City Girl Marries A Cowboy – Finds Happiness On The Ranch

Jul 24, 2022 215.1K Views 942 Comments

Far out from the Rocky Mountains in Eastern Colorado is place where the locals stay true to their traditional ranching ways. Join me as we meet the them and learn why one woman decided to leave her urban lifestyle for a much simpler one on the ranch.

Flying Diamond Ranch (Will, Charlie, Lauren):
https://flyingdiamondcattleranch.com/
https://www.instagram.com/flyingdiamondcattleranch/
► Lauren: https://www.instagram.com/laurenparkerjohnson/

Collins Ranch (Amy, Haley, Tess)
https://www.facebook.com/KitCarsonRuralDevelopment/
http://kitcarsoncolorado.com/

► Video edited by: Natalia Santenello
► Researched by: Kymberly Redmond

♪ country ♪
♪ country ♪
Good morning guys,
here in Eastern Colorado
and in today’s story
we’re gonna meet some cowgirls
and some ranchers
those who have either
moved from the cities to here
or grew up here,
went to the cities, and came home.
Now there’s more of a trend going on
in the United States
with people moving to rural areas.
What are they finding here
that they can’t find in the urban areas?
Why is there more of a draw
to this very remote lifestyle?
What can we all learn from them?
Let’s do this.
♪ country ♪
– When you’re branding the animal…
– [Peter] Uh-huh.
you wanna do it really quick
and if it’s a single iron
it’s one thing you put on
versus some of them are, like
three letters and you have to kind of…
– Hi.
– [Peter] Good morning
– Peter.
– Nice to meet you.
– [Peter] Nice to meet you.
– [Peter] Lauren, your story is
you moved from Boulder, right?
– Yes, yes.
– [Peter] And how did you meet a cowboy?
– I met his sister first.
So his sister lives in Denver.
She, you know, a few months later said
“You know, my brother,
he lives in a town of 250 people.”
“You know, I have to kind of
have to meet people for him here.”
[laughter]
“So would you be interested?”
– [Peter] You had agents, Will, helping you out?
-She did, yeah.
– I went to college on the East Coast.
At like 23 I moved back.
Whatever age I was, moved back here.
This is a million acres,
our county is a million acres
Cheyenne County in Colorado
and in those million acres
there’s 1,200 people
and I did like a mental math
The criteria’d just be an 18…
Or 22 to 32, women and single
and there was three hits.
[laughing]
There wasn’t a computer algorithm.
I went through the phone directory
and there was three
with the criteria being woman,
22 to 35, and single.
– [Peter] And all your friends probably
knew them at one time
– Yeah, so…
My sister lived in Denver
and I lived literally in the bunk house.
– [Peter] Let me show you
guys here out the window.
There are no houses around
and it’s just ranch 365 around here.
[child crying]
– Poor guy.
– [Peter] Where’s he going?
– He’s going to Bible camp.
– [Peter] Okay.
– [giggles]
– Around here you’re like
“All right, well there’s not
many things to enroll your kids in
– but this is one.”
– [Peter] Sure.
[giggles]
– [Peter] We’re gonna go brand,
is that what you said?
– We’re actually gonna go tag
a new baby calf.
– [Peter] Oh, tag, okay.
– Yeah.
– [Lauren] It’s a small community,
there’s 250 people in our little town
and so everybody
kind of knows everyone
and you know who’s teaching your kids.
In my opinion it’s sort of
the best case scenario.
And so you can’t be out of line
in a town like this, right?
-Right.
-Because if you are
you’re gonna be called out?
Correct.
Because there’s only 250 people
there’s an importance to understand that
we’re all in it together
and we have to kind of
all figure out a way to get along.
What I find so neat, being a mom
I know that what we value at home
is going to be reflected and encouraged
in the Kit Carson community
-and in their school.
-Okay.
And I just have no worries
that they are going to
be good people
by the time they leave this community
because they’re surrounded by
all these really great people
and I think…
You know, I don’t know that
I necessarily had that growing up.
I grew up in suburbia.
Country clubs, private schools.
We rode bikes around the neighborhood
and stuff like that
but I think almost the bigger you get…
– [Peter] Mm-hmm.
