If you could tell the story of agriculture, so that others could understand, catch a glimpse of the reality...how would you do it?
For us, it’s very much like you might picture it when someone mentions “cattle ranching”. It’s miles of horse back time, and wide open spaces. Desert lands. Rough and rocky terrain. We ranch in a part of Texas that fits McLintock speaking of the Mesa Verde, it “serves pretty well for cattle... but it hates the plow.” This land thrives when grazed properly.
We are a 4th generation cow/calf ranching family in Presidio county, Texas. The last several years have been a trying time. But nothing that the Lord hasn’t seen us through, and will continue to. My husband, Damon, and I (Rachel) are raising 5 kids— 4 boys, now ages 14 down to 8, and one girl, age 2. All of which have grown up in the saddle, and have their own herd of cow/calf pairs on their own lease country. They’ve been at ranching since 2018, when they bought in to it, as partners. They handle it all, with a little help and direction, but as they’ve aged they manage well on their own. The boys have grown to be excellent hands!
We sell weaned calves every fall, as well as hold a number back to finish on grass, that we sell direct to consumer. When 2020 came about, our direct beef output jumped drastically, and we’ve held a large number of those customers to this day. It’s been good to see folks get interested in the source of food, and knowing that folks are right there in their community providing much.
Enough about us, let’s get back to talking agriculture, and how we should share it...
Today, it’s much different than years gone by. We have a continuously growing population of people that are far removed from any understanding at all. Generations use to be closer to the knowledge of at least a few whys and thrives that folks in the industry go about, and hope for. They could listen to grandpa tell stories of ranching or farm life. They knew where the food they consume came from, that they purchased at the local store.
Now, being so far removed from that understanding, it’s caused a shift in mindset, and knowledge of what’s actually truth, verses what are lies. We have social media. Or even just the internet itself. Which is fairly new, in a sense, but we have many who still struggle to understand even an ounce of what the industry does for the health of the world. It’s all literally at our fingertips, knowledge is not in short supply, we just need to seek it. It works that way for everything.
Some enjoy the time spent working with their hands, sweat and tears filling their days. All of it’s not in vain, not when we know full well that at some point in the near future the work we are doing is going to benefit another many peoples before long, with proper nutrition that they’d receive in consuming a great product.
It’s important. Because we all have to eat to stay alive. Your education and context on the topics of agriculture are important. Because an industry that feeds you is an industry worth fighting for!
It's generations before us, and those to come.
Fact is, it’s not for everyone, and everyone is not for it.
Ranchers and farmers are conservationists, without being so we don’t continue from season to season. It’s more than a paycheck, and it’s barely that. It’s a lifestyle, one that sets us way a part from the normal, that is of what people find to be normal. We don’t mind dirt, we know what it’s like to enjoy every rain, and we find a blessing in the miles and miles of open scenery.
The whole idea is to let others come to the table. Yes, and guess what?
A good table has a lil bit of everything, sure, and the first person to call the apple pie, pumpkin pie, just so you’ll eat it is lying, flat out.
They also don’t get by with labeling the turkey as beef, either.
You wouldn’t get invited back, if that was the case.
You best be honest, and everyone belly up, take a bit of everything, and you get to tell others about how tasty it was, and how it was done just right. And share in that! But, if I don’t know how to make the casserole dish you had set out, I am not going to be the one to speak up on how it’s done. I can only share what I contributed in what I actually do know, and can contribute to facts, and betterment for the industry, and the community of people it serves. Which is pretty much all the peoples of the world.
We want folks to care enough to help us keep it up!
In every aspect of life, you earn your position. You worked to be right where you are. It took time, and persistence. Even if we hadn’t been taught at an early age, one would still have to put in the time to learn it correctly.
Even being raised in it. I still have to learn more.
I didn’t rope well. But I learned.
I didn’t cook well. But I learned.
I didn’t know how to be a wife. But I learned.
I didn’t know how to be a mom. But I learned.
Life is constant learning, consistency is what sets it all. And we live in a wonderful time to build our knowledge, it’s all around us. Passed on from those before. Generation doesn’t mean one automatically knows exactly what to do. It still takes time to learn, we still take time to show our children much, and the facts of struggles in the industry are faced day to day, they are continuous.
The agricultural industry has far too many problems without having every persons feelings laid open like a bleeding wound. Especially those who aren’t in the thick of it every day.
They don’t see what we see.
You’d have to come along every day to figure that out.
We don’t throw our hands in the air, though.
That’s not what will see it through.
The getting up, and doing it will, though.
Pushing on, even when everything is pushing against us.
Because it’s what we know. It’s what we can do for others! The things that will keep ranching going are NOT leftist.
Not television or Hollywood trying to portray something we are not. It’s more than a feeling. Because feelings are fleeting, emotions never last.
So, everyday we will strive to serve the community and be helpful in the industry we live daily. We will share bits and pieces on social media. We will speak up about the things of importance. We will converse with consumers. We will share facts with friends and acquaintances. We will sell direct beef, at affordable prices. We will be bold.
Opening up our lives, as a visual.
Truth > lies.
“Good farmers, who take seriously their duties as stewards of creation and of their land's inheritors, contribute to the welfare of society in more ways than society usually acknowledges, or even knows. These farmers produce valuable goods, of course; but they also conserve soil, they conserve water, they conserve wildlife, they conserve open space, they conserve scenery.”— Wendell Berry
Grazing cattle on lands that are not fit for anything other than that, it allows regrowth to plants, and provides soil health, which in turn allows the land and the animals to thrive.
Thus, in the long run is good for the whole planet.
BEEF only produces 1.9% of greenhouse gases (total of 3.7% with feed production, fuel, and electricity), and because American producers have learned much over time, we’ve seen that drop drastically since the mid 1900s.
If we want to make a better improvement than even that, folks need to not waste what is provided and produced, across grocery stores, restaurants, and right in our homes. Which in turn would increase beef sustainability even more, BAM!
These same animals turn forages and materials we cannot use as humans into nutritious meat! And these same animals produce much more than meat, from leather to beauty products, even gelatin, and insulin! These same animals have been contributing to the world for thousands of years, and as stewards of land and livestock, ranchers and farmers get to make things better, or see it disappear. You can be sure that the majority are trying their level best to better the conservation of it all. The betterment of it from year to year. And to help others see it for what it truly is.
For us, there is a LOT going on day to day, some of it looks like brush control, pasture rotation, water erosion dams, water wells/windmills, breeding, and SO much more. Dealing with the animals one on one, and being active in their health and nutrition. It's all part of the care we give them, because we care. We don’t make a profit, if we don’t hold on to the fact that these animals well being rides on it all. It's all part of it, and we enjoy it! We are holding on to what tomorrow will bring, but trusting the Lord to hold on to all the tomorrows.