I keep getting asked: Why are you obsessed with beef?
It’s time to tell my story of how I came from knowing nothing about agriculture to being a passionate advocate.
The world’s most productive land for corn is where I call home: Iowa, and I am the product of a long line of farmers of that land. However, my grandpa, the last relative I had working the fields, sold his farm when I was little.
I can remember thinking it was a blast to go to Grandpa’s place and jump around in the hay barn, but as I grew older, in the state’s second largest city, those memories faded; along with any excitement for farming.
In high school, I played basketball and our team was fortunate enough to go to state championship games. In our division, there was a high school that sat just outside of city limits. Naturally, when they made it to the championships also, our fans intimated them by dressing up as farmers and waiving around cutout cardboard ears of corn.
And off I went to college at the University of Iowa.
I had always been interested in natural science, cultures, and meeting new people so I chose to double major in journalism and anthropology. I dappled in local news, but something always felt missing; maybe a broader view or lack of travel during work.
The summer of 2010 changed everything.
Combing anthropology and journalism, I took an internship at the Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) in Helena, Montana as the multimedia communications intern.
Before I went there, I couldn’t even picture what a ranch was, but I thought it would be a great way to learn about that portion of America.
During my internship, I traveled all over the most beautiful country I had ever seen and interviewed ranchers on camera. Every few weeks, I made videos with these interviews for MSGA's social media websites.
Stockgrower members welcomed me into their homes and patiently taught me about day-to-day operations. But I learned so much more than that.
I learned that ranching is a powerful connection with nature; it is tangible feeling of warmth and comfort for family and neighbors; it is having the knowledge of chemistry, economics, biology, political science, and so much more; it stems from the greatest work ethic I have ever been around, an overwhelming care for their animals and without these ranchers, the world would not eat.
The summer ended too quickly and I returned to college. I graduated in December and in February, returned to MSGA as a full-time employee.
I am now the multimedia specialist and will once again, travel to our member ranches, documenting their lives to help promote the beef industry.
I think it's time the world realizes how much cattlemen and cattlewomen care about their animals, love what they do, and work tirelessly to provide safe, healthy food for everyone.
**Look for future blog posts about my experiences on Montana ranches.**