– I think my sixth grade class was…
I think it was actually
600 people in that class
and you can just get
lost in the shuffle so quickly.
And out here, no one’s getting
lost in the shuffle.
If someone’s struggling, we’ll see it
and the community will help.
[door closes]
All right, I distracted Lauren
with the questions.
This is the tagging process.
So it’s a process?
Yeah, I mean, again, if they’re…
– [Peter] Okay.
– [Peter] Are they like bear and
they get very protective with their…
– Horses and cattle
they’re a prey animal
and the way that they see the world
– because they’re prey…
– [Peter] Mm-hmm.
– You know, is going to be very different
than how we see the world
because our eyes are
in the front of our heads
you know, as a predator.
Their eyes are on the side
so that they can scan
and see where that predator might be.
– [Peter] Oh…
– So understanding
that what scares them
and what they’re noticing, shadows…
They might stop and look at something
and it’d be something
we’d never see
but it’s a shadow that they see
and they don’t know what it is.
I think a lot of people
will see that with horses.
Where you have to sort of
get them used to things
so that they understand
that they’re not in danger.
– [Peter] Attempt number three.
Here we go.
[calf mooing]
Okay.
It’s okay, mama.
You’re okay.
Uh-oh, this falling…
Oh, my tag fell off.
Oh, here it is.
– [Peter] It’s like an earring, basically?
– It is, yes.
That’s a good way of saying it.
[calf mooing]
It doesn’t hurt at all.
You got it, buddy.
There we go.
Okay.
[calf squeals]
Here we go.
Get this tag in.
I’m doing it upside down
but that’s okay.
[mooing]
– [Peter] And that’s it?
– That’s it.
[cattle mooing]
Good job, mama, good job.
-[sighs] That’s tagging a calf.
– [Peter] That stressful?
– Yeah, it is a little bit.
– [Peter] You said 65 just calved over the hill.
– [Peter] So that’s the whole point
of tagging, just so you can…
Identification and you know
what cow is what cow?
[calf mooing]
So you put heifers…
So a heifer is a female cow
and we go with them on the left ear…
[calf mooing]
and then bulls on the right.
And that’s just for us.
So you can see all moms, obvious females
they have it on the left
and then that’s the mom right there.
– [Peter] Okay.
[calf mooing]
– So yeah, when we do these ear tags
we correspond the tag to the mom’s tag.
So if there’s ever an issue
we have abandoned calf number 10
we can go find her mom,
put them together
and kind of given them a second chance.
I was a little nervous to do
my technique on how to tag
in front of the camera
but I think it’s, A, it’s accurate
and two, when I’m ear-tagging
I want to interact with that pair
as briefly and as effectively as possible.
You know, these are new moms
and there’s that impression
phase or whatever when they’re new
they’re bonding,
they’re trying to get that.
We want to come in and do a few things.
So you have to balance that.
Yeah, you’re interfering with them.
You’re kind of causing the mom stress
and maybe the calf stress.
So yeah, my thought is to do it as quickly
and as efficiently as possible.
– [Peter] He just said an hour
outside of the womb?
– Yeah.
– [Peter] So the birth just happens
right out here in the field?
– Correct, yeah, yeah.
– [Peter] So you just have an eye out here,
you know when this stuff’s happening?
– Yeah, well we’re in day 25 of calving.
So yeah, you kind of refine it
after 25 days.
[chuckles]
– [Peter] What are you smelling there?
– [Peter] Oh, yeah, yeah.
[sniffing]
– It almost smells like rosemary.
– Yeah, uh-huh.
– A little bit.
– Lauren has purged our house
burning the sage.
– [Peter] You burn it?
– I do a little…
[all chuckling]
[laughs]
– [Peter] You’re an ex-hippie
or you still have the hippie in you?
– Still got the hippie in me.
– I do a little sage…
– [Will] I think it’s a resurgence of late.
– It was like dwindling and now…
– [Lauren] Yeah.
– [Peter] Has it gotten into you, Will?
– [Peter] Has it made it through?
– No, I’m a lost cause.
– [Peter] So, tell me ranching
philosophy out here.
This is all your ranch?
– There’s a creek bottom down here.
