99 WORDS...AND A LITTLE BIT MORE
It’s a lifestyle not all can endure. The heartache of losing stock to weather and predators, seeing crops shrivel away to nothing because of lack of moisture, and work days and nights that meld together as one, becoming a complete year in what seems like a blink of an eye.
Yet, ranchers and farmers find a way to dig deep within to survive this way of life. It is ingrained in their souls. It is what they do and have been doing for a long, long time. They might come off as being gruff, standoffish and maybe even snobbish. But let me tell you, they are far from this exterior shell that paints them as an unapproachable person. The ones I have been privileged to know in my lifetime are kind and respectful. But, they usually don’t have the time of day for anyone who doesn’t have a lick of common sense, or put it into practice.
Looking after the well-being of their animals is a priority before they think of their personal health. They are stewards of the land, and they are the first to step up to help a neighbour in need. They are the kind of person any one of us should be honoured to call an acquaintance, better yet, a friend.
Unfortunately, as modern life takes hold of generations, there are families who question keeping history alive. For years, young adults moved away from the ranch and farm life. Yet, as I write this, I am also seeing the trend of them returning to their roots. Brining with them knowledge to enhance and grow the lifestyle of the generations that came before them. Diversifying what is already there to move forward and keep the family ranch/farm alive.
It saddens me to hear people talk about farm and ranch land as if it were a commodity to be used for other reasons besides farming and ranching. This might fall under the ‘lick of common sense’ heading. They might even be the ones who think their food comes from the grocery store and it begins with a truck bringing said food to the store.
There are people who have no idea about who really feeds us. They don’t care about the ranchers who have been out all night helping a cow have her calf only to lose one or both. They complain about food prices yet have no empathy for the farmer who ponders what crop to plant next year after seeing this year’s grain fields annihilated beyond recognition by hail days before a bumper crop is to be harvested. They don’t realize that the owners of a farm or ranch quite possibly take on outside work to make ends meet, and yet continue to put food on our table.
With the hardship of farming and ranching comes a sense of accomplishment, too. Cattle selling at good prices. Hay fields with bales so close together the abundance gives way to another avenue of revenue. Looking over the land, seeing what the hard work has brought, they humbly know it has happened because of who they are.
It doesn’t matter where you live, or where you come from, we depend on our ranchers and farmers. There is all kinds of modern technological resources to read on this life, but not many will take the time to educate on what really matters…the people behind the industry, the rancher and the farmer. Thank them, appreciate them, get to know them if you can, and especially become knowledgeable about what they do for us.