BEEF Daily

Raising Kids In Ag & Building For The Future

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Our industry’s greatest contribution may be in creating solid leaders for tomorrow.

I was recently reminded of a quote by Theodore Roosevelt. Our former president once said, “I do not believe there was ever a life more attractive than life on a cattle farm.”

I think Teddy had it right. Growing up on a ranch instilled in me a hard work ethic, a strong set of core values and a respect for the land, the animals and the tradition of working with both in an honest day’s work to feed my family.

Whether or not kids who grew up on a farm or ranch return to production agriculture or not, these skills are carried on into their adult lives. These values are what make youth in agriculture the most sought after segment by employers.

After attending a beef ambassador contest and listening to the speeches of the young people, BEEF columnist Troy Marshall talked about the importance of parents being strong role models to ensure youth in agriculture grow up to be adults with integrity.

“As an industry, parents and mentors, we have to be very cognizant to ensure that the junior livestock programs don’t paint us in a negative light, due to a few individuals who are willing to push limits on food safety and animal welfare guidelines in order to win. As a whole, however, I don’t believe there are many youth programs that do more for kids than junior livestock programs,” he said. “Obesity, drugs, declining morals, and a lack of understanding of the values that made this country great tend to not be problems with the youth in rural America. And I’ve come to believe that, while agriculture is busy feeding the world’s growing population, our industry’s greatest contribution may be in creating the solid leaders of tomorrow.”

Although your primary crops might be hay and cattle, remember that kids are also a product of your farm or ranch. Invest in these young people. Give them responsibility. Teach them more than just the basics. Show them how to figure a feed ration or fix broken machinery. Encourage them to invest in cattle and watch their savings grow. Today’s young people are tomorrow’s leaders, and I’m keen to remember that as I work with my younger sisters. Their future, and the future of all farm kids, will be stronger because of the lessons they learn on the ranch today.

Discuss this Blog Entry 4

Anonymous (not verified)
on Jun 17, 2012

Amanda, I want you to visit with Caroline Black. Caroline is a graduate student at Texas A & M. Visit Farmer's Fight and watch the Youtube StandUP for Agriculture. Caroline is an impressive young lady making a difference in Agrigulture.

Tana Beckstead (not verified)
on Jun 18, 2012

This is so true Amanda! Thank you so much! As a mother and rancher I too believe that my children need to learn responsibility and all of my children have their own cattle and horses to take care of. From the time my children were able to sit up by themselves they have been on a horse, either with their dad or myself or have been in the seat of a tractor learning about farming and ranching. I value the lessons that I can teach my kids from growing up on a farm! I have good kids because of it and I am told many times by many people that I have good kids! I am not only farming but I am raising the next generation of farmers and ranchers!

Bob Gwilt (not verified)
on Jun 18, 2012

Hi Amanda
Sorry to read in Beef that you have a Gluten problem. My 15
year old grandson also has a simalar problem and we find that
there is a lot of gluten free stuff in the stores.
Good Luke
Bob Gwilt

on Feb 21, 2014

I have two kids that I love and I always try to show them the beauty of living at the countryside and having a profitable farm. However, I don`t want to spoil my kids, the last time I bought a gift for my daughter was the last Christmas, she really wanted to have American girl doll clothes and I bought it for her. I was born in Louisiana and spent my whole childhood at my family`s ranch, I learned a lot of valuable things that helped me later to build my own farm.

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BEEF Daily Blog is produced by rancher Amanda Radke, one of the U.S. beef industry’s top social media “agvocates.”

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Amanda Radke

A fifth-generation rancher from Mitchell, SD, Amanda grew up on a purebred Limousin cattle operation in which she and husband Tyler are active. She graduated with a degree in agriculture journalism...

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