Native Kansan with a passion for K-State, agriculture, rodeo and free speech. Two-time K-State alumna with a background in animal science, rodeo and some livestock production combined with a tremendous love for writing and communicating. I find joy in the simple things: college sports, hot chocolate, ‘me time’ and a close circle of family and friends. I blog about a wide assortment of topics including agriculture, rodeo, K-State, home decorating, cooking, clothing and married life, you can check out my blog by clicking HERE.
I’m a bit of a rogue when it comes to livestock production. My family has really never produced pork, poultry or beef for other people’s tables. I grew up rodeoing and showing livestock – we didn’t have any mama cows whose calves we sold in the fall but we did have roping/bucket calves and steers, some show pigs and several horses.
When I got more involved in the agriculture industry, I thought I was different from everyone else because I wasn’t necessarily a producer of food. I worked with hogs and cattle during my master’s research and continued to show livestock during my first few years in collegiate 4-H but somehow I never felt worthy of talking about calving or feeding cows and the like.
Since then, I’ve married a farm boy whose family has a diversified crop operation, a cow/calf herd and feeds cattle for a branded program. I’ve learned a lot by helping take care of their cattle and also by helping my dad feed and check cattle on the weekends for his employer.
As I’ve arrived at this juncture in my life, where I can start planning my business ventures, I’ve come to realize that although I may only own horses (and believe me that’s no small task) I still have a lot in common with producers who own cattle, hogs, sheep etc. Additionally, I’ve got the scientific knowledge of many facets of pork and beef production and hopefully, one day very soon, I’ll have my own cattle to start the ownership learning phase. While a degree isn’t a necessity by any stretch of the word, (there are multitudes of folks without degrees who are the big-time leaders and players in their industry), I am confident that it will at least help me make decisions regarding my animals’ health and well-being.
Like all producers, I love living the farm/country lifestyle – I had to live in town during college and in the middle of a metropolis in Australia – and it’s fantastic to be back in the country. I can look out my backdoor and see my horses in the pasture or the neighbor’s cows across the road.
I want to raise my future kids the same way my husband and I were raised so we can teach them hard work and values. You learn best by bruises, scraped chins and trial and error. My future kidlings will rise in the morning and feed their bucket calves and show animals, they’ll do chores and clean pens and their biggest toy will be the great outdoors, a.k.a the back yard and pasture.
Like most producers and ag folks, I don’t want to be given anything for free. I want to have earned my way and be proud of the fruits of my labor. I think that’s one of agriculture’s defining characteristics, we’re proud of what we have earned and done, even if it may not be much by Wall Street standards.
It’s these shared values of hard work, determination (and a little bit of mule headedness), love of the country and making my own way that make me proud to be an agriculturalist. Although I’m not there yet, I will one day be a livestock owner (more than just horses) and in the meantime, I am excited to continue sharing my love of agriculture, the land and the legacy of food production with consumers.