Don't worry about the mules

For the most part, those in agriculture have been good about loading the wagons, but once in awhile, we can lose our focus and start to worry about the mules. Let’s take a look at some examples.

Muddy ground with standing water
You might not be able to control when you can get into the field to plant, but you can control if you're ready when the day comes, Myron Friesen says.
Agweek file photo
We are part of The Trust Project.

Recently, the Kansas Jayhawks Men’s Basketball Team won the NCAA basketball championship. Their long-time coach is Bill Self. After they won the championship game, he shared in an interview that this was a special year for him because his Dad had passed away this year and he honored his Dad by the way he coaches and motivates his team. His Dad’s motto was, "Don’t worry about the mules. Just load the wagon." He meant, don’t worry about all the things you can’t control. Just do your job and it will improve the chances of things turning out well.

For the most part, those in agriculture have been good about loading the wagons, but once in awhile, we can lose our focus and start to worry about the mules. Let’s take a look at some examples.

myron friesen.png
Myron Friesen

Right now, the weather is not exactly favorable to an early planting season. So should we leave the planter in the corner of the shop and not check it over and get it ready? Or should we have it checked over, hooked up to a tractor full of fuel and ready to go out the door?

Right now, the commodity markets seem like they could make 2022 a very profitable year and there are some great marketing opportunities right in front of us. Yes, I know full well that fertilizer prices are up, and equipment prices are up, but who are we kidding? Seven-dollar corn pays a lot of bills this year. So do we just keep loading the wagon, marketing wisely and making good decisions with what we know now, or do we worry about the mules?

Right now, we know the war overseas is not good. The loss of life and the destruction is brutal. So do we crawl in a hole or do we keep praying for peace?


Right now, land prices have skyrocketed once again. Do we worry about not being able to buy any more land or do we build a rock-solid plan to keep and pass on what we have?

Right now, you may have a child or children with a marriage problems. Do you fret about the crazy spouse that your own child picked out or do you put a plan in place that will address that issue?

Right now, the federal and state governments seem unpredictable with estate tax laws, but there are tools like trusts, LLCs, insurance, generation-skipping trusts, charitable trusts, buy/sell agreements, contracts, and options to buy or rent that can all be used. Don’t worry about the mules; keep loading the wagon.

Right now, you might not like how you see the younger generation behaving. Do you spend more time talking about that and pointing a finger or do you do your best raising your own children or being a mentor or volunteer to help other children?

Right now, you might be concerned about how much rent you will have to pay your landlords in the future. While you are worried about that, the question is do you have that exact same issue addressed with your own farming heir and non-farming children in your own plan?

When March Madness starts, every year there are a few upsets and a few Cinderellas, but most years when it gets to the Sweet 16, the Elite 8 or Final 4, the men’s teams like Duke, Kansas, North Carolina or Gonzaga and women’s teams like UConn, Louisville, South Carolina, Tennessee or Baylor, are usually there at the end. So why is that? Often times it’s because they have coaches who don’t worry about the mules. They just keep loading the wagons.

For your farm and your family, don’t worry about the mules. Just keep doing the best you can with what you have and just keep loading the wagon.

Myron Friesen is the co-owner of Farm Financial Strategies Inc. in Osage, Iowa. He can be contacted at 866-524-3636 or

What to read next
Mychal Wilmes remembers how his mother's baking was a balm even when things went wrong.
Ann Bailey explains why she's thankful for agriculture in professional and personal life.
No two "farm wives" are the same, Jonathan Knutson writes. But their contributions to an operation's success can be many.
Katie Pinke looks at the positive impact of 4-H on youth.