Skip to Content

The Weekly News Source for Wyoming's Ranchers, Farmers and AgriBusiness Community

What The Heart Of Rural America Means To Me

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

By Amanda Radke

I just wrapped up my final speech for 2023, and what an absolute honor and humbling whirlwind of travel it has been.

Fifty-two speeches. Twenty states. Tens of thousands of people reached, and thousands of children’s books shared from coast-to-coast. I’ve spoke in barns at production sales, at school libraries, in mega convention centers, on the top of trailer beds and in dive barns on rural main streets. 

If someone calls, I do my best to go speak and serve my audiences with information to help empower them to be their own best advocates. 

Inspired by the incredible folks I’ve met on the road, I started a podcast called “The Heart of Rural America” to highlight and share their stories.

And with every interview, every handshake, every deep conversation after a speech, every e-mail and message I’ve received and every invite to the next event, I’ve learned one important thing about what the heart of rural America actually represents.

To me, the heart of rural America is made up of families – moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas and a slug of young kids who give hope and purpose to these hard-working families as they grow their businesses, build their legacies and square up to the challenges of production agriculture.

To me, the heart of rural America is made up of eternal optimists. No, they aren’t naive to the external forces which seek to eliminate this way of life, strip us of our private property rights, regulate us out of business and take away food choice at the grocery store with their twisted ideologies related to animals, land, food and people. 

Despite all of this, these folks are still optimists. They have to be. This isn’t an easy life. It’s not a life without great risk and financial investment. It’s not a guaranteed profit driver. Nor is it a life that is safe and secure.

Yet, these eternal optimists love the challenge of it all. The risks they take can lead to great rewards. The volatility of the weather and markets keeps them on their toes, and it may get them down at times but they know they have community to back them up and encourage them to keep going.

And, what I’ve found is a large commonality in the heart of rural America – the well of optimism runs deep because it’s rooted in faith, because at the end of the day, it’s hard not to see God’s handiwork in a beautiful sunset painting the sky across the prairie, while cattle graze, birds chirp and the bees and butterflies bounce from wildflower to wildflower in the grass. 

And, it’s hard not to see God in the laughter of a child as they ride along in the buddy seat of the tractor during harvest season, or in the warm embrace of a father who is proud of the work their children have done, or in the loving way a mother tends to her family, her work, her home and anything else she is called to do to keep the wheels humming on the farm and ranch.

To me, what I see in the heart of rural America is grit, a no-quit attitude and a resolute determination to succeed despite the odds. I see families who understand the shared goal they have and are willing to throw all of their weight into it to make their dreams become reality.

To me, what I see in the heart of rural America are honest folks with integrity, where a handshake is your bond and your word is worth its weight in gold.

To me, what I see in the heart of rural America are communities who love their families, friends and neighbors and are willing to help others when the need arises.

To me, the heart of rural America is what makes this nation strong. There’s an undeniable passion for the land, natural resources and livestock, but there is also a true love for serving others and making sure the world has access to the essentials of life – food, fiber and energy.

And at the end of the day, it’s these people in the heart of rural America who push me to keep at it on the road. With every speech, I don’t ask my audiences to agree with me. I don’t ask them to think the way I do. 

My only goal is to empower them, to share ideas and inspiration, to lay out the challenges and threats to our way of life and to give them the tools they need to fight for their futures and advocate for this way of life for future generations.

There’s much work yet to be done and I’m anxious to dive into it in 2024, but for now, I just want to extend a humble “thank you” for the opportunities to share my message through my speeches and my children’s books. 

My deepest respect and admiration goes out to each and every one of you, and I sincerely look forward to connecting with more of you on the road in 2024! God bless!

Back to top