From Flipflops to Cowboy Boots…

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.


Filed under Family, General

7 responses to “From Flipflops to Cowboy Boots…

  1. Ron

    I love your down to earth, yet sophisticated way of explaining the business, way of life and animals that we all love. Warms my old Nebraska heart. I hope this does not become too big a strain to maintain.

    God Bless you and your family

  2. Anne,

    You’re major old Florida, so the slower pace of life away from the urban lifestyle would appeal to you. You’ve always been that way. It is not a huge shock that you’re not living near your parents in WPB.

    Just to add a little more dimension to your post, your also a vicious competitor and former D1 athlete; a four star hotel sailing instructor and a Catholic school girl. Your first real car was a big blue Suburban with faded paint. Your family owned or still owns an airboat. You know how to punch. You’re also very big into adventure, and I know you found that and more with Matt. So while I agree with much of what you said, I would like to offer you one thought. While your shoes have changed, they are still your feet.

    The only thing that has changed is your location. Years from now when your last child leaves the home, Matt better watch out. There is a 50/50 chance you’ll drag him off somewhere.

    Anyway, you’re still the best! Keep up the posts. I found this one via Facebook.


  3. Todd Eggerling

    Only knowing you for a short time, its as hard for us to imagine you in flip flops on a beach as for others to see you in boots. We (farmers/ranchers) may not always look the part but always fulfill our obligations.

  4. Karyn

    I can remember watching you drive off to Nebraska with Matt and Taylor and I was left standing there thinking, “she knows what makes her happy”. Flip flops and cowboy boots provide a metaphor for recognizing and embracing the changing seasons that make up our life; you make every season or chapter of your life beautiful by giving so generously and openly of yourself to your family (and those of us lucky enough to be almost family) and your work. When, many years from now, you are wearing slippers more often than cowboy boots or flip-flops, I hope I live in a cabin or a room nearby so we can share stories and change into hiking boots or cowboy boots to look after a few animals, if you insist. Love your writing.

  5. Scott Reynolds

    Anne you are an inspiration to all of us in the beef industry. It makes me smile every time I see you “in the news”.
    I hope you sit back often and realize that the things that you have done in the beef industry in your short time can only be described as revolutionary and awesome.
    Keep up the good work and continue to make all of us who know you proud.

  6. Stephanie Whipps

    Great job Anne!!! I look forward to your new blog posts. As a fellow transplant (but from California beaches), I can relate so much to what you have to say. I am sending your blog to my friends in California so they can see how much effort and love beef producers put into providing a wholesome product for them t o enjoy. Thanks a bunch!!

  7. Pingback: What Fuels You On the Journey? | Feed Yard Foodie

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