New Agrarian VoicesLearn about the impressions and experiences of each year's cohort of apprentices in their own words.
Katie Coverdale, APPRENTICE, Schultz Ranch
REFLECTIONS AFTER THE FIRST MONTH
My interest in agriculture stemmed at a young age. My father introduced me to the life of show stock, starting with goats and pigs, then eventually working my way to cows. As a child, I was always intrigued by the livestock, wanting to interact with each and every one I passed by. But as I got older, I started to be intrigued by the behind-the-scenes of the livestock that I was raising. From what went into their feed, to ways to improve their well-being while still mending to the desired traits that were specific to the type of show stock I was raising, to even the genetics and tracing back the ancestry. For my Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) in FFA, I got an amazing opportunity to volunteer at a local racehorse rehabilitation, called After The Races. At ATR, I saw horses that many people would have thought their issues were too significant, and these horses would have been euthanized. After The Races gave these horses a second chance at life, and made sure that when they were rehabilitated, they went to a home that was suitable for their needs, whether it be as a trail horse, pleasure horse, or a horse fit for a young kid. It was while I was volunteering at After The Races that I realized that my passion for animals and agriculture was beyond show stock. In high school, I attended a technical school, taking an agricultural sciences program. In that program, I learned about the science behind agriculture, and why things happened the way they do. From Gram stains, to growing bacteria, to soil health, to genetic modification and CRISPR, I finally got to learn the “why” behind agriculture. There was something about being able to see exactly why things happen the way they do, and being able to explain the factors and variables that was satisfactory to me. So as that kid who was intrigued by the show stock, and then went on to study everything behind my show stock, as well as the scientific aspect of agriculture, there was no way I could see myself working in any other field.
From this apprenticeship, I hope to gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the different practices in agriculture, as well as expand my knowledge on beef marketing and production. I want to learn how the soil health has an impact on beef cattle production, and vice versa. I want to learn how the different fields, such as welding, mechanics, science, and even math and engineering, factor into the production of beef cattle, and how everything goes hand-in-hand. If someone were to ask me about one thing in particular that I was expecting to gain from this apprenticeship, I’m not confident that I could give a solid answer. There isn’t just one skill, or one piece of knowledge, that would be able to suffice for beef ranching. So all-in-all, I would love to expand my knowledge on that “why,” and be able to have a better understanding of all of the factors that play into beef cattle production.
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