At age 70, my mom devotedly continues her teaching ministry at Cardinal Newman High School. Mrs. Gibson’s high school English classroom exhibits a magical culture of passion as my mom inspires her students to analyze literature, learn to write, and develop personal accountability. Her vision of inspiring teenagers to greatness continually refills her cup and gives her life a special purpose.
Much to my mom’s chagrin, I never developed a kinship with Shakespeare. However, despite the fact that I chose animals over literature, I took a part of her with me as I internalized the belief that a healthy life vision revolves around fueling your passion to make a difference. When I graduated from Dartmouth College and started my new life on the Nebraska prairie, a feed yard became my personal version of her classroom and I went to work looking for ways to understand the bovine brain in order to improve animal welfare and beef quality.
My cattle taught me patience and perspective. They instilled in me a new level of maturity as I discovered a fascination with seeing the world through the eyes of a bovine. Along the way, I developed long term dreams of helping to bring the concept of total fitness (mental, emotional, and physical) to the art of daily cattle care in order to improve both welfare and animal performance.
What started on my farm grew to hold a larger audience as I shared my ideas with other cattlemen in my volunteer efforts on Beef Quality Assurance, as well as hosting interested high school and college students at the feed yard.
When you believe in something, it is natural human tendency to want to share it.
The above video was filmed four years ago. I had a potent moment this week when I clicked on it and heard myself talking about my passion for cattle, sharing the story of beef production, and realizing that the future would bring change. In the fall of 2012, I had no idea that I would make the decision to close down my feed yard. However, as I listened to myself on the video, I heard wisdom and foresight in my attitude toward the future and my role in it.
After this winter, I will no longer be the boss lady at Will Feed, Inc. Despite that, I plan to continue to build my dream of improving bovine animal welfare and beef quality. Beginning in February, I start a new phase with a new team as I join the crew of the Beef Marketing Group.
- I have new goals for expanding the reach of my cattle care philosophy.
- I have new goals for figuring out better ways to share how cattle are raised and where beef comes from.
- I have new goals for refilling my cup of passion so that I can continue to make a difference in the lives of others.
I am really excited to be able to tunnel my energy and passion into my two favorite components of being a beef farmer: animal care and sharing the story. I will work directly with five feed yards in Nebraska on the Progressive Beef QSA program focusing on high quality animal care. Additionally, I have the privilege of expanding my social media reach beyond Feed Yard Foodie to write blog content and work on communications efforts for my new team.
I will get to do all of this while maintaining a more human friendly schedule that allows for time with family and for volunteer coaching efforts in my rural community.
While I will never have my mom’s talent for making poetry come alive to teenagers, I am confident that this new journey in my quest to build a dream will allow me the ability to make a difference in the lives of others — both two legged and four legged 🙂