I don’t know if you can
really distinguish that
but that’s kind of a border
and the south of there
is some neighbors but in essence
though there are some things I point out
that are in the neighbor’s but…
We’ve been out here since 1907.
On the same ground and
interacted with it and…
Kind of our fundamental thing is
this prairie, these grasslands
this ecosystem evolved
from my understanding
and kind of our belief
through the migratory path of the bison.
-How they did it for eons.
– [Peter] Okay.
– Kind of through predation, be it wolves,
or coyotes, or whatever was chasing ’em.
Bison got really tight in a herd
and yeah, anything that strayed from
the herd got picked off by the predators.
So it was reinforced
to stay in a tight herd
and supposedly those were
up to a million head in a herd
and they would migrate through and hit
this prairie.
Graze off of it and then
keep moving on because
A, they would eat all the grass
and then B, the predators were coming.
So they were migratory.
They would hit something really hard
and then move on
and that’s how the grasslands evolved
– [Peter] Oh…
– And kind of the systems they play off
were based on that interaction
of intense grazing
urine, manure spread
hoof impact breaking in
the old decaying grass into the ground
and stuff like that.
So our ranch’s philosophy is
mimic nature, work with nature
get back to the natural way of doing it.
And we’re capitalists.
We’re doing that for
a financially stable business.
We appreciate and like the ecological,
the green ramifications of it
but we take a lot of pride that
yeah, we’re coming from it
from running a business.
– It just blew my mind, you know?
Here I am, sitting in Boulder
and I’m having this experience
of contemplating like…
Should I even eat meat anymore?
Is it okay to eat meat?
You know, I’m hearing about
all this animal cruelty
and hearing about how animals
are now being in, you know…
Raised in factories
and I just thought
“Well I don’t want to contribute
to something that’s causing harm.”
and I meet my husband.
Well, not husband yet
but we’re dating at the time
and I come out here
and…
And it was just like,
“Wait, cowboys still exist?”
“This way of life is still real?”
“There are cows on grass?”
I literally didn’t understand
the basic notion
that cows still ate grass, you know?
[laughs]
– [Peter] You were that detached?
That detached, yeah.
And I think I…
The information I was receiving or reading
painted a picture that our food system
was no longer connected
to nature in any way.
It was no longer connected
to the natural world.
It was done in these
smoke stack buildings.
– [Peter] Okay.
– And so yeah, it just blew my mind
coming out here.
It turned my world upside down
and really, it became something where I
understood that
I wanted to start questioning
everything that I read
and understood that there’s no way
for me to understand
something unless I live it
unless I am in it, unless this is
my day to day life and…
– [Peter] You didn’t turn vegetarian?
– I did not, no.
I came to the ranch and I…
– [Peter] Would that have been tough, Will?
If your wife turned vegetarian?
– I would have disagreed
with the lifestyle choice
but my brother, he married a vegetarian
and she’s our CFO.
– [Peter] Oh, that’s interesting.
-Yeah.
– [Peter] We gonna meet her?
-She won’t be here, no.
– [Peter] Okay, okay.
– [Peter] But it’s interesting, the food thing
like anti-meat but then nice leather
couches, and nice leather purses…
– Right, right.
– [Peter] So where’s the connection in that?
You think it’s just that disconnected?
The thought, like you didn’t think
they ate grass anymore?
People aren’t understanding that
it’s actually leather from a cow.
– Right, yeah.
I mean a couple generations ago
people had grandparents or uncles
or somebody who ranched or farmed
and now we’re in a place where
majority of people don’t have
any connection to agriculture.
The day in and day out life.
They don’t have that human face
that they can say
“Well, I know them.”
“And if I know them, I know I can trust.”
“I have a certain level of trust
in how my food is being made.”
– [Peter] I drove by a ranch yesterday.
I don’t even know what you call it.
This is what people think a lot of times.
It was just thousands of cows packed in.
– Feed yard.
– [Peter] It’s a feed yard?
– Yes.
– This is a simplification
of the cattle industry
the beef industry in the United States.
There’s three elements, there’s the
rancher, the producer that have
the mama cows that have the babies.
We’ll call those the ranchers.
– [Peter] That’s you guys.
– Yep.
– And then there’s the feed yard.
