Tuesday, January 22, 2013


We all know that Nebraska had one of the driest years it’s seen in a while, even comparable to the 1930’s. But I bet you didn’t know that Nebraska farmers still harvested 1.29 billion bushels of corn this summer. Or that Nebraska’s feedlots contained 5% more cattle than as the same time last year even though the drought affected their feed supplies? As a farmer or rancher you come to understand that Mother Nature is one crafty lady! She has no end of tricks up her sleeves to try and throw us off our game. Luckily we have one tool to trump that, experience. Our farmers and ranchers have been doing their job for decades, even centuries. Learning from their fathers, mothers, uncles, grandparents, or even friends. Teaching it to future generations.  

Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted. And experience is often the most valuable thing you have to offer.” ― Randy Pausch 

When people try to discredit our farmers and ranchers it makes me wonder if they even realize what they’re saying? How many professionals have studied their profession before kindergarten even started? Or would go home on nights and weekends during high school and/ or college to get some hands on experience in that field? Or have their families available to help answer questions and give insight? Where fathers and mothers want their kids with them while they’re doing their job, even if it is just riding along? Yeah, I can’t think of many.

It always just amazes me watching my parents, how they know the best ways to make a fence or which acres of land will be planted with which seed. They know when a storm is coming in or the best way to take care of their animals so their healthy, happy and productive. How they seem to always know when a cow is about to calve or how they seem to always know what's wrong with the cow before the vet even gets there. I’ve come to realize it’s all just life experience, watching their parents and asking questions, I’ve even picked up a few things in my 21 years.

Pairing that experience with today’s technology and you have a combination that can’t be beat. Each generation of farmer and rancher has had some changes to make, they weren’t always easy but they figured it out. You think going from using horses to tractors to do farm work would be an easy transition? I would think it would’ve been one of the hardest, but because they made those sacrifices we now are producing more food with fewer resources.

This industry is very important, always changing but has little room for error. It is an industry that is driven by experience and without that experience would be nowhere near where it's at today. What our farmers and ranchers are offering us is far more than what's just learned at school, it's generation's worth of knowledge on feeding the world!

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