Carbon Ranch Initiative

Brady Lux, APPRENTICE, Moe Ranch, MT

REFLECTIONS AFTER THE FIRST MONTH

Perhaps due to my being dyslexic and as a result a painfully slow reader I still haven’t got through the Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leapold that I started reading when I was a sophomore in high school. However, there was one bit that stuck with me about how a thing is “right” when it tends to preserve the integrity of its surrounding community or something along those lines. In my opinion, there are few things in this world a person can be part of that are as “right” as agriculture. I think Leopold was referring particularly to natural biotic communities in his writing but the way I see it humans have a spot in that community and the best tool we have available to integrate our economic and social systems into the surrounding ecological community in way which is not excessively destructive to all parties involved is through agriculture. 

I have always wanted to be a farmer, but it has taken me awhile to fully understand what that meant. Growing up in a Forest Service family in North Idaho timber town I was around a lot of people who really cared about good land management. I saw how well-intentioned environmentalists effectively prevented the right management decisions from being made and in the process killed an economy and a way of life that had sustained communities for generations. As a result, I came away with a land ethic that understood the complexity of ecosystems and people and the importance of the working landscape. 

We had a neighbor growing up, “farmer Burnum” who had a few cows and would put up hay with his John Deere Model B tractor. It had a very distinctive sound and every time I heard it as a young child I would go out and watch what he was doing. From that moment on all I wanted was to have an old tractor of my own. I remember going to preschool and drawing a picture of a tractor and telling the teacher that I was going to be a farmer. After preschool I began to have my doubts as to whether farming was a viable career path. I decided it might be more realistic to be a mechanic or a geologist. When I was 14, I started working on the hay crew for family friends who were trying to direct market cattle and hogs. I would go stay on the farm a few weeks over the summer and help with projects. I was completely hooked on the lifestyle. This was also when I was first exposed to the ideas of Wendell Berry and I realized that I could I blend my love of machinery with my desire to create a sustainable working landscape into one thing. I have been trying to make that happen ever since. 

The more I have learned the more I have discovered new things that I still need to learn. I am still looking for the right path towards becoming an agricultural land manager and I hope this apprenticeship is the next step toward finding it. Often the best way to understand how to do something successfully is to watch someone who is doing it. More so than specific physical skills, I came into this apprenticeship hoping to see how someone puts all the little pieces together. There is so much diversity and complexity in an agricultural system and I think understanding how to balance all of the diverse and sometimes conflicting priorities together in a way that is successful is such an art. I think being exposed to good systems of decision making and prioritization will give me the tools to build a successful management system sometime in the future. 

More Voices

New Agrarian Voices – Peter Feehan

New Agrarian Voices – Peter Feehan

Peter Feehan, APPRENTICE, Seacross Ranch, MT REFLECTIONS AFTER THE FIRST MONTH I am certain that I am dedicating my life to agriculture. The specifics of this, however, are still unknown to me. I would like to have a regenerative farm or ranch. Where do I want to...

read more
New Agrarian Voices – Tyler Vandermark

New Agrarian Voices – Tyler Vandermark

Tyler Vandermark, APPRENTICE, Indreland Ranch, MT REFLECTIONS AFTER THE FIRST MONTH At 10 years old I knew I wanted to be an engineer just like my grandfather, whose towering presence and infinite knowledge enamored me. There was little doubt that I possessed the...

read more
New Agrarian Voices – Susan Elder

New Agrarian Voices – Susan Elder

Susan Elder, APPRENTICE, Charter Ranch, MT REFLECTIONS AFTER THE FIRST MONTH My path to working with Land has been a bit wandering. I’d like to capitalize “Land” because to me, Land is a character. Throughout the narrative of my life, Land has appeared (or I have...

read more
New Agrarian Voices – Rex Rutledge

New Agrarian Voices – Rex Rutledge

Rex Rutledge, APPRENTICE, Seacross Ranch, MTREFLECTIONS AFTER THE FIRST MONTH In college I jumbled around with a few different majors until I found biology. One of my first courses on my way to my biology degree was general ecology. I was hooked the very first day...

read more
New Agrarian Voices – Natalie Berkman

New Agrarian Voices – Natalie Berkman

Natalie Berkman, APPRENTICE, Milton Ranch, MT REFLECTIONS AFTER THE FIRST MONTH My experience in agriculture started in 10th grade when I realized the only job I was qualified for was working at a farm stand on the side of a busy road. I started the job with hesitance...

