Tonight while scrolling through my facebook feed I came upon this picture posted by Kaylin Maree Schimpf.
I immediately started to cry. This picture sums up our industry. What we are made of. Integrity. Humility. Courage. Strength. Passion. Pride. Dedication. Community. Adversity.Love. and most of all HOPE.
Reading the posts of the ones who have lost everything to the fires has lit a fire in me to share their story with the world.
I’ve discussed with multiple people, that if this fire had happened in a more urban setting where thousands of houses or so called “acres of houses” resided, that this would be a national headline story that would be plastered on news channels 24/7. Instead it happened in rural America where there aren’t as many houses but what many Americans don’t realize–is that the “houses” in this setting are cows-horses-sheep-etc.
I believe the uninformed American doesn’t see the true devastation this fire has caused. These people didn’t just lose their homes and some grass. They lost everything. Those cattle—that grass—-it’s their livelihood. Some of those cows could’ve been ones that have been passed down generation to generation through genetics and replacement programs. Those cows may have been as special to that rancher as most dogs are to their owners in the world today.
We often get ran in the ground by misinformed consumers. Take the pain of losing a family pet and multiply that by however many head of cattle these ranchers had. That is their pain. What that misinformed consumer sees as a cow who is given antibiotics and never sees green grass is actually a cow that is taken care of like she is a pet.
I wish I could load up every single misinformed consumer and take them on a tour of the full process from the time the calf hits the ground to the time it is being served with a side of fries on their plate. We are open and willing to show them. We are open to show them how well we take care of our animals. I pray that when my children are my age that the gap between the consumer and the production of their food is much smaller then it is today. If we keep Agvocating I believe it will be.
After finding this picture posted by Kaylin Maree Schimpf I won’t lie I looked at most of her posts on Facebook. I don’t know this woman but after reading her most recent posts, I want to be her friend. Her and a group of people have been trucking hay into the panhandle. Her posts are powerful and meaningful. She begs drivers to be respectful to the CONVOYS of trucks hauling hay bound for these communities that so desperately need it.
The fact that there are CONVOYS of hay headed already into the aftermath of this fire speaks volumes as to the type of people ranchers and rural Americans are. Our industry, our people, we are RESILIENT. I can’t even seem to find the right words right now to describe this glorious industry and the people it contains.
I read a post this morning from a lady who said she had stumbled across multiple ranchers who were already out of ammunition to continue to put the rest of their stock down that wasn’t going to pull through and the day was just beginning. Could you imagine? I can’t. I couldn’t imagine pulling the trigger on that many of my own cows strictly because that was better then watching them suffer. It would be hard but anyone in this industry would do it, if put in that situation—because we genuinely care for our stock.
I haven’t heard a number or percentage of cattle that has been lost to these fires. Like most ranchers, I don’t think they want to hear that number. I wish I had the financial means to help these ranchers but I don’t. Instead I will pray and use my words to spread their message to spread their story to those that need to hear it. I wish I could do more.
Today they had the first funeral for one of the men who lost his life protecting what he loved……I read the following story about his wife and his children. I cried yet again.
Ranchers lost their lives protecting their stock yet they are still viewed as treating their animals with cruelty.
Young ranchers lost their lives….CONVOYS of hay headed to the aftermath of the fire…Ranchers having to put down what remaining stock they do have…..grass that is now just ashes…babies with burnt bodies missing their moms….momma cows bawling for their babies who they lost in the fire….
Pray for our country who doesn’t give respect where respect is due………
God knows if I saw a convoy of trucks headed west hauling hay…….I would be bawling my eyes out…..I would be crying for those who have lost everything and I would be crying because I am so gosh darn PROUD to be part of an industry that will bend over backwards for each other.
Rural America may be covered in ashes now…….but that won’t hurt our industry. What does hurt our industry is the misinformed consumer who makes their choices off assumptions and misleading information. I am begging anyone that enjoys a hamburger every now and then to open their eyes. If we gave up…..there would no longer be an american staple on the menu. It would be a sight to see if the American rancher disappeared off the earth and we were left to raise a calf from start to finish…..I think the world would be full with a heck of a lot more vegetarians because they wouldn’t have the tenacity to do what the American Rancher does.
