All of us in this business are constantly in meetings or attending trade shows. Many times we whine about travel, being tired, and the endless schedule of meetings. BUT have we stepped back, looked at them and figured out the best of these events and the opportunities for learning?

October found me on the road (and in the air) for several events – none related. When I was finally traveling home on October 29, I put some of these learnings in perspective.

  1. Most of the attendees at shows and meetings come with an eagerness to learn. It may be in the questions they ask, the booths they visit, or the conference sessions they attend but they are seeking information.
  2. Southwest has become my favorite airline and yes I’m not ashamed to admit it. There are several reasons for this but mostly it’s the people. They actually seem to enjoy their jobs. On a recent trip I ended up on three different airlines, so lots of opportunity for comparisons and Southwest was the definite winner.
  3. There are so many smart people in this country! And we all have the opportunity to learn from them. One of my trips was to the World Dairy Expo for one of our clients, Novus International. Their staff has so much education and experience – it’s scary. But yet they are so patient to teach me and answer all my less than stellar questions.
  4. This is really smart people Part 2! At the US Animal Health Association, all 50 states send their veterinarian staffs along with many USDA veterinarians and researchers plus industry veterinarians. So much knowledge in one spot can be overwhelming to a lay person. Again, patience for us was abundant.
  5. This country is gorgeous. I drove from northwest Iowa to Madison, Wisconsin, and back and the view is spectacular. Another trip took me to Washington, DC and who can look at the Capitol or any of the monuments and not be impressed? From there I traveled to Providence, Rhode Island, and New England has a beauty and flavor all its own. Our country has been blessed with the abundance in all of these areas and all of it so different!
  6. Agriculture was the reason for all of my very different trips. I am so blessed to be involved in an industry that is so diverse and yet so much the same. Whether I was talking to a producer, Congressman, or animal health official, it’s obvious every one of us was proud to be a part of feeding the world – no matter what our role.
  7. Agriculture is truly an international business. This was evident in all of my trips this past month. Feeding people all over the world, fueling part of this country and making clothing and other necessities is not just for our neighborhood, state, or US but everywhere!
  8. While agriculture is a global business, it still boils down to relationships. This is evident in all segments of our industry. Whether it is a one-on-one sales discussion or finding the best researcher world-wide for a foreign animal disease, it’s still all about the people and who they know.
  9. I need new luggage! This observation is strictly personal but holy cow the variety and types of luggage these days is very extensive. Now if I could figure out which kind will roll itself to my room and more importantly lift itself in and out of the many places I put it!
  10. I am one of the luckiest people I know. Traveling to all these places, working with great people – both here at HMG and at the events, learning more at each event, and still going home to a great family, farm and
    community – yep I’m just lucky!

As we head into shorter days, huge plans for 2016, and many activities, I hope to reflect on all these lessons I’ve learned and the many more coming at me.

HMG Heartbeat




Ann’s grandson, Ethan, and his class presented an “informance” at their school this month and their theme was gratitude. The second graders sang an infectious tune called, “I’ve Got a Gratitude Attitude” and in it they asked, “What are you grateful for?”

We’re prone to thinking and over-thinking about the negative in our lives leaving little brain power for counting our blessings. When you cultivate a gratitude attitude, you will find it empowers and uplifts you, enabling you to achieve your goals.

Author Adam Toren wrote about gratitude in a post at and he suggests a gratitude attitude inspires three game-changing shifts.

  1. Gratitude shifts your mindset
  2. Gratitude creates solutions
  3. Gratitude is contagious!

All three of these changes are the result of escaping negative thinking for positive and making the change because you intentionally acknowledge the good with gratitude. Shifting to a gratitude attitude affects every aspect of your life as you take control and escape a defeating problem mindset.

So Ethan and his classmates asked, “What are you grateful for?” Here are the blessings shared by all of us at HMG.


  1. My family including granddaughter, Lucy
  2. My faith
  3. Our HMG team


  1. Good health personally and for my family
  2. Peace, joy, and contentment
  3. The promise of new adventures


  1. My niece and nephews (family)
  2. My close friendships
  3. Music


  1. My husband
  2. My family
  3. My community

This Thanksgiving season, go out and infect as many people as you can with a gratitude attitude and watch joy multiply!


One of our customers is Farmers Coop Association in north central Iowa and General Manager Randy Broesder has been in the grain business for 30 years. He believes this will be the largest harvest he sees in his career.

As you drive around the Midwest, you see evidence supporting Randy’s statement with large outdoor piles of corn as well as constant movement of grain on our roadways and rail lines. The length of the harvest season is another indicator of the volume being handled.

The USDA weekly crop report said, “By November 1, producers had harvested 85 percent of this year’s corn crop. By week’s end (November 7), 92 percent of the soybean crop was harvested.” The conclusion of this record year is in sight.

Are the results of 2015 an anomaly or the new normal? How do you use this year’s results to make decisions for 2016?

Every plan – whether for grain marketing, seed decisions, financial planning, or communications strategies – must take into account both the recent and historical information available. Celebrate the success experience in 2015 and look ahead with optimism while armed with multi-year averages and a healthy dose of pragmatism.

We’re glad to know one thing – it’s much easier to look ahead with a positive mindset when your vantage point is from a record-setting production year.


Barb recently attended the US Animal Health Association Annual Conference in Rhode Island.

Jen and her new husband, Todd, were married on October 31 in Denison then spent their honeymoon in Colorado. Congratulations to the couple!

The Final Forty (miles) of statewide four-lane US 20 are programmed and will be built by the end of 2018. Iowa DOT will hold an event marking this milestone on November 17 in both Fort Dodge and Sioux City.

Congressman Steve King’s campaign held their annual Col. Bud Day Pheasant Hunt on opening weekend – it was a record crowd of hunters, media, and presidential candidates! Barb prepared lunch for everyone Saturday featuring amazing smoked pork loin.

Women in Denim will be held in January 2016. Barb and the committee are deep into planning and Katie is making the brochure for the event look great!


As we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, we will observe the following schedule.

November 26 – closed
November 27 – closed

We hope you have a joyful holiday spent with loved ones with a gratitude attitude!