There are a lot of things that make life uniquely special. None are more important than your personal relationships with God, your spouse and family, and having healthy and happy kids, and good friends. Everyone has personal goals or benchmarks for true success. For me, I've always wanted a horse pretty enough to turn the heads of "true" horsemen. I also aspire, over the course of my lifetime, to build a quality cowherd.

That said it's hard not to be thankful when you measure things on the basis of what's truly important. On the temporal front, beef demand has continued to hold its own, despite massive red-meat supplies this year. Export markets are reopening, and one has to feel pretty darned good about it all.

Still, a large part of the country is mired in an extended drought. Many of us can relate to the emotional toll that accompanies times when rain becomes an all-consuming thought that affects and rewrites every management decision you make. There are times when only a rain will do.

Cattle prices, demand, grain prices and the like have made things manageable. But it's frustrating that such weather-related factors come at a time when what should have been a bonanza is transformed into just something bearable.

It's the reason market analysts consistently have erred in predicting the expansion phase of this cattle cycle -- everything's been in place but Mother Nature has refused to cooperate.

Here's hoping that, if you need it, rain is on the way. I'm not a believer in global warming, but if I get offered very average hay at $100/ton again next year, I may end up in that camp.
-- Troy Marshall