The Mentor…

I graduated from Dartmouth College with a B.A. in Psychology and was one class short of a minor in Education.  Just like many kids who attend a Liberal Arts college, I floundered with what I wanted to do with my life.

Training "at altitude" at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs my senior year in high school...

I arrived at Dartmouth a jock…

My freshman year in college...Making good friends and learning to be a "student of life"...

I metamorphosed into an intellectual— graduating cum laude…

Young dreams and core values brought us back to Nebraska and a life as farmers...

After graduation, my heart led me to central Nebraska to a small agricultural community…

While at Dartmouth, it was pure stubbornness that kept me from a minor in education.  I wanted to take an extra class in early childhood brain development instead of the “History of Education” and the chairman of the education department did not agree with my decision…

It was also pure stubbornness that kept me from becoming an elementary school teacher when I moved to Nebraska.  The state of Nebraska refused to honor some of my education classes and required me to go back to school in order to obtain a Nebraska teaching certificate…I could see no good reason in going back to college (I had, after all, just graduated from one), so I decided to do something else.

I traded textbooks and chalk for a horse and learned to be a caregiver for cattle...

While at the time that all of this was happening I was frustrated and trying to figure out my place in life, I have since realized that it was a blessing in disguise.  Today, I cannot imagine a life that is not centered on the care of cattle.  I love working outdoors with my animals, and it brings me great pride to know that my hard work quite literally feeds the world.  In addition, I have found a way to incorporate teaching into my role of Boss Lady and feed yard manager…

These steers are asking a question--can you see that by reading their expression?...They look to me for leadership and comfort...I look to them to nourish my children...

Over the past five years, my feed yard has become a hands-on learning center, and not a month goes by without a student or group of students spending time with me.  My holistic cattle care and cattle handling philosophy combined with the fact that I love to share the knowledge that I have garnered over the past 15 years provides an attractive combination for college and graduate students who are interested in learning about a cattle feed yard.  Throw into the equation that I am a woman working in a predominantly male world, and the ante is upped even further as young women look for someone to be a mentor to them in their quest to raise cattle and grow beef.  While most of the students that I mentor are from Nebraska, I have had the privilege of working with young women who traveled from as far as Texas and Georgia to spend time with me.

Jessica spent the summer of 2010 with me. She completes her undergraduate degree in a couple of weeks and will head off to Washington DC to work as an intern in Senator Mike Johanns' office. Next fall, she will attend law school and study environmental law.

Cassie has her master's degree from Texas A & M in ruminant nutrition, and came to learn about how I use a combination of good animal care and nutrition to reduce the environmental footprint of my animals...Check out her blog site at "Food Think!"

Suzanne is an undergraduate student and has followed the Feed Yard Foodie blog for months now. She came to experience "first hand" the feed yard and our community of Cozad.

I truly believe that the youth of our nation hold the key to the long term success of our country.  As a cattle caregiver and a farmer that raises beef, I know that new science will allow me to do an increasingly better job caring for my animals while also reducing the environmental footprint of my farm as I raise food to feed to my children and yours. Today, I mentor numerous young people, but someday soon I will learn from these young professionals as they unravel the future of cattle care and beef production.  I hope that they will take the things that I teach them to heart, and these nuggets of practical wisdom and experience will allow them to work to better the industry that I love so much.

In the meantime, I will cherish the time that I spend mentoring and hope that I am making a difference in these young people’s lives…

I look at this picture of my daughter and I am reminded of the most important young people that I mentor, and I am thankful that my girls are growing up on a farm and learning the responsibility that is necessary to offer good care to animals...

1 Comment

Filed under CAFO, Foodie Work!, General

One response to “The Mentor…

  1. Bill

    Pure stubbornness? No. Not you Anne. Say it isn’t so.

    That was a ‘Home Run’ post, by the way. It must be that cum laude stuff that you mentioned.

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