Today I happened upon a picture from branding this past spring of my nephews and little cousin. It reminds me of experienced cattlemen examining notes, looking at ear tag numbers and trying to plan the day. It reminds me that the future of agriculture looks bright.
Too many people forget that agriculture is the number one industry in Montana. We must invest our time, money and resources to ensure a future for agriculture and rural communities in our great state.
I’ve had many calls, texts and messages from hardworking ranchers in the past few days and weeks concerned and curious about the Living with Wildlife Conference that is tied to the American Prairie Reserve. The group is advertising their event on the radio waves and many assume since I’m a broadcaster I have control over the radio ads. The simple answer is, I do not.
I understand the frustrations and agree with my friends that have reached out. All I can do is show my support for the family ranches, rural communities and advocate for their cause.
It’s important to strive to keep traditions alive while educating oneself for the future. We have to use knowledge, experience, and hard work to share our story to the public in Montana and afar. Farmers and ranchers are stewards of their land. They are innovative. They are the backbone of this nation.
I also understand private land is private land if folks want to run a different livestock species that is their right.
Building a ranch is hard, if not impossible for beginning ranchers with no support system. Wouldn’t it be great if we in agriculture would come together to support the young people who have the want to, work ethic and dreams of living off the land that has no way of financing a multi-million-dollar ranch? That’s a big what if.
Some have had that support system from family or those wishing to retire and make sure their farms and ranches stayed in hard-working, calloused hands. But, many have chosen to sell to multiple non-profit “conservation groups.” But, we must remember that it is their right to do so.
Farmers and ranchers must tell their story. Other groups who have no idea what goes on in the countryside have been telling their version of our story for much too long. We must share our story together.
I look at this picture of these three young men and think of the future of agriculture and our rural communities. We must all work together to “Save the Cowboy” and invest in our rural communities, 4-H, FFA and aid the next generation to get a start in the business. Working with neighbors, family and financial services to secure land and finances to ensure the next generation of ranchers, farmers, business owners, and entrepreneurs have a place to call home and make a living in rural America.
To do this, we must all become active, educate ourselves and others and come together to support the future of agriculture and rural communities in Montana and across the nation.
God Bless this Nation.