Day Writing by Heather Hamilton Maude: If they only knew
It’s a tough year, and it’s a tough world right now. The devil has his teeth sunk in, and he’s not letting go. Folks are hurting, and those of us in agriculture haven’t been spared.
A couple weeks back a professor was visiting with me about the drought, and said he sure hoped my husband and I had a plan in place, or were starting to think of one.
If he only knew. That there is always a drought, flood, extra cold winter plan in place. That we starting trimming on the cows early this spring. That those who are left will see more variety in their diet this winter as we scrape and scramble to put necessary nutrition before them. If he could begin to wrap his head around what the feeding of a cowherd in a year like this entails. That everyone in our industry has a series of worst- and best-case scenarios playing in the back of their mind 24/7. With the humble acceptance that only God knows the actual outcome.
My husband got home mid-morning today after fighting fire all night. Said he and his fellow volunteer really lit up the radios when they walked by eight other rigs sitting on the highway to hit that grass fire and put it out. Was it safe? Did they have PPE? Proper training? What about a back burn from three sections away? When they made it to the other side, the other volunteers met them, fighting from the opposite direction.
If they only knew. The true value of grass not only to the landowner, but to their own food supply. The nearly literal slap in the face it is to see them sitting on the sidelines, drawing an oft-taxpayer derived salary, while at least one taxpayer’s lifestyle goes up in smoke. That they are a well-planned coup by someone who figured out combining a fire fighting force that only gets paid while the flames ravage and are trained in safety to the point of uselessness with a strong environmental agenda could potentially be the end-all to animal agriculture.
Speaking of which. What about the wild horse? The prairie dog? The wolf, grizzly bear, spotted owl? Are they okay? If the general public only knew. The private landowner is the first and best provider and protector of natural ecosystems. They love land and animal alike to an immeasurable degree. The very practices they have to defend are almost always in the best interest of the landscape as a whole. Their privately purchased improvements are the difference between life and death for countless species, particularly in a drought year. They are being duped regarding the environment in more ways than even the average critical thinker can fathom. That if and when the private landowner ceases to exist, so will all the things the majority of the environmental community believe they are fighting for.
Some are going to solely support local farmers and ranchers through buying direct from them. To hell with the terrible, awful factory farmers/big guys. Everyone but the gal (like me) who sells at the local farmers market is pure evil. If they only knew. While buying local and supporting individual farmers and ranchers is awesome, the key to our nation’s safe, abundant and affordable food supply isn’t singularly found in this system. The large-scale guys are necessary. They’re doing a good job. They’re one and the same as the farmers market vendors in some cases. As a whole, American farmers and ranchers are the best in the world at what they do. If they took a moment to realize the end product on grocery store shelves is the result of consumer demand and preference. That if they shop with one, the other does not have to become an enemy.
What if they knew all of the above things are only temporary. Tangible. Earthly. What if they knew there is a battle between good and evil that we are destined to live through, but which we also already know the outcome of. That while these things are of importance, they are not of the utmost importance. That there is a God who loves us, and will always provide and care for us, even when the dirt is dry and the sky filled with smoke. We need only place our soul and life in His care.
What if we knew? The difference it would make if we placed our primary focused on the latter instead of the former.
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