Saturday, April 7, 2012

We are not Sheeple

First off, no disrespect to actual ovines," the 'ships' in the field, the little baa baa baas", but I want to proclaim my distance from sheeple- you know, folks can't think for themselves and just follow the one in front (notice I avoided the term 'leader'). A more recent usage of the term refers to those who blindly allow the government to herd them around. Well, that ain't me! Ever!

I grew up in Houston, but thankfully had strong-minded parents and had the opportunity to spend a lot of time in "the country"-- as a Girl Scout, riding horses, spending time in Polk County, lounging on the Island. I learned how to do things with tools, make my own clothes, and, best of all, improvise.  I have always been drawn to the country, particularly animal agriculture. Westheimer Stables and the HLSR were places I belonged and where I learned about all things ag. I knew where eggs, milk, steaks and leather came from and it didn't make me squirm to clean fresh-caught catfish at Lake Livingston. As a adult, I earned an Animal Science degree, worked on a cutting horse farm, and loved getting dirty and being productive. Still do.

I currently live on five acres in the county, surrounded by large trees and few neighbors. Unfortunately, town has moved towards us in the last twenty years and we decided it was time to move further away from the city, so last year we bought our 19+ acres across the mighty Brazos River. So now, we will be 20 miles from College Station, but only 10 miles from Caldwell or Snook (home of Slovacek's Sausage!)

Which brings me back to sheeple and why I got on that topic. Knowing I wanted to have animals at the new place, I talked to my county extension agent, Dusty Tittle (who is a sheepman, but not a sheeple), and goats seems to be the best choice for me. For the past six months, I've been studying up on all things goat: from breeding and feeding, to selling and showing. On the information highway, I discovered that animal agriculture is under attack, that most folks have no clue where food comes from, and that I can have a positive impact on both. I've chosen several ag/farmer blogs to include on this page, and encourage you to read some of them. In particular, Farmers Fight is one that gives me hope for the future.  Next week, the ag students at Texas A&M will be out educating campus on where food comes from and why they should care about it, and what the truth is about farming and ranching. Kind of an "un-sheepleing" process. For too long, we've let the media and others (don't even get me started on HSUS) tell the public what we do and they haven't been telling the truth. But sheeples just follow. Time to make agvocates of them instead!  There are lots of other groups with similar missions, like Protect the Harvest  and the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance. So, take some time to find out where dinner comes from and what you can do to make sure breakfast isn't cancelled...

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