Which is confined feeding
and that’s where you finish your meat
and then there’s the packers,
the slaughter house.
The cows in the United States
are born out on grass
and the mother cows
live their lives out on grass.
Be it in Missouri, Florida,
Montana, Texas, Colorado.
Each spring we’ll say,
they have their babies
Half of ’em are girls,
half of ’em are boys
That baby lives on the ranch.
So they go through
the first summer with their mom.
The first winter, they get weened.
The next summer they go out on grass
as a teenager.
– [Peter] Mm-hmm.
– And about 20 months of age
they enter into a feed yard
and get finished for five months.
Get ’em all fattened up
good marbling
and then they go to the packing plant
and get killed at 25 months of age.
– [Peter] So they’re living their best lives here?
– Yeah.
Yeah, yeah.
[chuckles]
I think it’s a very natural life.
This is how cows were developed.
They’re out there day to day.
They’re grazing on grass.
They’re moving to new pasture.
They’re not interacting with men, humans.
They’re just kind of with their mom
doing the natural thing.
“Is this gonna be the experience I have
in the beef industry
where I can no longer support
what is going on here?”
I was really afraid
of what I was going to see.
We walked to the door.
This bright young girl
greets us and she’s like
“Come on in,
we’re excited you guys are here.”
and it was that feeling of like…
It wasn’t corporate.
It felt…
The relational family
and anyways, they weren’t hiding anything
and they took us through
the whole facility
from I think we started at where
the meet is frozen or refrigerated
and heads into grocery stores.
We went all the way,
worked our way back up to the kill floor.
The whole entire time my objective
was to see how are the animals treated.
What I cared about more than anything was
does this feel right?
Is this moral?
– [Peter] Yeah.
– And what I walked away with was like
I could not figure out another way
besides killing an animal out on the field
and harvesting it right here. [laughs]
You know, I couldn’t find another way
that I thought was more
respectful of the animal
and I didn’t see any suffering.
I didn’t see anything that I felt was
wrong or immoral about it.
But it hits you in the face, it’s death.
You know, it’s absolutely death
and it’s death on a large scale
and I think for me
I think a lot of people
don’t realize that families
are still raising their food.
I think that has been completely
lost from the conversation
and I think it’s 95 or 97 percent
of farms and ranches are family owned.
– And that’s who’s producing meat in America.
– [Peter] Really?
– Yeah.
– [Peter] That, I would have never guessed.
– Yeah, and I think that’s what has gotten
confused in the conversation
and there’s not faces like us.
– [Will] We have abundance of grass
and then water is a limiting factor.
I think studies are like, cows can
effectively graze about a mile
probably more accurately
a half mile from a water source.
It’s called a bulls eye effect.
Where close to the water sources
they’ll degrade the ground.
They’ll over graze it.
They’re lazy animals,
or just as lazy as humans and…
We built a lot of water infrastructure.
So any square foot of our grass
has something on it
five, seven days a year
and from that you get
intense utilization five days of the year.
Then they have 360 days of rest
and that lets root systems get vitalized
mineral cycles to go,
the soil health to get going
and all these ecological benefits.
– [Lauren] I just noticed there was
a bird that flew away from the grass
and usually that means there’s some eggs.
I don’t know what kind of bird that is.
– That’s how we think of holism.
It’s holistic ranch management
or something like that.
It’s the genetics of your cows
the community your ranch…
your family lives in.
How your family gets along
living in the middle of nowhere.
The grass, soil health, water…
You bring it all in together
and that’s the final score card
is yeah, you have a lot of cool season
grasses and warm season grasses
and if the migratory birds are here,
and the deer population is healthy.
You’re running the cattle
and they’re doing well.
They’re breeding back
and all this comes in
the family’s getting along well
and your community’s doing well
If you get that holistic equilibrium
or thrivingness
then I think you’re kind of
going in the right direction
and then things are kind of sustainable…
– Is it pretty hard to get?
– Oh, very hard to get.
[all laughing]
I don’t think we’ve got it and I think
the other story is once you get it…
– [Peter] Then it’s gone.
– In that one year, yeah.
It doesn’t mean it stays forever,
it could be gone.
