New Agrarian Voices

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





Jeff Courchaine​, APPRENTICE, Indreland Ranch

How did you get interested in agriculture? And what are you hoping to gain from your apprenticeship?
May 2024

After leaving the military, I tried a number of different jobs but none gave me the sense of fulfillment I was looking for. I sat down and took a detailed look at what I valued, enjoyed, and required. I realized a career in ranching and agriculture checked all of the boxes I was looking for.

Most importantly, I wanted to continue to serve. This was the primary reason I joined the military, and was something that needed to continue to be present in my life in order to be happy. Working in agriculture allows one to serve their community, state and country by providing the food everyone needs to survive. You are part of a greater picture, rather than just focused on yourself. You are a contributor rather than someone who simply takes. You have the opportunity to shape the way forward for future generations. In addition, I believe it is important to assimilate into the community you choose to physically be a part of. There is a reason you moved from another place to here, and it is important to uphold the values, customs and trust of those who built the community before you arrived rather than trying to change it after you get there. I see agriculture as a pillar to any healthy area, and by working in it you are able to strengthen the foundation of your community by demonstrating your willingness to serve.

I love the outdoors and working with animals.  It was the wide open space, wildlife, scenery, and beauty that drew me to Montana. A career in agriculture allows me to spend the vast majority of my time in the elements, interacting with nature and animals each and every day. It is extremely rewarding to nurture and care for other life, whether it is grass or cattle, dogs or creating habitat to preserve native species.

I hope to gain a general knowledge of agriculture from my apprenticeship. I have had only one short experience in agriculture before this.  I realize I don’t know what I don’t know. I believe in order to be successful in any industry, you must start from the lowest rung and gain as much knowledge and experience as possible as you progress and pay your dues. I am happy to experience whatever I can as I start this new journey and hone in on what aspects of agriculture really resonate with me.

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