New Agrarian Voices

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

 

 

 

 

Montana Caise, APPRENTICE, Indreland Ranch, Montana

REFLECTIONS AFTER THE FIRST MONTH
May 2022

As a product of a midwestern grain farm, with farmers making up the majority of the family lineage as far back as I am familiar with, it’s hard to say precisely where and when my interest in agriculture began. In my younger days, I relished any chance to ride along in the tractor or combine, and eventually found great satisfaction and pride in being a part of the operation myself. I guess I took that for granted at the time, because a life in agriculture didn’t truly appear on my radar until years later, while trudging through an engineering degree and longfully reminiscing my “good ole days” in the shop, the cab of a tractor, or even a trench full of mud. Even so, upon graduation I felt pulled in other directions and ultimately it took living in a whole new environment in northern Uganda to awaken me to some of the true value of agriculture and its prime potential for the forging and restoration of both an individual’s character and the ecosystems they ought to be a part of. 

It’s been five years and numerous detours since I returned from that experience in Uganda, and much has changed. I now find myself working as an apprentice here at Indreland Ranch in Montana, and let me tell ya – I could not be more thrilled. I’m thrilled to have mentors that I’m sure are among the best, thrilled to work closely with fellow apprentices who fan the fires that motivate me and who bring joy and laughter to even the mundane or miserable moments, thrilled to be working and learning in direct pursuit of values that are important to me, and thrilled to be in a location and lifestyle that encourages me to slow it all down and actively observe the beauty happening around me. 

One of the things I appreciate most about ranching is the breadth and depth of subjects to study – there’s more to learn in this field than I’d ever be able to master, even in several lifetimes. Though I may never master them all, I do hope to finish this apprenticeship with the skills, knowledge, and overall aptitude to successfully manage regenerative operations elsewhere, and perhaps someday an operation of my own. More importantly, I hope to leave here with the courage and confidence to take on those endeavors, and the resilience to march on when I inevitably encounter failure and difficulty. Most of all, and one of my primary reasons for pursuing a Quivira apprenticeship in the first place, I hope to leave this program with a solid community of friends and mentors to walk this road with.

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