practice, humor, creativity, stamina and guts

posted December 2, 2010

Finding a Future in Agriculture: An Apprentice’s Journey

By Amber Reed

Before the Quivira Conference in Albuquerque last fall, I had read only a little by Aldo Leopold. At the beginning of A Sand County Almanac I read: “There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.” A man ahead of his time, Leopold nailed our modern psyche.

Recently, I heard an interviewer on the radio ask a rancher if he thought there was a future in ranching and farming. I thought, “Well, plastic sure is tasty, what kind of a question is that?!” So here is my answer to that interviewer. “Yes, there is a future in agriculture, but it takes practice, humor, creativity, stamina and guts.”

I decided to apply for The Quivira Coalition’s CARLY (Conservation and Ranching Leadership and Youth) Ranch Manager Apprenticeship ( at the San Juan Ranch in Colorado while I was a public school teacher in Leadville. I had almost made the jump to farming after high school when I deferred from college and worked on farms in France and Italy. When I returned, though, I went to Bowdoin College and didn’t decide to start farming again until five years later.

Read the rest of the article here.