A new season of “Yellowstone” starring Kevin Costner launched earlier this fall, and each week, I see the buzz and chatter about the episodes.
The show is full of drama, suspense, mystery, revenge, and chaos. It’s also set on a beautiful ranch, with plenty of cattle, horses, cowboys, cowgirls, and gorgeous imagery showcasing our western way of life.
The show is incredibly popular, and it’s interesting to hear everybody’s take on all of the ups and downs of this series.
However, one comment I recently received stopped me in my tracks and made me realize how much work we have to do in our industry.
A reader of mine, who lives in an urban area, messaged me on Instagram and said, “It’s so cool to learn about your way of life from Yellowstone.”
I was a little taken aback because besides the cattle and the ranch work, the cussing cowboys, murderous plots, do-or-die land grabs, and other betrayals doesn’t look a whole lot like my quiet life on our South Dakota ranch.
And that’s a good thing! I’m no Beth Dutton!
Although I must admit, I wish I had the clothing budget of the Duttons, but the cattle don’t seem to care much about my worn out Carhartts and raggedy stocking caps.
All this to say, the show has put a spotlight on agriculture — whether that’s good or bad, I’m not certain.
However, the story of a quiet life on a cattle ranch maybe doesn’t quite get the same record-breaking viewership.
But, that’s okay — I don’t think I would trade the Duttons for what I’ve got.
As I type this, my kids are out working on bulls in the barn. Our five-year old is learning to clip and fit. Our seven-year old reads her chapter books to the calves. And the little boys — our Irish twins ages three and four — are playing on the square bales that are stacked and waiting for the calving season to begin this winter.
The kids are laughing. They are learning from Tyler and I. They have grandparents close by. And they are learning how to tend to the land and the livestock, how to put in an honest day’s work, and how to live life with integrity.
It’s a modest life, but I have realized over the years just how truly rich we are to live in agricultural settings, with wide open spaces, fresh air, and the opportunity to work, grow, make mistakes, and try again the next day.
Sure, it wouldn’t make a dramatic television series, but I can guarantee you that folks on social media want to hear these stories, too.
Being transparent, authentic, and open to inviting consumers in to take a look at what real ranch work looks like will give them the opportunity to buy into what we are trying to do out here on the range — take care of our natural resources while providing a nutrient-rich product to feed the world.
It’s a story worth telling, and I can’t wait to learn more about yours!
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.