[birds chirping]
– [Peter] Will, what are you cooking up here?
Right, right.
– [Peter] Pretty much everyone’s doing
the ranching thing out in these parts
or a lot of ’em, a lot of people?
– Yeah.
Ranching, drilling, farm.
– [Peter] These are your daughters here?
– Yep.
– [Peter] So grew up helping you ranch?
– Yep.
– [Peter] But you moved out,
or you live here?
– Currently in college right now.
I go to CU Boulder.
– So I’ll be a senior there.
– [Peter] Okay.
– So a little different than
Kit Carson for sure.
– [Peter] How’s that been coming
from here going to there?
Do they understand where you’re from
or you have to explain a lot,
or how does that work?
– It’s funny ’cause when we
compare class sizes at college
no one really believes that
I only had eight people
graduating from my high school
but I think they don’t really comprehend
what it’s like to live out here.
Or even when they ask me like,
“What’s the closest Starbucks?”
and I say,
“An hour and 45 minutes away.”
I think it’s really hard for them
to believe that we spent
18 years of life
living here without
a Starbucks to run to.
– [Peter] But working on the ranch too?
– Yeah, yeah.
– People have a hard time
understanding like you’re saying
is that a big problem right now?
The coasts let’s say,
New Yorks, LAs
It’s a totally different universe.
That’s what I feel at least
driving out here
It’s like..
It’s actually almost refreshing in a way
because it feels very…
People look you in the eye,
they shake your hand.
It seems like the word is the word
– But I don’t know, I’m a newbie.
– [Amy] Yeah.
– I’m in the honeymoon period,
it all sounds good.
[all laughing]
– Well, I think all these guys
they were all encouraged by their parents
and our kids are encouraged to
go try, do something else.
– [Peter] Okay.
– And then come back, you know?
Will studied abroad in China.
– [Peter] Really? I didn’t know that.
– And Charlie in Belgium…
You know, go out, go to a college, get out
see something, do something else
and then come back
and apply those skills here.
– [Peter] Okay.
– Ideally…
Whereas you don’t really
have anyone in the city saying
“Hey, I’m gonna go
spend some time in rural America.”
then come back.
[chuckles]
You know, it doesn’t work both ways.
It’s not set up to work both ways.
– [Peter] So there’s a lot in
the States, especially with COVID
people are moving from urban areas
to rural areas.
I see it all over this trip
starting in West Texas
up through New Mexico, Colorado.
I don’t think you have
many people moving out here but
what would your advice be for
let’s just use the stereotype…
What would your advice be for
Californians moving in to rural America?
[all grumbling and chuckling]
– It sucks.
We don’t want the Calif… No.
I think that is happening.
The urban to rural but where
that is happening is like sexy rural.
You know, the Montana
with the mountains in the background
or the fly fishing stream.
Unsexy rural, you know, here
or panhandle of Texas or flat dry places
it’s not getting that.
It is not getting…
– No.
– To an extent, we need it.
Amy has done a lot of fantastic work
on economic development out here.
We need people out here.
I think when our dad graduated
in 1978 from this school
there was like 90 kids in high school.
When I graduated there was
26 kids in high school.
– [Peter] Okay.
– That just makes our…
It’s hard to have sports teams.
There’s no services,
all the businesses in town shut down.
– [Peter] So you guys want people coming?
– Yeah, to an extent, we don’t want
a Walmart popping up tomorrow
but yeah, we would like some growth.
– [Peter] And just a little pause here on the steak.
Fantastic steak
[all laughing]
Cooked to perfection.
From the ranch?
– Yeah.
– [Peter] I was in Rocky Mountain,
Colorado let’s call it.
Southern, the Rockies,
I don’t know the town
and when I said I was coming out here
there was like this pessimistic…
[scoffs]
[all laughing]
“You’re almost in Kansas.” [scoffs]
– Yeah.
– [Peter] It was like this judgmental
type look
and I’m sure they’ve never been out here
really or interested but…
– Yeah, it’s so funny ’cause I probably
grew up being that I was in
you know, Denver area and then
I spent a lot of time in the mountains.
I probably had that elitism
and I probably said so many things
my whole life that was like
“Oh yeah, you know it’s just
Kansas out there.”
