A woman’s heart: Ladies who tend livestock are special the world ‘round

Richelle Barrett
Ainsley Barrett (6) cons grandma (Debbie Molitor) into giving her some time in the saddle after they had paired a cow and calf up. Photo by Richelle Barrett

She is young, she is old, she’s every age. She’s a daughter, a mother, a sister, a wife. She’s a horsewoman, a cattlewoman, a farmer, a veterinarian. She’s a bookkeeper, housekeeper, and keeper of secrets and stories.

She makes traditions, and she bucks tradition. She cooks, she cleans, she breaks horses and breaks the dirt.

She wears high heels and cowboy boots and gym shoes. She wears slacks, dress suits, and blue jeans. She has a manicure. She has dirt under her nails. Her home smells like bread and stew and cow manure.

She spends her days tending to babies, to her fields, to her livestock, to the paperwork, and to her family. She prepares meals, prepares speeches, and prepares the machinery for more work. She isn’t afraid to get covered in dirt, in grease, or sweat, but loves being pretty and clean.

She drives a tractor, a combine, a team, an old feed pickup and an SUV. She’s every woman who is growing up ranching or farming, who is running her own operation, or who works in town to keep the dream alive. Her boots might not set foot in the field or her butt in saddle every day, but she’s agriculture, through and through.

She’s watched calves be born, lambs die, nursed colts and puppies and barn kittens back to life. She’s planted crops, waited for them to sprout, and prayed for rain. She’s prayed for sunshine, good harvests, good prices, and good health. She’s weathered the storms, and rallied.

She’s you, she’s me, she is every single woman who believes that agriculture is one of society’s greatest pursuits. She believes in providing food for others, in taking care of her livestock and her ground, and being a steward of the land.

To all the women in agriculture, thank you for sharing your love of this lifestyle with the rest of the world. May you continue to work hard, out in front or behind the scenes. You may go unseen, but not unnoticed. Your work ethic, your heart, and your ability to persevere is inspiring to so many.