Why do we raise cattle? I get asked this fairly often.
My answer started with, "because it's what my (then-new) husband loves." I always joke that I married into this business - even though Zane lived in an apartment in the city when I met him. But this --- this business, this passion --- it's part of him. And I married all of him. Even what I didn't understand...yet.
Early on, I was appalled with the way that money can corrupt this business. I always thought of farming as something that was family-centered and wholesome. Some of the things I've seen in this show cattle world are anything but .... and it started making me question a lot of things.
Opinion aside, I saw how the money can drive people to do things that I don't think they'd do otherwise. Everyone wants to win. Everyone wants to sell the high-dollar calf. Everyone wants to be that breeder. And it seemed at times that cheating, lying, or being deceitful might be the way people truly get there.
And then I started looking deeper.
At the real heroes of this industry.
There are countless people out there doing it right. Doing it truthfully. Doing it with integrity. And working their tails off to make it happen.
14 years in this and I can say I know why we do this. We do this because it's something we enjoy. We enjoy doing a project as a family where we can teach our now-12-year-old daughter about financial decisions, dedication, transparency, hard work, and dignity.
But more than that, we do it for the kids' faces I see in the ring when they win. We do it for the kids' whose faces we see when they don't win, but they still get to hold their head high after we talk about what an amazing job they've done working at Chick-Fil-A to earn money to buy feed and still made time to be a great student and work with their calves.
We do it because we believe in the genetics we've raised, we believe in the program we've created .... and we believe in this industry as a whole.
Sure, there are sour apples out there, but there are many, many hard-working families out there sacrificing so much to make this happen --- not just the cattle industry, but the show cattle thing.
And I couldn't be more proud to be part of this family.