More than “Just Beef”

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I was lucky enough to go home and spend time with family. My family includes some four legged friends, such as the horses. I managed to sneak in some time to go riding. Kernel and I were off.

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But first…let me take a horse selfie! This is my buddy, Mr. Kernel

I am at peace when I am on my horse, miles away from the closest person. There is something about being able to completely disconnect from the world and unwind in the great outdoors. I was out riding the fences, to ensure they are in good condition to keep our cattle safely in the pasture and off of the road. You never know what you might find on a ride. During our ride, we found three eagles, a herd of antelope, three mule deer, several rabbits, and an assortment of birds. This truly is one of my favorite parts of being able to spend time on the land is seeing all of the wildlife.

Both cattle and the wildlife can thrive off of the same land. This weekend, when I saw all of the wildlife they were just across the fence from some of our mother cows who were grazing peacefully with their calves. The pastureland provides feed and habitat for all sorts of animals.

These trees have all been planted by my family within my lifetime. It is exciting to see how huge they are growing!

These trees have all been planted by my family within my lifetime. It is exciting to see how huge they are growing!

These animals are a great reminder as to why it is critical that we take care of our land, and ensure we leave it in better condition than we found it. I come from the part of the country where trees are scarce to say the least. Every year, my family and I plant trees on our land to provide habitat for wildlife. This summer when I was out planting trees, I found a little reminder as to why it is so important to take care of the land. This is a turtle dove nest that I found below one of the trees. Life as a prairie bird is rough! The prairie does not provide much to shelter the nests for theses delicate eggs. It was really exciting to see the birds actually using the trees to keep their nests hidden.

 I did not want to disturb the nest, so I did not insert anything for scale. The eggs were about the size of a quarter. Pretty tiny for a great big world!

I did not want to disturb the nest, so I did not insert anything for scale. The eggs were about the size of a quarter. Pretty tiny for a great big world!

In the winter, our slithery friends are not out and about, which makes me very happy. Even though I am not a fan of snakes, they play an important role in the ecosystem. I am not a fan of the rattlesnakes that tend to inhabit this area!

A friendly garter snake I found this summer

A friendly garter snake I found this summer

In the end, farmers and ranchers produce much more than just beef. In fact, open space—primarily managed by cattlemen—provides habitat for 75% of America’s wildlife. Just about every time I am outside working, I see wildlife. It is exciting to see on a firsthand basis how we really do share this space with these wild animals.

Rachel Purdy
Princess Farmer

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