It’s hard to believe March is half gone, but it’s finally starting to feel a little bit like spring. For many ranchers , these days are filled with calving out cows. In fact, I’m already looking ahead to this summer, turning pairs out to pasture and haying season. You can’t blame a girl for wanting to fast-forward through the mud and muck of springtime and start enjoying long, hot summer days with lots of sunshine!
While I daydream about the months ahead, there’s still plenty of excitement going on, including BEEF magazine’s “Why I Ranch ” essay contest. There’s less than two weeks left to enter the essay contest . Winners will take home a $300 gift certificate for a hat from our sponsor, Greeley Hat Works .
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To enter, submit an essay of 300 words or less on why you love the land and the richness your ranching life  offers, as well as why you choose to make your living in risky yet rewarding circumstances. The top two entries will be published in an upcoming issue of BEEF magazine.
The contest ends on March 29. Check back often  to vote, and be sure to submit your entry before the end of the month.
Here is one entry from Whitney in Nebraska, who penned an essay entitled, “Roots: Why I Ranch .”
“Ranching runs deep in my veins and roots, and I ranch to satisfy the desire to keep those roots growing. Ranching embodies the American dream to many different people from many different areas. Different as we all may be, we are tied together with the commonality of passion for agriculture and feeding the masses. Every operation and every day is different, giving me the drive to get out there  and see what the day will bring, and expanding my horizons as I go. The challenge of not knowing what the day will bring excites and motivates me to always be a student, soaking up as much knowledge as possible on the many different areas that a modern ranch entails. Some days I am called upon to be a veterinarian or nutritionist, while other days things come up turning me into a mechanic, plumber, carpenter, machinist, or any other number of things involved in the daily intricacies of my family ranch . All the different facets of ranching come together for me when I watch a calf suck for the first time, or close the gate on the last trailer load of calves headed to town. Fourth generation of ranching  on this Nebraska land, and not one day the same. The opportunities in working side by side with your family, sharing heartaches like the early October blizzard and victories such as saving heifers stuck in the river, are not common. Opportunity, challenges, and family are the reasons I ranch and will continue as long as there is still cows out there that need someone to take care of them.”
What are your thoughts on this essay? Does it describe why you ranch? Why do you ranch ? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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