Tradition is

He was well over 6 feet tall. Strong jawline and massive “farmer” hands. The other was young, slender and eager. Both farmers. The moment I heard their voices crack during their sessions I lifted my eyes from my notebook where I was scribbling notes and looked to the stage.

My eyes went to theirs and instantly I could sympathize. One was discussing how change had to happen on his farm and the drought was really pushing their limits. The other was obviously missing his family and very appreciative for those back at home doing the work while he was on the road speaking and working on behalf of association membership.

At those January meetings, I could tell 2022 had wore on a bunch of folks—myself included. The lack of rainfall in the central part of the country is tearing the morale of the farm sector apart. The prospect of no feed and no rain to put in next year’s crops will wear even the toughest, most experienced farmer and rancher down.

Recently I ran across a video that I thought was initially meant to be funny, but honestly it made you stop and think. It was a mother saying her son told her “tradition is just peer pressure from dead people.” For me, no truer words were spoken, and instantly made me think about agriculture and how many farms and ranches carry on because of tradition. And how many are afraid to change because of it.

My thoughts went back to those two speakers who let their vulnerability be on display for a sliver in time. They were there because of family tradition in farming. Tradition also dictated they be strong, tough, and not show their emotion. I don’t mind a little break in emotion simply because it shows how much someone cares about their chosen way of life.

Farming and ranching is a profession laced with tradition. Cowboys do things a certain way because their dad, granddad, uncle, cousin or mentor taught them that way. Cows are gathered a certain way, and tradition dictates the way a branding operates. More than once I’ve heard my cowboy husband say, “you don’t do that at a branding because … ” Farming is full of those traditions too.

All the segments of agriculture are facing changes in the industry that has served them for hundreds of years. Sustainability is more than a buzzword, it’s something many have to be in order to be relevant to consumers and to stick around for the long haul. Start with tradition, but I think farmers and ranchers need to be flexible enough to change in order to stay relevant for many years to come.

Kylene Scott can be reached at 620-227-1804 or [email protected].