I am ag-thankful because it has provided generations of my family with an unprecedented way of life we love dearly, and work hard to preserve for future generations. I am thankful to be a rancher because it’s what I love to do more than anything in the world, and very few people get to do something they love as their profession.

While not an easy lifestyle choice, being a rancher has instilled a love for all things on God’s earth within my family members and myself. I have a firm understanding of life and death, and the importance of both. I know what it means to work hard, fully commit to a task, and give it your all every time you step out the door. I understand the unexplainable feeling of being physically exhausted and mentally content after a hard days work. I know what it means to care for land and livestock, and the feelings that come with success and failure in those areas.

The more I learn about the world and the majority of my generation, the more thankful I am for having learned these life lessons through my rural upbringing. It’s an unfortunate truth that most people my age haven’t learned them, and likely never will.

Feeding the world isn’t the quickest way to get rich, but it’s the most fun in my opinion. I am so thankful I am involved in an industry that is quality based, where hard work is rewarded through increased value of the final product.  I love good, black cattle, and my world revolves around raising them. I embrace the challenge of continually producing a better product for the consumer and myself.

I am thankful to be surrounded by people who work hard day in and day out to feed our nation and world. To know, that when visiting friends and neighbors, a prayer of thanksgiving is given more times than not before everyone sits down to eat. To be in an industry where there is so much to be thankful for, and to have been subjected to enough hardships to recognize and truly appreciate the good things in life.

I am thankful I have a dad who wouldn’t feed my brother and I dinner until we fed the bum calves we had forgotten, and in doing so taught us the importance of caring for what we have.  A dad who also wouldn’t feed us until we finished cleaning the chicken house we had done a mediocre job at the first time around, hence teaching us to do it right the first time.

In a world that has an increasingly unrealistic view of where their food comes from, I am thankful to be in a position to share the truth, and to live it. I love ranching and appreciate all the people who share a similar passion for other aspects of agriculture. I am very thankful there are still people who embrace the challenge of providing food and fiber to the to the world, even as those challenges continue to change and increase.

Heather Hamilton is a sixth generation rancher from eastern Wyoming who works as the Assistant Editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup, a statewide, weekly ag newspaper. She also owns a photography business, Double H Photography, and photographs weddings, seniors, families and ag-related events for money, and cattle, landscapes and her dogs for fun. She runs a few cows on her parent’s ranch and maintains an active role in the operation. Beef cattle genetics are her passion and she enjoys selecting replacement heifers and buying bulls that perform in specific ways for the family ranch. She can be reached at heather@wylr.net, or you can check out her blog at http://doublehphoto.blogspot.com/

Check out all of the great stories from November and learn why others are thankful for agriculture. Your comments and emails are always welcome. (agricultureproud@hotmail.com)