Community Agriculture Alliance: Love of the land
I have been blessed with a very unique opportunity, and it all started two years ago.
I joined the Colorado Agriculture and Rural Leadership class that is sponsored by Colorado State University. This group is made up of people who are directly or indirectly involved in agriculture in Colorado. My classmates are a diverse bunch of characters and wonderful people. It truly has been a pleasure to spend time with them and get to know them.
But this class is not just designed to get to know other ag folks. It is designed to educate all of us on the many different aspects of agriculture and to encourage us to play a leadership role in one of those avenues. Some members have taken this experience and truly stepped up to the plate by running for political office. U.S. Rep. John Salazar, for example, is a previous class graduate. However, there are a lot of individuals who have taken on more of a leadership role within their own communities, and Routt County benefits from several past graduates.
All this makes me wonder what my leadership role will be for agriculture or the rural community. The answer is a simple one: I don’t know. I hope that over the years I will figure it out. The greatest honor I have achieved is my association with agriculture. This distinction alone has presented me with some wonderful opportunities, such as this class. I have been fortunate to have a career that helps landowners make improvements on their ground to realize better profits while still working the land. Not only am I helping people better utilize their natural resources, but I am helping to keep them tied to the land.
The folks who are involved in agriculture are a diverse group, but there is one united thing that holds them all together – their love of the land. It’s getting up every morning to see the sun rise over the landscape, and working outside until it’s too dark to see. It’s witnessing the miracle of life while watching a new calf or horse born in the spring, and its the smell of fresh cut grass. Don’t you think that heaven smells just like a fresh cut hayfield? It’s a feeling that we all share, whether its pride, success, care, faith, etc:it completes us. It’s the feeling that puts a smile on our face, a spring in our step, and a song in our heart. It’s also that feeling that makes us drag our butt out of bed on those cold winter mornings to do chores, and although we grumble about it sometimes, there is no other place on earth we would rather be. Only the land can give us that feeling.
We come from a long line of hard-working folks. After all, most of us are third- or fourth-generation farmers and ranchers. A good work ethic was driven into us from the day we were born. Our word is our honor, and by gosh, if we give it to you, come hell or high water we will do what we said we were going to do. You won’t find a more dependable group of folks – or a more giving one. We don’t often have material things to give, but we will give you our time, knowledge, expertise and insight. We realize that there is a big push to develop our precious land to make way for progress, but we won’t go without a fight.
You may not realize it, but you have love for the land as well and want to see it maintained not developed. The beauty of a working landscape is by far more enticing than the view of city buildings. Ag folks help support your local businesses, and aren’t we the best neighbors that you’ve ever had? We are not so different, you and I, so maybe we can all come to the table with a common goal to protect the land that we all love.
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Steamboat Springs has produced nearly 100 winter Olympians, more than any other town in North America. That fact is everywhere, plastered on websites and informational boards across town.