Sunday, July 22, 2012

Back to the grind - after reflection and celebration

Greetings from Elkhorn Creek Ranch near the epicenter of the Bakken oil formation!

As the end of July is creeping up on us, I wanted to take a moment to share with you the love I have for my life and the livelihood that sustains our family.  Self indulgent, I know, but bare with me... there is just something about the knowledge that we are on the back end of summer that stirs reflection in the soul.

Since we turned bulls out the last week of June we have been focused on keeping water lines going, cows and bulls bunched and where they are suppose to be, attempting to control pests in our fields, planning for the arrival of the custom harvesters and arranging delivery of the Canola and Flax, and of course WE HAVE BEEN TRYING TO HAY!

Two days last week required parts runs, one to Prairie Implement in Killdeer and one to Anderson Vermeer near Sidney MT.  Here, dad adjusting the 8840's sickle mount after changing out a broken sickle bar.
Kyle napping in the back of the Ford in the hay field while dad and I were fixing on the 8840.  Haying season is tough on everyone!
The 'in the field' repair shop - tools on the Dodge and work space on the Ford.  Unfortunately, there is no AC in this repair shop.

The weather has been very cooperative with the exception of the heat.  July 2012 has been a hot one which is hard on plants, humans, and livestock.  We, unlike many areas of the country have been blessed with timely moisture keeping the forages and crops looking fair to midland (which comparatively speaking, we are most grateful for).  I wish the equipment has been as cooperative as the weather.  Alas, it has not.

In between all that is going on at the ranch, we have had reasons to celebrate.  To celebrate a way of life that few are fortunate enough to experience.  What brings this celebration to the forefront of my thoughts?  The Farm and Ranch Guide's Country Woman of the Year Awards Luncheon.

In June I received a phone call from Kathy White at the Farm and Ranch Guide , a publication that services over 38,000 farmers, ranches, and agri-businesses in North Dakota and the surrounding area.  She informed me that my mother had nominated me for their Country Woman of the Year annual award and that I had been selected as one of the six finalists.  This was exciting, but at the same time my self-talk was saying "I don't deserve this.  There are so many other women that do more for their farm or ranch, their family and their communities.  I simply do not deserve consideration for this award."

None the less, I was honored for the selection and honored to participate in the process, yet fairly naive as to what exactly that process included.

So last Thursday, we shut down the hay equipment, hooked up the trailer (killing several birds with one stone), loaded up a bobcat and a couple colts (all for delivery to places along the way) and headed to the two day interview and awards luncheon for the Farm and Ranch Guide's 2012 Country Woman of the Year.

It was a wonderful experience with the six finalists (alphabetically listed below):
  1. Myself
  2. Jill Brown of Berthold
  3. Sandy Laub of Elgin
  4. Karen Mitteness of Benson, MN
  5. Rita Mosset of Linton
  6. Misty Steeke of Rhame
As the Friday noon luncheon neared and people began rolling in, I started to realize that this award was a pretty big deal to the upper mid west and rural America.  There were approximately 300 people (from my rough table count) in attendance with numerous distinguished guests including 15 of the 18 past Country Women of the Year.  In addition, first lady Betty Dalrymple, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, Senator John Hoeven and candidate for US Senate, Heidi Heitkamp were all in attendance and shared their appreciation for the contributions of women in agriculture.

The thing that resonated with me in addition to the people in attendance was the support of businesses and individuals, through their generous contributions toward recognizing the commitment of women in agriculture to their rural lifestyles, their family businesses, their family members and their defined communities.

The winner of the 2012 Farm and Ranch Guide Country Woman of the Year Award was someone who couldn't be more deserving for all she does and the lives that she touches while being an incredible ambassador for agriculture.


To the Farm and Ranch Guide, to all those who support the process, to all those who celebrate rural America and appreciate the contributions of farmers and ranchers, THANK YOU! 

Please know from this rancher, that it is an honor and privilege to be able to tend to the resources entrusted in our care and to provide the highest quality protein in the world for a growing population.

Until next time, here is to doing what you love and loving what you do.

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