SWG Producer Board President

Hello SWG friends and producers,

I will start by saying winter is not over!  I am writing this on February 6, and we are being reminded by Mother Nature that it is still February and snow is on its way back!

January had to be the most roller coaster month of weather that we have experienced in many years.  Starting the new year off in the 40’s to hitting record low temps and wind chills by the second week of the month to tie & break many all-time records.  Yikes, brrr and ouch!  Temps like that hurt anything that tries to move.  It is amazing how cattle, wildlife, and other animals can bear the knife-cutting temps that spear us to the bone. Then two weeks later we are all sporting tee-shirts in the 60+ degree spring-like weather!  I was looking up old wives’ tales and folklore on if weather trends like this January could even be predicted.  Meteorologists from way back and farmers that follow the weather patterns could predict the severity of a winter, but not a swing like we had that month!  We all remember and know the talk about the onion peels, but that typically has to do with moisture amount month by month and needs to be done over New Years.  As farmer and ranchers, we always need to be prepared for the changes Mother Nature lays in front of us to dictate our strategy for the day and year ahead.

On to other “business”… Thank you to all producers for the past year of business you brought to SWG.  From the beginning of the year selecting and purchasing your needs, to getting the planting season started, the use of the agronomy staff in helping you pick plant nutrients, your seed selection and crop protection, to getting your grain to the local elevators.  All of this keeps the spring and summer busy and especially the calm days of spraying, which has become the new recreational sport of farmers.  It seems to take the place of a golf outing or an evening baseball game.  But that grain bin full of the year’s production is always a good feeling to experience!  We do not want to forget those farmers and ranchers that did not get to experience that feeling with the lack of moisture and long dry periods resulting in a below average yield and a higher percentage of cows that did not breed back.  We can, and should, thank the cattle industry in helping ranchers receive a nice price for calves and feeders they sold in the last few months.  It was a well-deserved victory for the battle ranchers have fought to get a rewarding return for their hard efforts.  Thank you for choosing SWG for all your feed, supplements, and vet supplies throughout this past year.

The days are going fast, the daylight is getting longer, and that great season of calving is knocking at the door of ranchers around the countryside.  The many years of our March calving season brings back many memories of snow and cold and all-night checks.  Let’s not forget the wet straw too.  One day, pens are all bedded down with a dry fluffy layer of straw just to have to go out and fork it all again the following day!  Ah the daily routine of spreading fresh straw… I cannot wait! Haha!  I have to say that the March calving season would not be complete without basketball games to watch weekend after weekend!  With a 3 Class Division this year, and including the girls’ games, we have basketball almost all month!  Throw in College basketball with March Madness and we have lots of enjoyable games to look forward to as they battle through the brackets to the Final Four and Championships.  The talent those men and women display on the court is always something to watch.

As we go into the 2024 season on our farms and ranches, SWG staff and employees in all our departments are looking forward to helping you with all your needs.  As the years go by, our operations change, planting intentions & commodity prices fluctuate, but SWG is ready to accommodate those changes to help you achieve the goals you set for the new year.

In closing, I know I may talk about the weather a lot, but I think there are three things that influence our day-to-day decisions in all our operations: Family, health, and weather.  As farmers and ranchers, if you are blessed with good health and a happy family, your day-to-day activities, whether it be working with livestock or in the race to get crops planted and harvested, we live in an industry that is totally dictated by the weather!  We have to love it!  We cannot nor should not dwell on last year, but instead, be ready to start a new season with hope and love for success.

Here is to a great season in 2024!  Be safe calving and planting and take time to enjoy the signs of spring.  Be sure to thank all the people in your lives and operations for their continued support and the helping hand they offer.  And do not forget to take care of each other!

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