New Agrarian Voices

Learn about the impressions and experiences of each year's cohort of apprentices in their own words.





Henry Harrington, APPRENTICE, Western States Ranches

May 2022

I studied anthropology in college and ended up writing my thesis about the origins of agriculture. During the time I was reading articles and books for that project, I also volunteered on an organic vegetable farm. Both my studying and my practical work increased my prior interest in agriculture.

Since I began college, I’ve thought about ways to find a meaningful career and lifestyle that do not cause as much damage to the health of our planet as most Western lifestyles seem to do. There are thousands of worthy causes, but when I think about some of the true necessities for humans to survive (and hopefully flourish), the ability to sustainably and healthily produce food jumps out at me. There is a great deal that needs to change about our lifestyles in developed countries, but it is hard for me to think of many things more important than achieving sustainable food security. This fundamental importance, coupled with my increasing certainty that I want to pursue work that is more engaging and active than sitting behind a desk, are big parts of what has led me to agriculture. 

Of course, sustainable agriculture is still a broad field. I enjoyed my past experiences working on an organic vegetable farm, but the scale of such operations is usually relatively small. I became interested in livestock and grazing management because it offers ways to regenerate soil health while caring for and managing larger swathes of land. That combination of sustainable food production with ecologically sound land management is such an exciting prospect!

My goal for this apprenticeship is to increase my knowledge and practical skills and learn as much as possible about grazing management, caring for livestock, etc. Before I started working at XK Bar Ranch, I had never worked with livestock and I was new to practically all the skills required. I have already learned a great deal and understand that this apprenticeship is just the first step in a (hopefully) long process of learning. 

My more immediate goal is to gain enough experience to truly be useful on a regenerative agriculture operation. I hope eventually to become qualified enough to manage a regenerative operation, even if I never own one outright. With each day I learn more about all the things I don’t know, but that’s what makes this process so invigorating.

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