Sometimes I forget what it would be like to be a first-generation Aggie. I grew up on the ranch, my dad the same, and the other Goodmans before him. Because of that there is probably a lot I miss, or maybe do not notice. But I wouldn’t give my raising on the ranch for the world. Caleb Schultz (@phildawgkey) knows what it’s like to walk onto the ranch for the first time. He is just jumping into the world of cattle ranching after meeting his wife and in-laws, they introduced him to the lifestyle. If you read his entries on the appropriately tited blog “America’s Great Divide“, Caleb has a great appreciation for all he is soaking in on the ranch and elsewhere in Agriculture. Today Caleb shares with us why he is Proud to be a part of Agriculture and why he is Thankful for that opportunity.

Caleb is AgProud and Ag-Thankful

Today, as is the case everyday, I am AgProud.  However, this particular day may have a greater amount of pride than normal.  This weekend, I had the opportunity to learn, interact and network with the wonderful people involved in the Colorado Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher program.  What an absolute pleasure it was to meet others that are young and passionate about agriculture and take the responsibility to advocate for their industry seriously.  Being immersed with these other young individuals, I was quick to see the passion, intelligence and authority with which they addressed many issues facing agriculture.

If you know me from my forays on the internet, you probably know by now that I did not grow up in agriculture and was not affected by it’s presence in my life until I was well into college.  If you don’t know me, than just imagine an eighth grade skater kid who grew up to be pretty dang comfortable in my Cinch Jeans, a Carhartt work vest and boots.  Through the grace of God, I was given a path towards agriculture’s great rewards while falling in love with my wife and beginning our adventures in the cattle ranching business together.

As a relative newbie to agriculture, I have not had a great deal of opportunities to interact with others from the industry and, in particular, very few people of my generation.  I know many of our neighbors and am beginning to build a small network in our small farm town, but never had the pleasure to be involved in FFA or 4H.  Without this involvement and upbringing, I often feel a small bit of alienation from those who are 3rd, 4th and 5th generation participants at their family’s farm or ranch.  My learning curve is still quite steep even after 6 years around my in-laws.  Truthfully, I am pretty intimidated when the conversation inevitably turns to tractors!  We’re primarily a cattle operation and besides our Ford 9030 Bi-Directional Tractor, I probably couldn’t tell you the difference between a “conventional” and “rotary” tractor.  In fact, I’m not even sure those are the right terms that I am borrowing from one of the conversations this weekend.

But, I am sure that agriculture is right for me and I have a lifetime of learning to do. After this weekend, I am absolutely AgProud to be involved with such great people and AG-Thankful to have met so many like-minded individuals who will continue to represent their industry for generations to come and continue to show grace, openness and understanding to a city-slicker turned part-time cattle rancher.  And, if I’m lucky, God will help me remember some tractor numbers so I can participate in the conversation a little bit more effectively.

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Caleb Schultz is a Landscape Architect / Graphic Designer by day and a cattle rancher by night (actually weekends!).  He and his wife returned to Colorado in April 2010 to help and get involved with his wife’s family cattle ranch.  They recently bought their first cows and are officially in the cattle business.  During the week, Caleb works in Denver, CO while his wife is a full-time farm / ranch employee. He returns to the ranch each weekend to learn what it’s all about and relieve his of her rigorous duties.