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

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. 

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