So out of the ashes……will walk the American Rancher because you can’t stop them from doing what they love. They will face every adversity thrown at them and keep doing what they do because they love what they do that much. So the next bite you take out of a hamburger at your favorite restaurant–think of that rancher who just lost his son because he was tending to that burger you are eating—think of that rancher who just had to kill the last of his stock because it was the humane thing to do…….think of that rancher who has been hit with fire, disease, market prices plummeting , rain and storms, consumers bad mouthing his practices and just about everything under the sun…….think about how passionate she/he must be to want to continue doing what they do…….
THINK ABOUT THE AMERICAN RANCHER…..BECAUSE RIGHT NOW THEY NEED ALL THE THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS WE CAN GIVE THEM……..
Wonderful article. I cried too. We had a cow go down after calving a few years ago. A neighbor loaned us a lifter so we could get her up twice a day and roll her over. After three weeks and no progress we were advised to put her down. My husband had to work that day so it was my job to kill her. She was tame and we had had her a long time. She was looking right at me but I knew I had to pull the trigger. I just stood there crying and told her I was so sorry. I’m crying again typing this. I can’t even begin to imagine what they are going through. We have a wonderful neighbor with a backhoe who I called to see if he could bury her for us. He also farms and knew how hard it was to lose an animal. He said he would take care of her and for me to just stay in the house so I wouldn’t have to see it. Farmers take care of farmers!!
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This is such a heart breaking situation,. If we can help hurricane victims and fisherman who lost their life’s work due to a serious oil disaster, we can help farmers, too. We need people who care. I’m so very sorry about the loss of your animal(s). I love animals. How can people help you from other places even if we are not farmers.
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You did an amazing job writing this. This is a topic that needs to be heard and you did a good job covering it! I shared it on Facebook and have seen many other people sharing it also, so well done!
Thank you so much!
I read you words with tears burning my eyes! I have tried to share these stories, so city people might see what is happening , and hopefully open their hearts and checkbooks to help these farmers and ranchers in this enormous disaster.
A beautiful and much-needed post. With your permission, I would like to reblog this.
Oops, and because I have several blogs listed, I should specify, it would be going on my Shadowdance Farm blog.
As long as it’s just shared and not copied as a new piece.
I will hit the ‘reblog’ button and give you full and complete credit. Thank you!
Okay lol. I’m new to this blog world. Thank you!
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Kaylin, your reporting speaks for hundreds of thousands of folks out here in rural America, we who are unable to put our hearts and minds into words that mean what we think. You have revealed to America and the world our “roots in the soil of our lives” and how agricultural bonds us uniquely as a huge family, all in one. Whether a farmer, a rancher, a water well driller, or the supplier, banker, preacher, barber or clerk in the small communities we live around, or if from Minnesota, Colorado, Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Maryland, California, Alaska, etc., etc., all rural folks everywhere, shore to shore, have one thing in common, OUR God Tested Strengths!
Thank you once more for explaining that in humility lies kindness, close family, close communities, Strength, Faith, and purpose. WE, Rural America, are RED, WHITE ,AND TRUE BLUE!
(I am a 74 year old cattle rancher in Crane County, Texas. Our 22 section ranch is a small family operation that often survives through drought, wind, fire, low cattle prices; also, a few good years. We, however, have always understood that “The Work of God” demands faith and patience. Our roots are in the mostly unforgiving sands and rocks of Southwest Texas. Our heads and hearts are lifted Up to the Face of God, because we came from the fertile soils of Central Texas, The Brazos River Basins, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee more past two hundred years, For, you see, our great, great, greats were tested by the soil and the grain too, and we have their blood.) KMcK
Thank you for your sweet comment and reading my blog!!!
You understand us. I am truly grateful for your journalism and intend to follow your blogs as much as possible.
Reblogged this on and commented:
Reposted by permission from FarmWifeForLife because it needs to be read and shared.
Beautifully written but heart breaking.
God bless all those folks and animals who have and continue to go through the mental and physical suffering. I can’t even imagine.
God bless all of those who are rallying around with the support they can offer.
I have read a few of your posts lately in regards to the fires. I grew up on a ranch in Montana and just recently moved back to the ranch from Galena, Alaska. A few years ago, Galena was flooded and declared a National Disaster. 90% of the town was evacuated. I know what it is like to live through a disaster that leaves you with nothing and how it is to rebuild from this. My heart goes out to these ranchers and I want to help. Do you know of any organizations that are going in with volunteers as of yet? I would like to organize some people from here to help in whatever way we can.
I really believe that the liberal media has ignored a conservative state. It’s truly sad. God bless everyone & every creature involved in this tragedy. Thank you, to all who care.