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Ranching families: You’ve got to stand for something

In times of great uncertainty, strong voices in the beef cattle industry are more important now than ever before.

On my personal Facebook page, I’ve felt a strong urge to use my platform to promote this country that I love. Our nation is in turmoil and is more divided than ever. Beyond the beef and agricultural industry that I love, as a patriot, I have felt compelled to use my voice to promote unity, patriotism, faith and the fundamental truths that make us all Americans.

In doing this, I’ve shared some of my favorite patriotic country songs, with strong lyrics that thank our troops and remind us to be grateful to have been born in the land of the free. I’ve also started a fundraiser for my favorite organization, the All-American Beef Battalion.

And while it’s just small gestures, I’ve felt that in doing this I can continue to bring people together to have important conversations instead of further dividing us and reminding us about what our differences are.

Isn’t that really the plight for so many of us? Even in the beef cattle industry, we have polarizing political views on beef labeling, the Beef Checkoff, trade, packers, sustainability efforts, strange bedfellows, price fixing, regulatory policies, imports and so much more.

At times, I’ve shied away from speaking on these topics because they further divide and lead to greater discourse. Instead, I always try to focus on the positive. That’s why I put more of my efforts into promoting beef, sharing my personal story, making connections with elected officials so they can hear my boots-on-the ground views, fighting propaganda and correcting misconceptions.

However, sometimes inaction or shying away from a difficult topic is just as bad as being on the wrong side of history. I’m not here to tell you what to think or which issues you should fight for, but what I am telling you is that we can no longer stand on the sidelines and hope the issues work themselves out without our active participation.

This year is unlike any other, and the election only conflates our issues further. Now is not the time to shy away from a challenge. Instead, we must face difficulties head on, just like we do a difficult calving season, broken equipment, acquiring land or building a cow herd. It takes guts, determination, grit and laser focus.

Today I want to share song lyrics for you to ponder. It’s an oldie but a goodie from country crooner, Aaron Tippin.

His hit, “You’ve Got To Stand For Something,” reminds us that we all need to look internally at our views, our morals, our ethics and how we want to do business going forward.

So here are the lyrics to Tippin’s song from 1991. I hope they inspire you as they do me.

“Now Daddy didn't like trouble, but if it came along
Everyone that knew him knew which side that he'd be on
He never was a hero, or this county's shinin' light
But you could always find him standing up
For what he thought was right

He'd say you've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything
You've got to be your own man not a puppet on a string
Never compromise what's right and uphold your family name
You've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything

“Now we might have been better off or owned a bigger house
If Daddy had done more givin' in or a little more backing down
But we always had plenty just living his advice
Whatever you do today you'll have to sleep with tonight

He'd say you've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything
You've got to be your own man not a puppet on a string
Never compromise what's right and uphold your family name
You've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything

“Now I know that things are different than they were in Daddy's days
But I still believe what makes a man really hasn't changed

You've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything
You've got to be your own man not a puppet on a string
Never compromise what's right and uphold your family name
You've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything
You've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything.”

If corruption exists, it should be exposed. If something is morally wrong, justice should be served. If you feel something in your heart, you should voice it without fear of recourse. If the status quo is broken, then work to make it right. And if you want to fight to save your industry, in light of so much uncertainty and ongoing challenges, you should put every ounce of your being into the arena.

I don’t fault fresh ideas. I don’t fear constructive criticism. I don’t resent someone for speaking out, even if it’s against the status quo. I’ve seen many cattlemen organize rallies to speak out for what they believe in. Many are calling their elected officials daily, so these politicians know their names and understand their views on a topic.

That’s how we get things done in this country. No matter what your views are, individual voices are needed, not just talking heads of major organizations and companies, to remind our congressmen and women who they are working for.

Pick up the phone. Write a letter. Post on social media. Choose your battles wisely. Decide what your ranch and your family’s mission statement is, and as Aaron Tippin reminds us, “You’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.”

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.

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