Nearly every reader of the Knightro report was affected directly or indirectly by the farm crash of the l980’s.
My family and I were personally impacted in such a devastating way that it has negatively affected the rest of our lives. My parents are no longer living, but like yours, you probably can relate to what I’m talking about. There is nothing more painful than seeing someone you love lose everything that they had worked their whole life for. But where there’s love, there’s a way to work through it.
My parents died with dignity, knowing that they had lived the best possible life. Made possible in a way that only farm life can attribute. There is no life that can compare to growing up on a farm. A place where everyone in the family contributes to not only a way of life but to the bottom line — being accountable to one another and everything that happens on the farm is a magical experience.
It becomes a test of faith, a work ethic, and a love connection that weathers every storm and connects every strength. Together, we as a family could not be broken by anything — not even the 80’s.
Ours is not a unique story, as I know that there are similar stories out there. Unfortunately, there is the opposite side of the coin, for which the worst in families was brought forth. Lies perpetuated to the point of not only hurting themselves but everyone else around them – everything from missing collateral to falsiﬁed ﬁnancial statements that affected everybody from the bank to the equipment and feed dealers.
This time around it would be advisable for the banks to see how full those grain bins and feedlots really are. There were government loans on empty grain bins and mortgages on empty feedlots.
But, I’m concerned that we have a generation of producers that have no memory of the 80’s, and bank examiners that aren’t dry behind the ears. What lessons have they learned about how to approach the next downturn?
My Dad never had grain in bins large enough for this to become an issue, nor enough cash to maintain an animal long enough to question his inventory. But because he was cash poor his integrity was never questioned either. To keep things moving he had to keep his livestock moving – thus, his title of livestock dealer/horse trader.
How you kept things moving back on the farm was a personal issue of honor that sustained you through — be it the 30’s or the 80’s. It’s what separates those of us that sustained those hard times.