Everyone has a story to tell. America’s Ranchers and Farmers have a great one. Whether it is our hard work, resilience, sense of community, or passion to keep improving upon our skills, someone is listening. These are the stories of Agriculturalists and the reasons why they are proud to be a part of Agriculture.

What is my story?

I am just an ordinary kid from Arkansas who grew up on a cattle ranch and wanted to get out of Dodge. My family operated a commercial Angus and stocker cattle operation where I had more than enough opportunity to soak in the ranch life. On Saturday mornings I pleaded to go to work with my dad and during calving season I begged to stay up late to check on the calving heifers. Over the years I learned first-hand the hard work it takes to work in the cattle business. I soaked in all I could about managing a cattle herd, cattle nutrition, and marketing in the industry. Late nights at the auction barn provide plenty of opportunity to learn what good cattle look like.

When time came to graduate high school and leave for college, my world turned upside down. I lost my mother to a cattle working accident. This experience gave me the drive and passion to succeed, do my best, and make the most of my time here on earth. I completed an Equine Science minor at the University of Arkansas, worked as a student manager in the horse program, and decided to take a more direct route to make it in the cattle industry.

I took off to Amarillo to work in the cattle feedyards for the summer and learned a great deal about life in a new part of the cattle industry. That Fall I moved to Stillwater to study Animal Science at Oklahoma State University, where I had always dreamed of learning more about the cattle industry. Here I learned more than I ever hoped about life, friends, and livestock production.

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My next summer was spent in the mountains of Wyoming; another dream of mine that came to be fulfilled. Words cannot begin to explain the awe I felt the entire summer. Who knew that living 24 hours from home could fly by so fast. I left that August awestruck, still in a daze at the experience of ranching in the mountains of Wyoming, and hungry wanting to stay and never leave.

After finishing my Animal Science degree at OSU, I found myself in the driest, windiest, flattest place I have ever experienced. Dalhart, Texas is that and more, but most importantly it is in the middle of cattle feedyard country. I was part of the team at a 67,000 head feedyard, where we worked together daily to feed and care for every animal on the yard. Life in the remote Panhandle brings its challenges — weather, isolation, and as the locals describe it, Dalhart is BYOG (Bring Your Own Gal). The cool part is that Dalhart is only twenty minutes from New Mexico and only two hours from the mountains of Colorado.

The latest door to open in my journey takes me East across the mighty Mississippi, working on my Master’s degree with the folks at the University of Tennessee. Book learning is not everything, but I believe it is a big step to a better understanding of what I love to do most. I look forward to learning more about cattle production and working with farmers and ranchers in the state.

I am involved in blogging and social media because the cattle industry is my passion and I want to share my experiences with others. I want to hear what others have to ask, share my knowledge, and sometimes learn with them. I want consumers to become more familiar with how and why we produce food before they criticize our work, and hopefully gain an appreciation for the work those of us in agriculture do daily. I want to hear others share their stories so we can stand up with a strong voice and tell the world how we produce the food on every plate. This is my journey, and I welcome you to come along for the ride.

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