“It’s nothing out there.”
“It’s boring out there”, you know?
“The real Colorado is the mountains.”
I definitely said that, felt that
and it’s funny because now
I just love this landscape
more than any landscape
I’ve lived in.
It’s so unique
and it’s so beautiful
and it does feel like
this secret that I’m like
“I don’t really know if I want it
to get out ’cause this is so great.”
[laughter]
– [Peter] So you’re now the person
you used to sort of judge?
– Oh yeah…
– That mentality has
only further ostracized us
and only further…
– [Peter] What mentality?
– Just “leave us alone”
“We don’t want anything to do
with the rest of the world”
Well, then they’re not gonna want
anything to do with us
and we’re just gonna get
stepped on harder and harder.
We have to reach out
to the urban community
and try to break down that divide.
‘Cause we’re proud of our lifestyle.
We’re proud of how we raise animals.
We’re proud of our communities
We gotta announce that
and broadcast that
or we’re just gonna get
more in our bubble.
And the way some people say it,
if we don’t tell our story
that means someone else tells our story
and they’re not gonna tell it
the way we want the story told.
So I think our industry and our
communities have to do a better job
of telling our story rather than
wait for someone else to do it.
I don’t think it’s story telling
in the sense like…
I think transparency is the answer.
I don’t think we need to
bubble package what we’re doing
-in a specific way.
– [Peter] Right.
– I think, literally…
We’re not ashamed of anything
and I don’t think there’s really
much to be ashamed of.
We just need to give transparency
and give understanding and yeah
I think what Charlie’s kind of saying is
yeah, the ranching community
the people that have evolved out here
yeah, we are like,
“Hey, we won’t bother you.”
“You do what you wanna do.”
and so we have that precursor
kind of approach of like
“Oh, I’m not worried about you
so you guys probably
aren’t worried about me.”
and I think that has hurt our industry
because yeah, the stories they’re telling
are yeah, factory farmers
and cows that are in cages
and all this stuff
and there’s no accuracy to that
and yeah, our industry just
needs to get more like Charlie said
not passive reactive
but get out there in front of it
and give our story
or open up our books
and show the transparency.
I don’t think we have to
manufacture a story
and I think just from that simple thing
there will be a lot of the bridge…
The gap will be bridged.
– [Peter] Right.
– And yeah, there’s probably things
that we do need to do better
as an industry and as our practice is.
I think the world now understands that
Yeah, back in the day if some hillbilly
went out and broke up farm ground
in the panhandle of Oklahoma
and caused the dust bowl
well, you know…
he could do it.
but there is inter-connectivity.
Is there carbon sink out here?
Is there…
Now what ranchers are doing
might impact people’s livelihood in
China or anywhere else
from a climate change…
– There is that inter-connectivity.
– [Peter] Mm-hmm.
– [Peter] So what about the
environmental argument?
I don’t know much about it
but cows are terrible for the environment
a lot of methane, right?
Isn’t that the argument?
– Yeah…
I don’t know the science behind it.
I think my position is buffalo
were out here doing the same thing
a long time ago.
– I think there were more buffalo
before Europeans showed up
to the United States
than there are cows now.
Yeah.
So that alone makes it pretty illogical
that there’s this great methane problem.
– Yeah, ’cause methane
has a half life I think of
30 years or something like that.
So it is a more powerful greenhouse gas
but from what I understand is that
in 30 years that has been
broken down out of our atmosphere.
Whereas…
And it’s also, as Charlie was saying
with bison, this is part of
a cycle, you know?
Whereas fossil fuels are
coming out of the ground and being…
That’s not a cycle.
This is their manure.
How they impact the grasses.
That methane is part of
a whole ecological cycle that
is supposed to be here.
And again, it’s natural
and I think that’s what is
being missed from the conversation
is this is part of the cycle because
actually grain-finished animals
produce less methane than grass.
Grass is that ruminant.
That chemical process in their stomach
creates methane from grass.
So, [chuckles]
it’s the way it’s meant to be.
– I mean, I’m not a scientist.
You know, it’s hard to…
and that’s a very scientific topic.
I think our industry’s scientists
would kick the cr*p out of
the environmental scientists
in the debate about it.
