Growing up on an acreage outside of Firth, Nebraska, my responsibility was to take care of the cattle—from the bottle-fed calves to the big bull we knighted Sir Loin. I broke the ice for them in winter and stuck them with needles when the time came for vaccinations. My summers were spent detasseling, hunting down thistles in my grandpa’s pasture, and swimming in creeks when they swelled with rainwater (after making sure my tetanus shot was up-to-date).
While in college, I studied abroad in Mongolia. I chose that path because I wanted to experience something new and different and to get to know the world outside of my life as a rural kid. Since then, I’ve returned to Mongolia a second time on a Fulbright Fellowship.
During my time in western Mongolia, my love for animal husbandry and wide open spaces was reinforced. I also recognized similar difficulties faced by rural areas in Mongolia and Nebraska, which fueled my desire to help fight for the little guy.
People who live in rural communities should be given the opportunity to be involved in local and nationwide decision-making and encouraged to be good stewards of the land they maintain. For myself, I want to ensure that I can carry on the lifestyle skills that made my parents and grandparents so resilient and self-sufficient.
I live in Bancroft, Nebraska, and I’ve recently taken up my high school hobby of archery and asked my great aunt to teach me how to clean chickens.