I had a pretty expensive week. First I went to the co-op and picked up new tires for the truck. Then, I went to the dentist for my new crown. Finally, I filled up my truck with fuel! That joke, or lack thereof, was courtesy of my grandfather. Only 30 miles west from peaceful Fort Atkinson, Wis., our capitol of Madison has made shockwaves around the world during the past week. While much of the debate centers on pro- versus anti-union opinions, there is an underlying budget with a big hole in it. In Washington, D.C., the economic future of our country is slowly being shaped. Whispers of a federal government shutdown are beginning to surface as the next bill to continue the same level of government funding (called a continuing resolution) develops. As law currently stands, the branches of government are funded through March 4. The proposed legislation makes a few cuts but would otherwise provide the same amount of funding through March 18, 2011. For the most part, the systems we live in are built just to make it to the next debate. The next few months will make a big impact in the future of national, state, and local economies. Budgets will be tightened and cuts will be made nearly everywhere. In each situation, there will be losers and maybe a few winners. While no one person knows for sure where the dairy industry is heading, I think we can all agree that we need to do what it takes to be in the winner's circle. If you've ever attended a cow show, you know that the grandstand is usually not where you find the winners.