Yesterday we all saw the news of the raging wildfires in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. As most of us in this area (Central MO), I’m sure we were more concerned with the weather coming in–and for good reason. After last nights storms passed through I got the kids back to sleep and then went to bed not thinking about the fires consuming the other states.
This morning I woke up to a heartbreaking story on my Facebook feed. The kind that made me cringe and left me with no appetite all day.
Four young ranchers were lost to soon. The story I read this morning was about a man and woman. Cody Crockett and Sydney Wallace. A third name was released this afternoon, his name was Sloan Everett. I didn’t know these individuals. I’ve read numerous stories on facebook and other media throughout the day about them . It has been said they were out trying to save their cattle. This evening I’ve also read reports of another man who lost his life due to the fire–Cade Koch.
I have to say I’ve never met an industry more wrapped around values, strength, gratitude and hard work. Farmers and ranchers often get a bad wrap for not taking care of their crops and stock as well as those who know nothing about the industry would like us to.
Just yesterday after reading dozens of stories about the avian flu found on a chicken farm in Tennessee I was in disbelief of the comments knocking the family farms and the way we raise our animals. Granted there were plenty family farmers politely responding to the comments and graciously asking those with concerns to ask us questions. Most of the comments were along the lines of the filthy conditions we raise our animals in and how we are about the money and doing anything in our means of making more money even if it affects the quality of their food. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
These four amazing individuals from the Texas panhandle- CODY CROCKETT, SYDNEY WALLACE, SLOAN EVERETT and CADE KOCH are proof of how well we take care of our stock. Proof of how much those animals mean to us. Granted, I don’t know the story. I assume they were out there doing whatever they could to let their herd loose granting them a chance at survival. I would like to think most ranchers would do the same.
I think those not involved in the industry can’t comprehend how much our stock actually means to us as farmers and ranchers. Most may just see a cow or a bull that they think is a cow. I personally see a certain cow that is maybe first to the bunk every morning or a cow who is an amazing mom. I have a cow that has such a huge spot in my heart because I raised her from a bottle calf. My father in law named her sugar and her tags in her ear read in huge letters- SUGAR and she is one of best mommas. Or the #8 cow who is spunky and full of life and has a white patch on her left side. 8904 who is the only white face cow who has a soft spot in my heart. Heck even the bulls have their own temperament and personalities.
I pray so hard for the families who lost these precious people. They are husbands, brothers, sisters, daughters. They are someones everybody and it truly truly leaves a pit in my stomach. I can’t imagine what their family and friends are going through. I do know that we need to pray for them. Pray for them so hard.
Along with the lives of these individuals thousands of acres have been destroyed along with plenty of cattle ( I have yet to hear a figure). We need to pray for those who have lost either.
Outsiders looking in who know nothing about our marvelous industry may think so what, its a few head of cattle and some grass that burnt. It’s more then that. It is ranchers livelihood. Their passion. Something they may have worked for years building.
If it’s one thing I do know—those facing this awful tragedy will come out on the other side with their head held high. One thing I do know about farmers and ranchers is that we are strong. We work together to help those in our industry that need us. We face so many challenges–mostly due to weather and this strong wind did a doozy on some fellow ranchers this go around. So I urge you to pray, to listen to their stories, offer encouragement or help if possible.
Ranchers are generations and generations of STRENGTH. We will continue to provide great care for our stock that feeds the country even through the tough challenges we face.
Rest in peace dear ranchers. May God be with your families and friends and may he be there for those who have lost their cattle and acreage.