I am the daughter of a horseman, a cowman, a rancher. I grew up miles from town, on ranches in Texas and Colorado. In my 23 years of life, I have done nearly every aspect of day-to-day ranch work: from feeding animals twice a day, to getting up in the wee morning hours to gather cattle horseback, to shipping 800 head of stocker cattle from summer pasture to feedyards on trucks before the noon hour. I’ve cooked for large branding crews and for family gatherings of more than 40 people. I know what responsibility feels like, I have lived it every day.

I know the impact that droughts and hard winters have on ranchers. I have prayed for rain as we moved cattle to new lands that were not suffering from lack of moisture and I have broken ice on water tanks in sub-zero temperatures. I have bottle-fed baby calves which were too weak to nurse their mommas and I have rushed horses to the vet clinic when they had colic and needed immediate attention or they would die. I have hauled cattle to sale barns and watched as we lost money because the market was down. I have paid the monthly bills in the ranch office, and learned first-hand how to budget a company’s resources. I have cried as a favorite foal was sold because we needed the money and didn’t need another horse to feed. I know first-hand the personal and financial impact of the 2008 economic crash, not only as it relates to me, but my family and friends.

Despite the hard times and tough decisions, the older I have become, the more I love and cherish my life on the ranch. I have an urgency to show the world how I was reared, what is important to everyday ranchers and farmers in America and why they are important to the continued growth and stability of this nation. I choose to major in agricultural communications to show agriculture to the people who live in apartment buildings and ride the subway to work, to those who buy their groceries with no knowledge of how that food came to be on the shelves. The public needs to understand how public policy can affect the production of food that is feeding the world, or how an increase in taxes or how inheritance taxes can force multi-generation-owned farms and ranches to be sold to pay the IRS. I want to tell a story, the real story of rural America.

Through journalism, graphic design, photography, broadcasting and other agricultural communications classes, I am learning the tools that are helping me fulfill my passion of showcasing agriculture at its finest to the world. My life to some people seems abnormal and strange, but I know that I have learned valuable life skills that help me to succeed no matter if I stay on the ranch or work in a large city. I know the things that are important in life and are worth fighting for, and I want to live a life of integrity, perseverance and courage. Wherever life takes me, I will always know where I came from, and will use those valuable life skills to be the best possible person I can be for the job I am in.

 

Amy can be reached anytime by e-mail at: cattlemansdaughter@gmail.com

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