This is an article from the June 2017 edition of NAAE’s News & Views Newsletter. To read News & Views in its entirety, please visit this link.
Cowboy Logic: “Don’t expect the scenery
to change any if you’re sittin’ on the fence.”
I have small cattle operation and I am trying to make it grow. In doing so, I have joined up with a partner that has a bunch of commercial cows and owns most of the land. Allan works for CHS on the marketing side of the company, and is gone a lot around the country doing trainings and helping CHS personnel. Consequently, I am also gone away from home, so partnering together kind of works. This past weekend we hauled cows to the mountain pastures from the Horn Ranch that we lease, and where we put the bulls in to accommodate smaller breeding pastures. We have two different places in the Blue Mountains that we split the herd up and take them to. I manage my cows and Allan's half on the Cayuse Range, and Allan manages the group that go to Ukiah. Both places are beautiful this time of year, and I wish I could just translocate to those mountain pastures and go nowhere ever again. However, life just gets in the way. As we unloaded the last set of pairs, Allan and I started talking about our plans and schedules over the next month. Allan has a daughter that just got on the Round-Up Court, and he explained that every Saturday from now until September, he was responsible for taking his daughter to parades -- next week he was in Montana and...... I explained that my scenario was much the same with baseball games, livestock shows, rodeos, and NAAE responsibilities. We decided it was a good thing that we were working together because if we were each on our own, we would never see the cows again.
The other thing that happens this time of year is that the six NAAE regions come together to have their regional meetings. When I was a young teacher, I assumed that these meetings were just for our state officers, so I never concerned myself with going to one. After a couple years of teaching, I was encouraged to help our state association start up a newsletter, so I was elected into that position and got the Ol' Yeller back into print. In doing so, I was to go to the Region I meeting in Cody, Wyoming. I never knew a guy could have so much fun with a bunch of ag teachers from other states. I learned about different legislature that was happening on a state-by-state basis, and was able to tour some of the most famous ranches in history. The after-meeting activities were a lot of fun as well and included a poker run and a buffalo riding contest. After that inaugural year, I have tried to make it to every Region I conference, from hosting one to setting another up in Hawaii. Each one has provided me with a tremendous outlook on teaching agriculture in different states, and the tours that I have had the opportunity to see have ranged from the state of the art lumber mills in Idaho, to carrot harvesting/processing in Arizona; from Buck Knives to the Pendleton Woolen Mill; from high schools that have their own meat processing facility, to one that grows bananas from sprout to hand in 12 months. My scenery did changed once I got out of the state, and every year I bring back new stories and examples to share with my own students.
These conferences are for everyone that teaches agriculture and we need everyone's voice during these meetings to allow NAAE to keep on growing and to continue to be the grassroots organization that it is. The committee meetings are where we need your attendance. The committees get the information from you that will improve our organization and keep it moving forward in a direction that will assist agricultural educators in the classroom. I have never regretted going to a regional conference, and if you want to know what is out there, you need to get off of the fence!
Currently, NAAE has recently hired a new Membership Coordinator/Program Assistant to help in the NAAE office. Her name is Ms. Ashley Hood. This position became available because long-time NAAE employee, Linda Berry, has retired from NAAE and the University of Kentucky. We are excited about this new position and how it can help our members. Also, take advantage of NAAE activities to keep you active in the organization, such as the NAAE Virtual Book Club. Don't forget about Communities of Practice as we head into summer -- maybe it's time to revitalize that ag business class -- CoP can help you with resources and lesson ideas. Lastly, plan on attending your regional conferences -- you won't be disappointed!
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