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HERd management: There is magic in the New Year

Jennifer Heim Published on 31 December 2013


At the end of each year, we spend hours going over our farm’s finances, meeting with our accountant and preparing our tax documents.



I don’t know a single farmer who enjoys these tasks, but they are a necessary part of running a business. One benefit of this forced period of reflection is the opportunity to take stock of our achievements while also identifying things that we can do differently next year.

Quite a while ago, I read a blog post listing things the author hoped children would learn through helping on the family farm. When I need a little inspiration to get through our year-end business, I think of this post. Or rather, I think of one item on the author’s list: There is magic in the sunrise. For me, the same is true for the New Year.

To my recollection, I’ve only intentionally sat and watched a sunrise once. My husband and I took our honeymoon to Maui, and before our trip I read about how beautiful the sunrise was when viewed from the top of the volcano.

Our first day on the island, we woke up hours before dawn to start our romantic excursion. On the way out of the parking garage, we knocked the mirror off our rental car. After a few moments of discussion, we decided to go anyway.

Thankfully, we were early enough to find a parking space. Apparently a lot of people read about this. There were even tour buses, and those lucky people had jackets. Somehow, I had missed the fact that it is cold at the top of a mountain, even in Hawaii – we were both wearing shorts.


None of this was part of my romantic vision of our first morning in Hawaii as newlyweds watching the sunrise. But despite our shivering, the sunrise was magnificent, and so was the rest of our trip.

These days we get up before the sun nearly every day. I’m not a morning person. Neither is my husband. Each morning, though, usually while chugging coffee, I get the opportunity to literally watch the dawn of another day.

I’ll confess there are days where I certainly don’t view this as a blessing, and many days I’m too preoccupied to even take notice, but even on those days, the sun does rise. When I do take time to pay attention, the moments before the sun breaks the horizon are so quiet and peaceful.

It really is magical. No matter what happened yesterday, the following sunrise is beautiful and unique every time. And if today doesn’t go as planned, the sun will rise again tomorrow.

Sunset over a snowy plain

Just like the sunrise, there is magic in the New Year. It’s a time for reflection, a time to seek new opportunities and a time to establish new goals.


Certainly, in life and in farming, last year wasn’t perfect. Everything did not go exactly as planned, but we made it through the challenges, and now we have a chance to improve.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I used to, but eventually I realized that the last thing I want to do on January 2 is go to the gym with everyone else who hasn’t been to the gym in eight months.

For me, calling something a resolution nearly guarantees that I will not achieve it, but there must be people who succeed or this tradition would cease to exist. I do, however, try to take advantage of this time that seems to mean more than hanging up a new calendar.

On New Year’s Eve much of the country will stay up late and celebrate the clock striking 12.

My husband and I will toast a little earlier so we can wake up early to milk our cows, and hopefully we’ll find time to watch the sun rise on a new day and a new year, prepared to give 2014 our best. How will you make this year better than the last? PD

  • Jennifer Heim

  • Dairy Producer and Engineer
  • Easton, Kansas