Livestock writer honored for fair, accurate writing | TSLN.com

Livestock writer honored for fair, accurate writing

Freelance livestock writer Heather Hamilton-Maude was honored recently by the Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts for her outstanding writing and photography skills.

According to the group, Heather was given the Outstanding News Reporter recognition. "This award recognizes individual(s), entities, publications, etc. that are the most active and influential in the writing and presentation of conservation news to the public. This award is based on examples provided by nominee of press coverage of conservation district events and projects and general coverage of natural resource issues."

State president Shaun Sims said the group chooses someone who has "gone above and beyond to showcase some of the projects we've done and to report the truth and facts about conservation."

He said the committee searches out someone who writes stories on valid issues affecting Wyoming producers, and who fairly and accurately reports these topics.

"We were very pleased to give Heather the recognition she deserves for promoting Wyoming, its precious natural resources and the Agriculture way of life. She has done an outstanding job with her blogs, photography and writing. Each year the Wyoming Association of Conservation District's recognizes one outstanding individual. Heather's efforts are far reaching as she travels to D.C to lobby., writes great articles and publications on many topics effecting Agriculture and does photo documentaries on a great way of life. She is passionate about it and it shows in all she does. Her latest work on Atlas is outstanding. The Niobrara Conservation District is happy to call this Niobrara native one of our own," said Lisa Shaw, Niobrara Conservation District Manager.

For the selection process, several pieces of Heather's work were evaluated. This is a piece she wrote in 2010 named, "Heather is Ag-Thankful."

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I am ag-thankful because it has provided generations of my family with an unprecedented way of life we love dearly, and work hard to preserve for future generations. I am thankful to be a rancher because it's what I love to do more than anything in the world, and very few people get to do something they love as their profession. While not an easy lifestyle choice, being a rancher has instilled a love for all things on God's earth within my family members and myself. I have a firm understanding of life and death, and the importance of both. I know what it means to work hard, fully commit to a task, and give it your all every time you step out the door. I understand the unexplainable feeling of being physically exhausted and mentally content after a hard days work. I know what it means to care for land and livestock, and the feelings that come with success and failure in those areas.

The more I learn about the world and the majority of my generation, the more thankful I am for having learned these life lessons through my rural upbringing. It's an unfortunate truth that most people my age haven't learned them, and likely never will.

Feeding the world isn't the quickest way to get rich, but it's the most fun in my opinion. I am so thankful I am involved in an industry that is quality based, where hard work is rewarded through increased value of the final product. I love good, black cattle, and my world revolves around raising them. I embrace the challenge of continually producing a better product for the consumer and myself.

I am thankful to be surrounded by people who work hard day in and day out to feed our nation and world. To know, that when visiting friends and neighbors, a prayer of thanksgiving is given more times than not before everyone sits down to eat. To be in an industry where there is so much to be thankful for, and to have been subjected to enough hardships to recognize and truly appreciate the good things in life. I am thankful I have a dad who wouldn't feed my brother and I dinner until we fed the bum calves we had forgotten, and in doing so taught us the importance of caring for what we have. A dad who also wouldn't feed us until we finished cleaning the chicken house we had done a mediocre job at the first time around, hence teaching us to do it right the first time.

In a world that has an increasingly unrealistic view of where their food comes from, I am thankful to be in a position to share the truth, and to live it. I love ranching and appreciate all the people who share a similar passion for other aspect of agriculture. I am very thankful there are still people who embrace the challenge of providing food and fiber to the the world, even as those challenges continue to change and increase.

Heather Hamilton is a sixth generation rancher from eastern Wyoming who now lives and works with her husband near Scenic, S.D.

As the owner of Double H Photography, she photographs weddings, seniors, families and ag-related events, as well as cattle, horses and landscapes. Beef cattle genetics are her passion and she enjoys selecting replacement heifers and buying bulls that perform in specific ways for the family ranch.