Jon AngellFrom the Publisher ... Jon Angell

As if there was any doubt about the events impacting Nebraska since we visited last month, once again Mother Nature has demonstrated in her seemingly limitless power that she will ultimately have the last word. To us, it all happened so suddenly and seemingly without precedence. I suspect this is because humanity has such a limited perspective of time and experience. I suspect on nature’s much grander timeline and experience, the weather events and their effects upon the land were unfortunately likely with far more precedence than we realize.

It reminds me that we are here in this life for such a short time. When we leave it behind, the physical marks we made can be wiped away in a blink. I can’t help but think about the destruction that has been brought to engineered assets such as dams and levees compromised, and bridges washed away. The aftermath will be a challenge for many years I suspect to the infrastructure and resources of the State of Nebraska all the way down to thousands of individual families in lost grain bins, barns, homes and such.

Rural infrastructure, whether public or private, is often developed over decades and in some cases generations. Many of these assets no doubt had become essential to making “things work.” The sudden loss of these assets will be long-lasting and farther reaching than we know. It makes me wonder about insurance and the capacity of insurance companies and of the counties and towns affected and what this may do to their funding…. in short what a mess.

It is rare we run with an editorial on our front page, but this month we make an exception for our Missouri Governor. As the floodwaters travel downstream, Gov. Parsons is directing a focus on the priorities of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Management on the nation’s river systems has changed over the years so that flood control is far less important than what many feel is prudent. The disastrous financial impact data that is mounting will strongly favor the Governor’s position to managing floodwaters, but will it be enough? Too often the cost to human life and livelihood lose to an agenda set forth by the zealots of this or that faddish cause of the day or of the recreational or developmental desires of our urban cousins.

Even as I would support more efforts for flood management, it is important to expect the cycle of floods and flooding no matter what the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers does. We can only hope to mitigate and manage some of Mother Nature’s power and fury. She always has the last say in what will happen, to assume otherwise is an example of foolish arrogance of men… didn’t the promoters proclaim the Titanic as a ship that could not sink? Let that not be us.

Locally we hear news that our friends, the Brownings, have sold their livestock market in Palmyra recently. The following is the announcement from F&T Livestock Market’s Keeping Up newsletter that we think is best reprinted in their own words:

Bitter Sweet
I got a little choked up while thinking of what and how to tell this story. So it is with joy, happiness, and sorrow that we tell you our valued customers that after 67 years of owning this market, our family has sold its interest to Al & Katie Dames.

W.L. (Fat) Browning began working at the market in 1945 and purchased an interest in the market in 1952. Then in 1961, Ronnie Browning purchased the remaining interest and he and his father became sole owners. Fat Browning sold his interest to Ronnie and retired in 1978 when they moved to their current location. Under their management, along with some very valuable employees, it became one of the state’s leading livestock markets. Thanks to many great long time employees, auctioneers, in fact some are still with us today, but not only employees, but the list of customers that we have learned so much from over the years, that it would take an entire book to list and each one would come with a story.
We started working as very young children collecting soda bottles, carrying tickets from the auction block to the office, and sandwiches back to the buyers & sellers on sale day. As we got older, we moved into the back of the barn moving sheep, hogs, and veal calves. Then when dad thought we needed more to do, we started cleaning pens and feeding the cattle. In our mid to late teens, we started working with the cattle, sorting, penning, and checking in, and loading out trucks. Throughout the years we have had many great leaders to teach us all the skills and techniques to own and manage this market, from our parents, grandparents to the many valuable employees whose advice and leadership has been ingrained so deeply into us that it seems normal.

As we watched our kids grow up and pursue professions outside of the livestock marketing business, we knew we had a challenge to find someone in the next generation to carry on. Al & Katie and their families have been friends of ours for many years. We will continue to work for Al & Katie over the next several years to help make this transition a smooth one for everyone. We feel we have made the right decision with them and that they will take our heritage to the next level and into the future. We encourage you to give Al a call and meet him and given a chance you will find that we made the right choice with him & Katie.

We sincerely thank each and every one of you, our customers, for the 67 years of fun and learning experiences we have had together.

The Brownings

We want to wish our lifelong livestock marketing friends well in the transition and we very much look forward to getting to know the Al and Katie Dames going forward. We want to welcome their family into the livestock marketing business and the many blessings that are sure to come. As the Brownings have outlined above, we have had a similar experience and fully expect and wish for Dames family to reap many of the same warm sentiments over a lifetime.

My hopes are still set on a renewed and brighter Spring – even though it snowed like crazy only a couple days ago. The hay is all but gone, but the grass is finally awakening. In the mad, busy rush, we thank you for reading and your continued support of our efforts among these pages.