I've raised horses and livestock my entire life. From horses to goats, sheep to swine - I've fed, watered, doctored, been frustrated by and been trampled on by all of them. Why do I, and thousand of other young livestock men and women, put so much time, sweat, blood, tears and care towards our animals and their lives? Because of the love we have for livestock and the way of life that accompanies owning and caring for them.
The first time I ever read this poem, I was standing in my the Ninja's parents' kitchen in Ohio in 2009 and I have loved it ever since. Written by H.W. Mumford, it exemplifies all the superb qualities of a Stockman (or woman) that are often unnoticed.
A Tribute to the Stockman
Behold the Stockman! Artist and Artisan.
He may be polished, or a diamond in the rough-but always a gem.
Whose devotion to his animals is second only to his love of God and family.
Whose gripping affection is tempered only by his inborn sense of the true proportion of things.
Who cheerfully braves personal discomfort to make sure his livestock suffer not.
To him there is rhythm in the clatter of the horse’s hoof, music in the bleating of the sheep and in the lowing of the herd.
His approaching footsteps call forth the affectionate whinny of recognition.
His calm, well-modulated voice inspires confidence and wins affection.
His coming is greeted with demonstrations of pleasure, and his going with evident disappointment.
Who sees something more in cows than the drudgery of milking, more in swine than the grunt and squeal, more in the horse than the patient servant, and more in sheep than the golden hoof.
Herdsman, shepherd, groom-yes, and more.
Broad-minded, big-hearted whole-souled; whose life and character linger long after the cordial greeting is stilled and the hearty handshake is but a memory; whose silent influence forever lives.
May his kind multiply and replenish the earth.
Nowhere in that literary masterpiece does it say "and make as much money as possible" or "take over modern agriculture" or "fool the public into eating meat". It doesn't mention those statements because 1) they're not true and 2) nobody gets into the farming or livestock business to make millions of dollars. Farmers and ranchers do so because they love the land, animals, hard work and their fellow farmer. They are rich in character, determination and wisdom. What better wealth to have?
Until next time,
Labels: animals, farmers, livestock production, rural, tradition