read more
New Agrarian Voices – Megan Schmidgall

New Agrarian Voices – Megan Schmidgall

Megan Schmidgall, APPRENTICE, Chauvet Ranch, MTREFLECTIONS AFTER THE FIRST MONTH As a typical youth of this generation I graduated from high school and went to college without knowing specifically what line of work I wanted to pursue. Instead of switching my degree...

read more
New Agrarian Voices – Jeane Stafford

New Agrarian Voices – Jeane Stafford

Jeane Stafford, APPRENTICE, Shultz Ranch, MTREFLECTIONS AFTER THE FIRST MONTH My initial fascination with agriculture began early on in my childhood. Between my deep love for animals and growing up raising livestock on the family farm in northwestern Oregon, my...

read more
New Agrarian Voices – Sam Schmidt

New Agrarian Voices – Sam Schmidt

Sam Schmidt, APPRENTICE, San Juan Ranch, CO REFLECTIONS AFTER THE FIRST MONTH My becoming involved in agriculture began with the hard realization that the assumptions I had made about my life’s trajectory were wrong. I had just finished a one-and-a-half-year stint at...

read more
New Agrarian Voices – Noelle Mcdonough

New Agrarian Voices – Noelle Mcdonough

Noelle Mcdonough, APPRENTICE, San Juan Ranch, COREFLECTIONS AFTER THE FIRST MONTH There were several forces at play that caused agriculture to find me and encouraged me to apply for the Quivira NAP apprenticeship at San Juan Ranch in Saguache, CO. Growing up in the...

read more
New Agrarian Voices – Julia Loman

New Agrarian Voices – Julia Loman

Julia Loman, APPRENTICE, Richards Ranch, CO REFLECTIONS AFTER THE FIRST MONTH My interest in agriculture began in the city of Detroit, Michigan, of all places. Fresh out of college, I found myself helping out at a tiny urban garden and learning how to grow vegetables....

read more
New Agrarian Voices – Ian Trupin

New Agrarian Voices – Ian Trupin

Ian Trupin, APPRENTICE, XK Bar Ranch, CO REFLECTIONS AFTER THE FIRST MONTH I am mostly a city boy, but with more childhood exposure to agriculture than many. Growing up, my family moved around between the United States, Zimbabwe, and Tanzania, and from a young age it...

read more
New Agrarian Voices – Dylan Jones

New Agrarian Voices – Dylan Jones

Dylan Jones, APPRENTICE, Sol Ranch, NM REFLECTIONS AFTER THE FIRST MONTH I first felt the call to agriculture just out of high school. I was fully caught in the woes of the current socio-economic systems and environmental concerns with no intentions of going to a...

read more
New Agrarian Voices – DeAnne Gabriel

New Agrarian Voices – DeAnne Gabriel

DeAnne Gabriel, APPRENTICE, Indian Ridge Farm, COREFLECTIONS AFTER THE FIRST MONTH I am a woman who follows her heart. Every time I feel the pull of something new, I marvel at how lucky I am to get to go with the flow and see where it will take me. From a life of...

read more
New Agrarian Voices – Dave LeFavre

New Agrarian Voices – Dave LeFavre

Dave LeFevre, APPRENTICE, Indian Ridge Farm, COREFLECTIONS AFTER THE FIRST MONTH Even though it has only been 3 weeks at Indian Ridge Farm it definitely feels like it’s been easily over a month! Every day has been filled with perfectly amazing sights and sounds,...

read more
New Agrarian Voices – Christopher Mellen

New Agrarian Voices – Christopher Mellen

Christopher Mellen, APPRENTICE, Round River Resource Management, COMy Pursuit of Regenerative Agriculture Happiness It was a dark and stormy night riddled with the sounds of raindrops sprinkling down on the tin roof of the hospital. Muffled screams were heard just...

read more
New Agrarian Voices – Charlotte Moore

New Agrarian Voices – Charlotte Moore

Charlotte, APPRENTICE, Tooley's Trees, NMReflections after the First Month   Before I wanted to be a farmer, I wanted to be a social worker. Understanding people, discovering why they are the way they are was one of my first passions in life. Quickly, I realized...

read more