New Agrarian Voices

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

Jesse Pinkner, APPRENTICE, Moe Ranch, MT

REFLECTIONS AFTER THE FIRST MONTH
May 2021

My Great Great grandparents bought nine square miles of land in the panhandle of Texas in 1917. This land has been in our family for over 100 years, not only is this place a safe haven for family retreats but it was also where I was able to learn basic cattle ranching at a young age. My grandparents ran a small “hobby-heard” of Black Angus on this property and from them as well as a network of creek neighbors I was exposed to agriculture in a truly inspiring landscape. It was here that I first became interested in agriculture. At a young age I saw how people could rely on themselves and their community to provide food, infrastructure, friendship and family to each other. What more could you need in life? It was always my dream to one day move onto this family property and become a steward like these people I looked up to. As I went through school in the city of St. Louis people left the area around the ranch and it started to seem like I was missing my chance to learn about this way of life. My highschool sweetheart and I got married and thought this would be an impossible way for us to make a livelihood. After graduating college and starting adult jobs in the city we almost gave up hope. That is when my wife learned about the Quivira Coalition and the New Agrarian Program. We applied to the Moe Ranch in Two Dot Montana and after a couple of zoom interviews we realized that this was the place we wanted to learn, live, work and play. We were ecstatic when we found out that Shane Moe agreed.

After the first week touring around the Moe Ranch it was obvious that we had so much to learn from Shane. We were put in charge of the feeding rotation for 450 head of cattle and just like that we were on our way to learning about regenerative agriculture. My goal in entering the NAP program was to learn to be a steward of the land, to take care of the land by running cattle with a holistic mindset. Some of the things that I hope to learn to help me achieve this goal are rangeland management, planning rotational grazing, low stress livestock handling, cover cropping systems and to become more knowledgeable about soil health and its role in our ecosystem. One of the many inspiring things about Shane Moe and the Moe Ranch is that the cattle, grasslands and riparian zones are all treated as an ecosystem. This ecosystem needs to be worked with instead of against. We have monthly meetings with Shane to make sure that we are getting the experience that we need. It is because of this and so many other reasons that I know I can learn the things necessary to be able to achieve my goals for this year in the New Agrarian Program.

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