We have all heard the expression, "Some things never change," but I have never seen a thing that did not change.
Technology changes so fast that it is difficult to keep up at times. The weather, the road conditions, soil moisture, crop conditions, crop outlooks, what crops we plant, what kind of cattle we raise, the state of the economy, and a host of things that impact our lives change all the time.
Even people change. Have you noticed a more positive attitude in many of our rural communities? I have. Many communities which once accepted gradual population decline as an unchangeable trend are turning that around.
More of our rural communities will do so during this new year. Unimagined progress and improvement will be made in many aspects of rural life. New business will begin. New ideas will be explored. New people will arrive.
Not everyone believes that. There are always some doubters and naysayers in every crowd. But they are few. I don't enjoy listening to them. I listen politely with my ears, but I try not to take to heart what they say. I take to heart the voices of progress, improvement and optimism.
I believe things will improve, because optimism, like all attitudes, is contagious. Many have it. Many more will get it.
Also, I believe the leaders of our state and your community will succeed where others have failed, when they have a passion for what they are doing. When the people of a community care deeply about its future and spread their optimism, anything is possible.
There is a third reason to be optimistic about the new year. We are surrounded in South Dakota by a great natural abundance of fertile land, clean air and pure water. When you add the strong belief and work ethics of our people to those natural resources, only the imagination limits what we can achieve.
I am always positive about the start of a new year, just as I am about the start of a new day. The quiet of early morning is my favorite time to contemplate the blessings I have and the opportunities that will come with the new day.
I view the arrival of a new year in much the same way. My hope for you is that you will too.
Together we can meet any challenge, overcome any obstacle, pass any test, build any dream and best of all enjoy every minute of it, because we care about what we are doing.
May your new year be filled with hope and faith that better things are just around the corner.
Happy New Year to all!