As the year ends, it brings a sense of closure for all that has transpired within the dairy industry during the past 12 months. We’ve seen higher than normal farm-gate milk prices coupled with record-breaking feed and fuel costs. Who would have ever thought corn would be more than $9 and wheat would be $4.50? And now diesel is $3.65 per gallon locally! What seems constant are the inconsistencies and the unexplained variables in the milk price/feed cost ratio.

As we reflect on the changes within the industry it has caused me to sit back and take a look at the changes within our company, Progressive Dairy Publishing. Going from an Idaho-only dairy newsletter to four national publications doesn’t happen overnight. We learned long ago that to reach those business goals, you can’t do it alone. The key is to surround yourself with professionals who are better than you are at a given task. The additions of competent and committed personnel in the editorial, sales, design and support staff have been important. They are an enthusiastic, fun bunch to be around, and they are performance-driven.

I remember a few years ago arriving early one morning on a distant dairy to take photos of some covered freestalls. As I was about to leave, the owner came over and invited me to join his family for breakfast in their home. As was their custom, we all knelt in family prayer prior to eating. One of the sons prayed, thanking God for the blessings they had and in petitioning for the blessings of the day. He also asked for their cows to be healthy and productive. I thought to myself, “How wonderful! How sensitive to care enough to pray not only for family members but also for the health and well-being of the creatures sustaining this large family.” That choice experience reinforced my belief that indeed dairymen are the salt of the earth and reverence their Creator.

The nativity scene once again draws us to the reason for the season. I revere the scriptures and am in awe of the many beautiful prophecies pertaining to the miraculous birth of the Babe of Bethlehem, even Jesus Christ, the Son of God. One of my favorite scriptures about this wondrous event are the words of Christ himself. He said to an ancient prophet, “Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfill all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets” (3 Nephi: 1:13).

Jane and I are leaving the company in the competent hands of our sons, Alan and Glen. We knew this time would eventually come and have been gradually relinquishing control to them the past five years. We have been blessed sufficient for our needs, and now it’s payback time. By the time you read this we will be living in Santiago, Chile, serving a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.


We’re looking forward to this assignment, and at this season, we petition the God of Heaven to abundantly bless dairy families everywhere. And to bless their cows, too. PD