As we give thanks for our food, family and friends during this holiday weekend, it’s a good time to remember those farmers and ranchers who make the “food” part possible.
Community Agriculture Alliance
This weekly column about agriculture issues is written by area farmers, ranchers and policymakers. It publishes on Fridays in the Steamboat Today. Read more columns here.
So, borrowing from a poster that the Community Agriculture Alliance has prepared, “You might be a rancher if..."
• You convince your spouse that an overnight, out-of-state trip for equipment parts is a vacation.
• You wear specific hats to farm sales, livestock auctions, customer appreciation suppers and funerals.
• You never have thrown away a 5-gallon bucket.
• You have used baling wire to attach a license plate.
• You have used a chainsaw to remodel your house.
• You remember AUMs and yields from 10 years ago but cannot remember your spouse’s birthday.
• You have driven off the road while examining your neighbor’s fields.
• You have borrowed gravel from the county road to fill potholes in your driveway.
• You have buried a dog and cried like a baby.
• You have used a tractor front-end loader as scaffolding.
• You wave at every vehicle whether you know them or not.
• You always look when a vehicle passes your house, even at night.
• You refer to ranches by who owned them 50 years or more ago.
• You give directions to your ranch by using landmarks, not road numbers.
• Family weddings and special events are planned around haying and gathering.
• You know "checkoff" is not a Russian diplomat.
• Your early morning prayer covers rain and cattle.
• You try to find the cheapest hotel rates when going out of town.
• Using the elevator involves a grain truck.
• You wake up when it’s dark and you go to bed after the evening news.
• You wear your boots to church.
• If given a million dollars, you would keep right on ranching. You would ranch differently, but you would keep on ranching. That is who you are and what you are.
It is estimated that within the next 20 to 40 years the demand for food will double because of the growing world population. This means that by 2050, we will need to produce as much food as we did during the past 12,000 years. American agricultural producers are stepping up to meet that demand by increased production and better technology. Ranchers and farmers are business people who love the land, the lifestyle and the heritage of their family-run operations. They will be here to meet the future with their boots firmly planted in the soil.
The board of directors and advisers of the Community Agriculture Alliance wants to thank all of the ranchers and farmers in Northwest Colorado. We salute and thank each of you for your efforts.
Marsha Daughenbaugh is the executive director of Community Agriculture Alliance.