Today, we hosted a field trip from a local school as a part of their Agriculture in The Classroom program. Agriculture in the Classroom is an organization that has state-operated programs that carry out their mission. Their goal is to teach kids in K-12 about agriculture. They define an agriculturally literate person as “one who understands and can communicate the source and value of agriculture as it affects quality of life.” We are excited to be able to work with them because we believe that teaching kids about agriculture is important for the future of the beef industry and all of agriculture.
It’s important for kids to grow up understanding where their food comes from so that they are better able to make good choices and not be swayed by misleading marketing. From social media to books to statements by celebrities we hear lies about agriculture being spread every day. People believe that we are ruining the environment and being cruel to our animals. These things could not be further from the truth.
You can see then why we were thrilled to be able to host a field trip and share the way that we actually work towards being good stewards of our natural resources and animals. Stewardship of our natural resources is one of our elements of purpose and it is a core part of our business. We put a ton of value on this because we understand that the future of our industry is so much brighter when we take care of what we have been given.
So what did we actually share with the kids? We talked about what it means to be a good steward. We shared about how we utilize grazing management programs that help keep our grasslands healthy while turning grass into high quality protein. We talked about the importance of our water resources and how we take care of them.
Taking care of our animals is also incredibly important to us, so we shared some of the things that we do to take of them. We manage herd health carefully. We work with veterinarians to develop herd health plans. We vaccinate our calves, cows, bulls, and horses, and we treat them when they’re sick. In the feedlot, cowboys ride through all the cattle every day to find any that might be sick so that they can treat them. We make sure they always have food and water. On some units of the ranch this means checking wells all the time or moving cattle when the water in a pasture starts to get low. We feed hay to cattle in the winter so that they can stay healthy.
We are also always willing to improve. We collect a lot of data to tell us how we are doing, where we need to improve, and to track changes over time. We are continually learning new things!
The best part of the field trip was by far the questions from the kids. It was exciting to see a new generation interested in agriculture. There were so many wonderful questions asked. If you have a chance, Ag in the Classroom is a wonderful organization to support! You can find a link to the main organization’s website here, or the Wyoming program here.