The first “real” job out of college is always tough, right? It is all about getting back into a schedule of going to work on daily basis, no more studying for exams, and those late nights on the town are not the best idea anymore. My first “real” job working in the cattle feedyard is no exception. The tough part is not waking up at 4:30 or 5:00 every morning to watch the sunrise over the horizon of the Texas Panhandle. The working 12 hours a day at a run is not what gets to me. I even find that learning to balance all my daily tasks and manage my time is not the hard part. The toughest part of my job in the feedyard is figuring out how to do the best with my tasks at hand.
I grew up on a family cattle operation in Arkansas. Nestled between the Ozark Mountains and the Mississippi Delta, home is filled with rolling hills and bayou bottoms. Summers were filled with putting up hay and running off to the lake. The winters were about feeding all that hay and feeding calves on a frosty January morning before the bus came. College was a trip. My first stop was in Fayetteville where I spent two years in the Equine Science Program and learning the ropes of life without the parents. Then I ventured off to Stillwater where I dove into the depths of my Animal Science courses. Sprinkled in between classes were summers spent in the Texas Panhandle working in the feedyard, then riding horseback and learning pasture irrigation in the mountains of Wyoming. Where ever I go, I find a drive to learn more about how to improve upon my experience.
I have seen countless cattle in my 21 years. Ranging from summers in the Arkansas hills, to the mountain pastures of Wyoming, and now the feedyards of the Panhandle, nothing is ever the same. Everyday is a new challenge. I wake up and ask how I can do better than the day before. How can I improve my cattle handling to reduce stress on fresh feeders? What can I do to motivate others around me to step up to the plate? What can I learn today about feeding and raising cattle? With whom can I share my experiences and knowledge in hopes they might have a better understanding of the cattle industry?
I am Agriculture Proud every day. Not because it is my job to receive cattle at the feedyard. Rather because it is my life, my passion to learn all I can about cattle and do my best with the tasks at hand each and every day.
Why are you Agriculture Proud?