New Agrarian Voices

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

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 calculating mathematical brain and mechanical aptitude that are the hallmark of such professionals. I pursued that dream through two and a half years of college before it was deflated. I was a young man with wildly varying interests and an eclectic skill set. I felt unfulfilled in my studies and the prospect of my future career left me with a hollow feeling. A run of hard luck around this time plunged me down into one of the deep valleys of life.

The great thing about valleys is that once you reach the bottom there is nowhere to look but up. Standing there in my valley I searched for purpose through self-reflection. This brought childhood memories of toiling in steaming gardens covered in dew, raising mud covered and happy hogs, collecting brown eggs that yielded deep orange yolks, perusing vibrant farmer’s market stalls, and pitching sweet smelling green hay. Likewise, long-repressed voices of those who influenced my parents in their homesteading and farming endeavors (among them old farmers, Joel Salatin, and the folks at Mother Earth News) bubbled to the surface.

I have always been ideologically opposed to the current corporate commercial agriculture paradigm and therefore never seriously considered a career in agriculture. I could not in good conscience contribute to the erosion of our planet and demise of small family farms. However, I realized that by entering the field of agriculture I could do all of the things that I loved while actively working to shift the mindset of today’s producers, resulting in a positive impact on the industry. I had found purpose in my life and felt a fire in my gut like I had never felt before. This realization led me to switch academic gears and finish with a degree in animal science where I gained working scientific knowledge and insight into the form of agriculture which I wished to change.

Upon graduating I knew that I wanted to be the boots on the ground promoting my idea of agriculture, not confined to a stuffy fluorescent-lit office. This combined with my newfound interest in the movement known as regenerative agriculture drew me to the Quivira apprenticeship program. Through this apprenticeship I hope to gain practical skills related to the care of livestock, an understanding of ranch economics, and knowledge of regenerative agriculture methods. More importantly, however, I hope to foster a meaningful relationship with my mentor and become an active member of this free-thinking, industry-changing, world-saving regenerative community. 

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...

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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...

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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...

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New Agrarian Voices – Natalie Berkman

New Agrarian Voices – Natalie Berkman

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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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....

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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,...

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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...

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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...

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