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Friday, February 12, 2010

It's a crazy ride, but it's just beginning

Social Media, It's the new thing in the past couple years. You can find friends, acquaintances, company advertisements, junk mail and spam, groups, music artists, and yes even add new friends. Recently I have found that social media can be a great help in communicating with people that I otherwise would never meet in day-to-day routines. So, how am I using this?

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am cattleman by birth. My parents and grandparents have all worked hard raising stock, goats, chickens, cattle, hogs, and horses. My passion has been cattle, ever since my first bottle calf from an age that I can barely remember. I love working with and around cattle; spending every day possible caring for, providing a balanced ration, and learning about the cattle that are in my care. It wasn't until I started taking upper division classes in Animal Science that I realized how well I really had it. There are so many students in the Animal Science department that are interested in livestock, but have limited hands on experience. And then I begin to realize just how many people outside of the Ag college that have no connection with production agriculture. This is hard to grasp, especially for a person whose favorite place to be is riding horses through the pastures taking in the solitude, adventure, and awesomeness of ranch life.

Back to my point, social media is a growing place of communication, and I want to use it to share my story with those outside of animal agriculture. There are lots of people that are a few generations removed from the farm. I want to take them along for the ride and share my story with them.

In the past few years I have put a lot of miles on my truck. I was just working on a family cattle operation with 1,000 head of Angus cows and running more than 10,000 head of stocker cattle. Then I worked with the university equine program at Fayetteville where I learned more about horse nutrition and reproduction than I ever thought was possible. I worked in the feedyards of West Texas where I saw and helped to feed more than 225,000 head of cattle in less than 3 months. Then I moved on here to Stillwater where I have taken a dive into the Animal Science program and learned so many things, including all about meat harvest and how to produce quality stock. Then I had the best experience of my life in the Big Horn mountains of Wyoming where I gained an appreciation for adequate rainfall after having to irrigate pastures and hay crops all summer. There I got to spend several weeks horse back in the mountains moving cattle and learning invaluable experience about range management. And I even managed to make some great new friends (Yes, this means my wacky English friend Katy Jane). Whew, it's been a journey, but it's just begun!

Now in my last semester of college at one of the best animal science programs in the nation, and still learning new things everyday, I find myself looking for my next opportunity. Will I go straight to work in a feedyard or ranch operation? Or can I find a way to make it one more year in school to learn more about ranch management? I guess we shall find out in the next few months. Until then I hope to keep networking and making new connections with people whom I can share my story of production agriculture.