My grandmother often tells stories of her first year of marriage to Grandpa. The wedding was a simple one, and their beginnings were modest. Grandma said their first farmhouse had an old corn stove in the kitchen, and she would have to gather cobs and husks to burn for cooking. She remembers purchasing their first section of land, and the entire neighborhood gossiped that they would never pay it off. Three kids, nine grandchildren and many cattle and crop harvests later, she can offer seasoned advice to us in our own beginnings.
As a married couple, Tyler and I have been enjoying plenty of "firsts." Our first Thanksgiving was shared with family and friends last week, and I'm anxiously anticipating our first Christmas together. All of these moments are very exciting and memorable, but one I will most treasure is buying our first piece of land together. A few weeks ago, after months of waiting and praying, we finally signed on a place located just a half-mile from my parents' farm. Ever since, we have been busy moving, unpacking and making the new place feel like home.
While the big jump into land debt was scary and overwhelming, it's so exciting to explore the empty barns and cattle yards and make plans for the future. Where will we put the feed bunks? Which pen should house the sale bulls? Could we set up for AI'ing here? Would this make the perfect place to calve out heifers? What should we call the place? What market will we focus on? How can we get this place to start making money, as a farm should?
As we make plans, I feel like I'm in the same spot my grandma was so many years ago. Is this how she felt when buying their first farm? Was she as scared as I am? Was she proud of the person she chose to share this life with? Looking at the legacy they built together after so many lean years in the beginning, I can't help but think maybe this is the start of our legacy, one we will share with our future children and grandchildren.
I will admit I was hesitant about sharing this exciting news with the thousands of readers on the BEEF Daily blog. After all, the place you rest your head at night is very personal. However, you have always been there to offer advice and words of wisdom at every milestone I have had the last couple of years -- graduating from college, choosing a career path, getting engaged, walking down the aisle, buying cattle and now this. It's with great pride that I announce this news, but the announcement also comes with humility knowing that I still have a great deal to learn.
What advice do you have for a beginning farmer or rancher? What lessons did you learn from your early days? Did you, too, feel the whirlwind of emotions at taking the big leap into the tough but rewarding world of cattle production? Everyone has a beginning, right? What's your story? I would be honored to hear it.