New Agrarian Voices

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

Isabel Snee, APPRENTICE, Barney Creek Livestock, MT

REFLECTIONS AFTER THE FIRST MONTH
May 2021

I wouldn’t describe agriculture as my interest, I would genuinely say it is my destiny. Honestly, growing up I was never exposed to farming and knew very little about it. On my first day working on a farm, I had to help with a cattle drive. As we ran the cattle along the road and into the pasture, I felt an overwhelming feeling course through my body. I felt raw, and real and whole. I felt truly alive for the first time, and I knew right then this is what I was meant to do for the rest of my life. I want to work, I want to farm, I want to live a vulnerable life in tune with the natural world around me. I feel like no matter how frustrating it is when the sheep escape or the equipment keeps breaking, or how heartbreaking it is when the calves keep getting sick, I still keep going. I don’t care how freezing or humid or how miserable the day is, the work will get done. The world may end, a pandemic may sweep the globe but I will still rise with the sun and keep farming. At times, I have had my doubts and many tears, but even on my days off I somehow find an excuse to come visit the farm or lose myself in a book about farming. That feeling inside, knowing that this is my destiny, it keeps me going. 

During my apprenticeship, I hope to get the experience of what it is like to operate a ranch daily and care for cattle. I am very interested in learning how to move cattle using ATVs, as I have only ever handled them on foot. I would love to learn how to rope, brand and doctor cattle in a larger, more remote setting. I would like to practice welding and improve my mechanical skills. I would like to learn more about irrigation systems and range management. In addition, I would like a better understanding of the process of leasing land, custom grazing and water rights. Understanding the business aspect of ranching is also incredibly important to me. From this apprenticeship, I hope to be immersed in the daily life of an agriculturist. I want to become a more confident, self-sufficient farmer. I hope to be challenged and pushed past my boundaries of comfortability for that is when one can truly learn. 

More Voices