I can’t have that debate
but what I can do
is like Will said, transparency,
bring people out here.
I don’t think I’ve ever
had someone come out here
and we’ve brought
our sister’s friends from Princeton
friends from all over.
I don’t think anyone’s ever
come out here for two days
spent real time on the ranch
and then concluded at the end of it
“Oh my God,
this is horrible for the environment.”
You know, I think
we just get ’em out here
and show ’em what we’re doing.
– [Peter] Right.
– I think it speaks for itself.
– [Peter] And your connection
with the cows and the land
I think that’s something that goes
overlooked a lot of times.
Like maybe it’s looked at
as this savage relationship
where you’re just killing a bunch of cows
but no, it’s a lifestyle
and I’ve seen it in my last couple weeks.
From West Texas all the way up to here.
It’s an identity too.
It’s what people do.
And then you realize how much
people are caring for the animals
and the land because that is
what gives them prosperity.
That’s what I’ve seen at least.
I’m sure there are hacks out here
doing it terribly.
That’s just humanity.
In everything, right?
That goes overlooked I think.
– I mean, should we, who are doing this
we’ve done this for 115 years
five generations.
That’s sustainability.
I think Microsoft should ask us
how to be sustainable
not us listen to them
’cause we’ve proven it.
– [Peter] You have a longer track record.
– Right, exactly.
– [Peter] In pretty much everything.
– I think there’s a lot of hope
for the future
in terms of ranching because
I think the typical rancher
my husband’s probably a good
example of this, not being here today
doesn’t wanna talk about what he does.
Doesn’t wanna say,
“Hey look at me.”
and I’m not saying these kids do
but these kids get that social media
or putting yourself out there
is the only way that we’re
gonna break that divide
and say, and I’m not trying
to criticize my husband
because I get it
but I do think that
Haley would tell us how
when she would first show up at CU
and talk to people about ranching
just the paradigms that people have about
who we are out here or what we do.
It’s crazy,
we are not getting the word out there.
– [Peter] So they had a very
negative image, right?
– Yeah, totally and it was funny ’cause
there’s talks about racism at CU
and we sit down,
we have conversations
but then suddenly when they
make fun of my high school friends
for being uneducated rednecks
there’s not…
To me, that’s being
prejudice towards our people.
Debates aren’t really had because
you’re either offending someone
or if you have this opinion
that’s different from “the majority”
then you could be punished.
Whether your teacher
doesn’t agree with what you’re saying
or something like that
So that’s what’s hard,
it’s like there’s a fine line of
raising your voice
and bringing things to attention
but also being thought of as a redneck
or being ostracized in a sense
because no one wants to listen to you
if you have an opposing belief.
Whether that’s with politics
or ranching specifically
because in a lot of people’s minds, yeah
killing cows, they think that’s all we do
and they think
we’re killing the environment
and so that’s really hard too.
Especially…
– [Peter] But are they using
any products from cows?
– Exactly, they totally are
and they’ll take a plane ride
to California three times in a month
and that’s totally fine
for the environment
but here, creating an ecosystem
where the birds are surviving
and the deer, and the antelope
are in with the cattle
what we’re doing
is so much worse than that
and so I think it’s hard.
– [Peter] And nail polish too, right?
[chuckles]
– Yeah, ’cause that has cow products.
– [Peter] That has cow products,
I just learned that.
– [Peter] Okay, so when I went to university
it was about…
It was all about bringing
the different argument to the table.
You have a thesis,
you back it up with evidence
And basically it’s the shakeout of ideas
and whoever’s doing it the best
has the best research and the most
credible argument wins, right?
– Mm-hmm.
– [Peter] And everyone was a judge of that.
And that was how we were taught.
It was critical thinking
– Mm-hmm.
– [Peter] And so now they’re not
really embracing that?
– Yeah, I would say not embracing that
but also I’m probably the only rancher
or fifth generation especially at CU.
So it’s harder to…
When there’s been misinformation
put out there about ranches
and so that’s why, yeah,
it is important for us to step up
and correct some of that
misinformation that gets out
because when I’m
One against 30 in a classroom
my credibility goes down
and so I think
getting people to correct those sources
or fix that information
so I can be better equipped
and then having more support behind me.
