New Agrarian Voices

Savannah Robar, APPRENTICE, Badger Creek Ranch, CO

First Month Reflection

My agricultural exposure was very limited up until high school. Even during high school, I had only a basic understanding of the agricultural world beyond growing flowers in a greenhouse for the annual FFA plant sale or packaging wheatgrass to ship out to Whole Foods. My college experience was equally narrow, bound mostly by my own lack of understanding and the desire to pursue creative endeavors, avoiding math and science classes like the plague.

Once I graduated, I could not even land an interview for a job, much less an actual job. I searched high and low, and settled on a camp counselor opportunity in North Carolina that paid about $2 an hour. I struggled through my role as a counselor, having little to no time for job searches. I was as lost as ever, wondering if I was capable of making it in the post-grad world. I was full of self doubt, my confidence was at rock bottom, and I watched my peers and colleagues as they succeeded: landing jobs at Groupon, starting their Masters in neuroscience…the list goes on.

During this time, I had been following an Instagram account representing a company called Ranchlands, and one day they posted an ad for a horsemanship internship in South Dakota. South Dakota sounded miserable, and an internship was not necessarily where I wanted to be headed after graduating with a Bachelor’s degree; but alas, here I was. I applied for the internship because of my lifelong interest in horseback riding, and what I got was much, much more.

From this position, I learned more about ranching than I ever knew existed – I thought the ways of the cowboy were made of myths and far-fetched dreams. I learned about self-sufficiency, about relationships, about confidence and leadership, about bison and horses and everything in between. From then on, I knew this was the direction I wanted to follow. I wasn’t sure how or where, but I knew that I somehow fit within the mess of it.

I continued with Ranchlands as a full time employee at Chico Basin Ranch as an education and hospitality coordinator, but I wasn’t getting my hands dirty, so to speak. Which brings me to where I am now – nearly on my way to a ranch I’ve never been to with people I’ve met only once to keep learning and growing within the agricultural community.

I hope this apprenticeship will give me more confidence in my direction, more knowledge and experience, and more freedom to explore the possibilities that lie in this industry. I hope to make connections and network, and continue to find like-minded people that are willing to help me along the way.

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