I’ve been able to see firsthand the effort into producing a delicious and high-quality product that we can be proud of sending to consumers.
My background in ranching has given me a good work ethic along with a strong sense of honesty, determination and respect.
All of these things are instilled in me and my fellow ranch kids by big jobs, responsibility and the ability to stand in awe of the old-timers.
From these old-timers, we’ve been able to learn countless skills that could not be learned from a scientist or regulation writer alone. This childhood of hard work has encouraged me to keep working in the agriculture industry and watch another generation of kids grow from the same stock I have.
This is why my belief in the sustainability and longevity of the beef industry only gets deeper with every passing day.
Beginning in the early 1800s, ranches began forming – small-time ranchers became cattle barons and towns like Abilene, Texas, became overrun by rail cars and massive herds of cattle the likes of which you’d have a hard time finding in this day and age.
These cattle were brought across trails stretched a thousand miles by cowboys who were loyal to a brand. This “cowboy era” laid a foundation for a new generation, based on hard work, determination and integrity – a life based on the cowboy code.
All of these things happened a couple hundred years ago, but their significance doesn’t have an end – at least I haven’t found it yet.
As I look at the things my family and I do on the ranch, I can’t help but wonder how it was all done back when cattle started booming.
They didn’t have chutes, fancy corrals or innovative vaccines to do most of the work, but they still got it done.
That’s because they used dedication, tradition and a willingness to learn along with a widely used method of raising cattle. I’m willing to bet they learned all of this the same way I did, from our fathers and theirs.
Knowing that such extensive wisdom and knowledge have been passed down from generation to generation, I am only encouraged, knowing that such diligence on the part of cattlemen cannot be easily diminished.
I have a passion for cows. Most ranchers that I’ve met have the same passion. They work well into the night making sure that our cattle are safe before winter hits, or stay with the same cow for hours, pushing and praying and working to help her get up after they pulled her calf, or ride through pouring rain to find the sick cow your neighbor told you about.
The pain and the callouses built from this work are not the result of a livelihood or a career; they are the result of a life wholeheartedly committed to the job that has been commissioned to them by their fathers.
They do this because they care so deeply for the welfare of their animals. Cattlemen do this every single day of their life – nights, weekends and holidays, not only for their cows but for their families, for their friends, for complete strangers and for the next generation.
I don’t see this kind of dedication ending any time soon, nor would our country be in a good place if it did.
The beef industry has turned out for many to be a great place to raise kids and cows, a place to cultivate friendships, to build a life and, most of all, a place to preserve the Western values and way of life.
I believe that this is something that no limits can be placed on – be it sustainability or longevity in question, the beef industry will always have an answer.
Abby Grisedale is the 2011 California Junior Beef Ambassador. Her family has a cattle operation in Bakersfield, California.
Abby Grisedale. Photo courtesy of Grisedale Ranch.