Often I get a chance to ride along in a truck with the Rancher for a portion of the day to get to where the work is and during that time I have an opportunity to visit about their family and the ranch history and so forth. Usually I start by asking them to tell me about their family and the ranch. As a whole the ranchers are a diverse group and every family story is different. Some stories start 5 or 6 generations back while others are first generation ranchers. Some things are common amongst the ranchers. Passion is something that all share. They have passion for family, passion for our country, for the land and the people in it, and passion for the animals on the land.
This gets me to the point of my writing today. Before I started visiting members of CNB over 4 years ago, my expectations were that the ranchers were in it for themselves, that raising cattle was the important thing and that nothing else mattered. But after 4 years of spending real time with the men, women, and children of CNB, I can tell you that nothing could be farther from the truth.
Here are a few things that I have learned from Country Natural Beef members over the last 4 years:
-A handshake is as good as gold, and they are true to their word.
-They have what they call the ranchers circle. All get an equal say from young to old, regardless of economic standing, political party, or religious affiliation.
-They don’t “own the land”, they pride themselves as stewards or caretakers of the land, and take that responsibility very seriously. I believe that part of the drive to care for the land is to improve it for future generations. Principles and family values seem to drive these families to be the best they can be.
-Doing the right thing matters. In an age when it might be a lot easier to look the other way, or not get involved, I see CNB ranchers take active roles in working with Government agencies, biologists, Universities, Tribes, Environmental advocates and special interest groups to discuss common ground and to come up with solutions that benefit all.
Such is the case with the current challenges of the Sage Grouse, Wolves, and of course Wild Horses. Based on what I have seen and heard over the last four years I am sure that CNB ranchers will be right in the middle of working on some serious solutions for these and other challenging issues, and not just putting a pretty face on it.
That is what I love about the members of CNB. They are who they are, and who they are is pretty damn good!