Reconnecting America, Jachowski motivates at Cattlewomen’s event
Buffalo – The average American is now two to three generations removed from agriculture and is losing their connection to the ranching way of life. The days of city occupants having an uncle, aunt or grandma that resides out in the country where they can go visit are diminishing, as well.
“There are too many miles now between the urban and rural Americans,” stated Kathleen Jachowski, executive director of Guardians of the Range, during the 2014 Women’s Agriculture Summit.
“There’s something in this country, in the world of agriculture and natural resources that is so overlooked,” added Jachowski. “We need to engage two things – people’s minds and their hearts.”
Jachowski encouraged people involved in agriculture and natural resources to become more active with speaking to their elected officials and attending more governmental meetings.
“Ranchers need to realize they are not going to lose to their opposition in the first 30 seconds of talking to them,” encouraged Jachowski. “We need to engage our minds and our lips, so that we can change the court of public opinion. We can’t do that strictly with statistics.”
“This is a strength that has to be recognized to help this country become reconnected,” said Jachowski. “This nation would not be here without agriculture and natural resources. We need to reconnect this country from north to south, east to west and urban with rural.”
Jachowski has taken from her past experiences of dealing with the government and past elected officials to give advice to ranchers on how to become more involved with governmental proceedings and how to better protect themselves against individuals that want to take their way of life from them.
“There are three things that are working for agricultural people that they are incredible with and very humble about,” said Jachowski. “These three things have also helped build this nation and characterizes Americans, and more people need to get back in touch with their ethics, intelligence and humor.”
Jachowski also integrated that people’s instincts need to be in tune and on full alert when dealing with the opposition and governmental officials.
“We need to be able to figure out if the Homo sapien sitting across from the table is just a lying rascal or wordsmithing their life away,” she commented.
An experience Jachowski holds very dear to her and inspires her to speak to governmental officials is the meeting she attended where she met former Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt for the very first time.
The meeting, she noted, was held in Bozeman, Mont. concerning an increase in fees for grazing on public lands.
“It was an incredible experience to go into a room filled with Americans,” reminisced Jachowski. “In this room were all these wonderful ranchers and the looks on their faces said it all.”
Jachowski said, “That room was filled with people who had never thought they would have to stand up in front of the Washington Post or New York Times.”
“They would reach into pockets, with their thick fingers from wonderful hard work, and pull their life out on a little piece of yellow paper or a little index card they have folded up with their cattle books,” said Jachowski. “These ranchers unfolded their notes in front of the microphone, scared to death, to try to explain to this man why he should not take their life away.”
Before Babbitt’s arrival to Bozeman, Mont., he stated in Washington, D.C. that there was no question that a grazing fee hike was going to implemented, so the only thing in debate was the amount of the grazing hike.
“Bruce’s introductory comments galvanized me,” fumed Jachowski. “He started that conversation with, ‘Nothing has been decided on the grazing fee.’”
“In the first 30 seconds of that meeting he had lied to a room of well-intended Americans,” said Jachowski. “This man had the audacity to get up in front of a room full of Americans and tell a bold face lie. Well, he took me on that day.”
Past is prologue
Another memory of Jachowski’s that helps motivate her is the saying, ‘The past is prologue.’ The phrase is one Jachoswski saw engraved on the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
“We live in the present and are interested in the future, and the past can be prologue,” said Jachowski. “The trick in life is to bring the best stuff forward. That’s where the value in the past is.”
“The strength this country has in rural America is 50 states wide. It is in every state, and the connection is there for us,” said Jachowski. “In every single state there is agriculture.”
“There is something in agriculture and natural resources that is so spiritual and so undeniable, and we can do whatever we want on top of it,” said Jachowski, “but Homo sapiens can not live without agriculture and natural resources. We need to be incredibly proud of that.”
The 2014 Women’s Agriculture Summit was sponsored by the Johnson County CattleWomen. Madeline Robinson is the assistant editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at email@example.com.