I am a firm believer that past experiences combined with natural personality make you who you are. If the past and the present make up who you are, those experiences combined with dreams and goals make up who you will be.
Everywhere that I go, I am asked how an urban Florida girl ended up managing a cattle feedyard in rural Nebraska. While the short answer to that question is a 6’1” handsome blue eyed native Nebraska boy, it is (as many things are) more complicated than that.
When I got on a plane as an 18 year old bound for Dartmouth College, I told my parents that I was not sure where my life would take me; however, that it would not be returning to urban Florida. I knew that my life would be somewhere in rural America. I had seen glimpses of rural America traveling across the country and searching for good fly fishing rivers in the Rocky Mountains with my family. I knew that I wanted to live in a place where the pace was slower and I could continually “recharge” my soul as I interacted amongst Mother Nature in “God’s Country”.
My experiences living in rural Nebraska for the past 14 years have far surpassed any picture that my imagination could possibly have painted . I live in a community where people care. We look out for each other, and that is just the way that it is. Our farm and our community are constantly challenged by Mother Nature, and when this happens, it becomes instinctual to collaborate with each other and support each other. Since the vast majority of us in rural Nebraska are involved in some form of agriculture, we share this greatest challenge and it brings us together.
I love the fact that my children are growing up not only understanding what their daddy and I do every day, but also playing an active role in both that and our community. My favorite expression is “Take the time it takes to do it right”, and my children always groan and moan with tremendous drama when they hear me say it. But, watching me (and helping me) to care for animals every day, 365 days out of the year, gives substance to my “parental pontifications”. I am proud that I raise and care for animals which will quite literally ‘feed the world’. This sense of purpose drives me to continually work to improve myself every single day.
I gladly trade my flip flops for cowboy boots, because I know that I am achieving my long held goal of making a positive difference in the world that I am so blessed to be a part of.