I’ve been at this job for a year now. It seems like it was just yesterday that I was walking in the door and nervously sitting at my empty desk. I was so excited. I worked so hard on my own farm to gain an understanding of what drives both man and beast and now it was my opportunity to apply this in a practical manner. I expected to be challenged (thank you 4-H), I expected to be supported (thank you Elizabeth), I expected to have fun (thank you all of the staff who make me laugh everyday), and I expected to make and miss deadlines (thank you Livestock Weekly Update). What I didn’t see coming was that I would be inspired. Every day I have the privilege of interacting with the hardest working men and women in the world. In one of the most difficult seasons for my own farm, I found solace in my peers, in their kind words, and in our shared tears and struggles. Sharing teaching duties with my mentors (think cowboy hat) and rubbing shoulders with some of the most progressive educators in the country (who may or may not capitalize their first name), this job allowed me to both be who I am and do what I do.
Over the years I’ve said a lot of things while working those acres. Some of them, well most of them, can’t be reprinted here, but of all the phrases I have uttered there is one that stands out: “I couldn’t have done it without you.” After a difficult calving, or needing someone to hold a nut while I fire up the torch, or when I’m assisted by those rare souls who have the foolish tenacity to help me herd animals, this phrase means more to me than anything in the world. So to all the people who helped me this year, whether it was in finding the stapler (thanks Carrie) to moving my hay multiple times because I can’t make up my mind (thanks Brian), I want to say thank you and I couldn’t have done it without you. Here’s to rain, and grass, and many births, and lots of squash, to the sun being out with just enough rain to keep the irrigation equipment in the shed, to full CSA lists, to good cell counts, to twins, to new businesses and sales, to better beer, and thick honey. I wish the best for all of you, but just in case you need something, please don’t forget to hit me up. IT’S MY JOB.