New Agrarian Voices

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

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 towards eating a salad and ended it with the passion to become a farmer. I spent the hot, muggy summer days sorting and arranging peaches, nibbling around the purple bruise of every peach that was unsellable. Eating half-rotten peaches on an upside-down milk crate, I became very intimate with that little 100-square-foot patch of grass next to our public library. I anticipated the box turtle’s visit from the woods every afternoon when we put out the compost, and found rhythm in the return of familiar flowers. With sticky peach juice all over my face and itchy arms from the fuzz, I grew to love that little piece of ground and the delicious food that came with it. While currently learning how to manage land on a much larger scale, I still carry the curiosity and wholeness I felt for creating a relationship with land during those early days of my agricultural journey. 

 

I don’t have a perfectly clear vision of my long-term professional goals. I see a pixilated image that includes cattle, community, dogs, and lots and lots of grass. My image becomes clearer with new experiences, especially ones that push me into unfamiliarity. I moved to Montana from Colorado a year ago and lived in a small tack shed, spending most of my days farming alone. I spent my free time having long, meaningful conversations with my boss’s 7-year-old son about everything from dogs, cats, and why it’s okay to cry. I learned about horse training and watched NBA games with my farrier neighbor, and learned how to quilt under the expertise of powerful women. Most importantly, I fell in love with our cattle, sitting and observing, watching them until sunset. These experiences led me to this apprenticeship, where I hope to continue to grow roots in Montana’s ranching community and build an enduring relationship with my mentors. I want to learn about the complexities of our land ecosystems and listen to the stories of people dedicated to bringing our land back to life. Storytelling holds a lot of power to effect change. I want to create my own narrative of land and love to contribute to the growing story of good agriculture.

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 – 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 – Brady Lux

New Agrarian Voices – Brady Lux

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...

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, COTAKE A PEEK INTO THE DAILY LIFE OF AN APPRENTICE BY READING THEIR RESPONSES TO THESE QUESTIONS.   What is something you do every day? I let the chickens out, collect eggs, feed them, and shut them in every day. Most of my...

read more
New Agrarian Voices – Dylan Jones

New Agrarian Voices – Dylan Jones

Dylan Jones, APPRENTICE, Sol Ranch, NMTAKE A PEEK INTO THE DAILY LIFE OF AN APPRENTICE BY READING THEIR RESPONSES TO THESE QUESTIONS.   What is something you do every day? I wake up on the right side of the dirt, surrounded by beautiful country. What items do you...

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