So maybe…
– [Peter] Why aren’t they
intellectually curious do you think?
Even the professors you say
they wanna keep sort of in the…
In the narrative,
whatever that might be.
– Yeah, I think probably…
– [Peter] Is it just they’re scared or?
– Well, I don’t know if it’s climate change.
If there’s an issue going on
it’s easier to target
the weakest source
and so nobody wants to give up driving
or flying, or fossil fuels.
– [Peter] Good point.
– And so they don’t know
what this life is like.
They think they can
find substitutes like fake meat
and they believe that’s healthier for them
even though it really isn’t
and so I think
targeting the weakest source
and right now that feels like it’s us.
– [Peter] That’s a good theory.
-It is.
-Yeah.
– Very good.
– [Peter] Five generations, 115 years
what are the differences that your
great, great, great, great
grandparents had running the ranch
versus what you guys have?
Obviously you weren’t around but…
– One of the biggest differences is I can
go out and feed 400 cows by myself
and back in the day
it was a team of horses
-and the hay wagon.
-Three cowboys.
-And however many…
-Five cowboys.
So I think that’s also the problem
with rural America.
Our banker once said it took 6,000 acres…
Or no, it took 500 acres
to run back in the 60s
you needed 500 acres
to sustain your family
and now it’s 6,000 acres.
So rural America is more efficient
in how we run our ranches
and our farms
and then we need less people
and then now we also need more acres
to sustain our family.
So you can see why
the population’s just [bangs on table]
– [Peter] What would you guys do,
say you had to do something else?
Can you imagine doing something else?
I see you in a corporate job
at the office.
– [Charlie] Not a waiter.
[all laughing]
– [Charlie] Maybe a bus boy.
[laughter]
– [Peter] What about a dishwasher?
You’re good.
– He loves it.
– Kind of like Amy was
talking about Haley, like
We went out and
saw a little bit of the world
in college and stuff
and I think the comfort I get from that
is coming back now is out of choice.
Yeah, if I stayed here
and was always sheltered here
and was scared of the big world
and stayed here at 18
and fell into what I’m doing right now
yeah, maybe at 40
or maybe at 35 I’d been like
“Is there something else
I should’ve been doing?”
“Did I sell myself short?”
but because I went out for college
and got some experiences
yeah, I wanted to come back
and I see it was a choice
out of positional options.
– But wouldn’t you feel pressure?
I mean five generations deep,
if you stop that lineage?
– You know, I think everybody
would have a different answer to that.
To me, I honestly can’t say
I felt pressure.
I actually feel privileged, like…
In the ranching world,
to be in my position…
Yeah, it took five generations.
There was depressions, there was wars,
there was droughts, there was fire…
Financial trou…
Like to put
our generation in the position we are is
in my mind just an amazing blessing.
– It was a requirement.
You’re gonna get the hell out of here.
You’re gonna leave the ranch.
You’re gonna go do something else,
see something else
and if you choose to come back, yeah,
you are choosing to come back
and you’re not choosing that
out of necessity
but out of a desire.
And I even had a fight with my dad
when I finished college
it was like, “I’m coming home,
this is what I wanna do.”
and he’s like, “You’re not welcome
to come home at this point.”
“You need to do something else.”
“You need to see something else
and once you’re ready
then you can come back.”
and I think that’s very unique.
‘Cause a lot of the industry, yeah
it’s not only expected of you,
it’s required.
– “Hey, you are taking this on after me.”
– [Peter] Right.
– And you know, I think
your perspective’s a lot better
when it’s not a necessity but a desire.
– [Peter] That’s your tip
to other ranching families out there?
– We sure think that’s very valuable, yeah.
To get different perspective on life
and try something different.
– All right guys, thanks for coming along.
Always interesting to
sit on a dining room conversation.
I think it’s very natural
to listen to people in those environments.
Hope you got something out of that.
For those of us that don’t live
in this part of the country
out on a ranch
living close to the land.
Well, there’s something to learn
from people that do.
Take that for what it is.
Ask questions, watch other content.
I think the point and the goal
right now is mutual respect
and to understand
where people are coming from.
Thanks for coming along.
Until the next one.
♪ country ♪

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