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Heart of Ag: This is my Prairie, This is my Home

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

by Amanda Radke

The story of America’s farmers and ranchers runs far deeper than the crops and cattle we raise. 

It’s a connection to the land, the wildlife, the wide open spaces and having a front row seat to a gorgeous sunrise and sunset to kick off and end each day.

It’s hearing the coyotes howl and the birds chirp. It’s the cattle grazing and the kids running wild in the yard. It’s the starry sky with a big moon so bright, you can see for miles, even in the dead of night. It’s the peace and quiet. 

And yet, even in the silence, the prairie hums with life and activity.

And on the prairie, you build your hopes and your dreams, praying you can leave the land and a business for generations that are yet to come.

For many of us, our stories on this land began before statehood. For others, it’s the first generation of big things to come. And, whether you own a quarter-acre lot or 10 sections of land, there’s something about owning the ground beneath your feet – you can put roots down, get married, have a bunch of babies, raise your family, build businesses and plan for the future.

This tradition of setting down roots dates back to the beginning of our great nation. Our Founding Fathers understood it well. 

President George Washington is credited for saying, “Freedom and property rights are inseparable. You can’t have one without the other.”

I think of this quote often as I look at the land my family lives on. Feeding cattle while my kids play in the yard, I feel grateful for the pursuit of the American dream. 

I’m not entitled to it, but I can pursue my own version of life, liberty and happiness by my own labor and ability to grow a business.

We don’t think in weeks or months or years. We think in decades and generations. The decisions we make on the land today will impact our future great-grandchildren. 

It’s an honor to live this life in agriculture. It is a challenge to live it, too. And now, with external threats powered by greed, power, control and the heavy hand of the government, we wonder if there’s any future at all. 

Yet, we press on. We buy the land and plant the seed. We water the dream and pray for sunshine. We work hard for a bountiful harvest. 

And even though there are very few of us left on the land growing food, we do it with integrity, hard work, an honest handshake and perseverance.

It reminds me of a John Adams quote, “Always stand on principle, even if you stand alone.”

There’s a growing trend of “public-private” partnerships, where the government, using taxpayer dollars, funds and helps grow major corporations and businesses. Even more alarming is the use of carbon credits to incentivize these businesses. 

It’s essentially grown men creating businesses that produce nothing, based on the premise of a red hot lie, with their hand out waiting for the federal tax credits and government checks to arrive. 

This is not what built this country. And it’s certainly not what’s going to strengthen this country for future generations. 

Yet, there is a mentality out there if you can’t beat them, you might as well join them.

Instead of standing on principle, you cave to an extremist environmental agenda and the Green New Deal. When there is enough money involved, you jump on board, and if anybody gets in the way of “progress,” you’ll take their land rights, bulldoze over the top of them and hey, if you’re feeling generous, you’ll give them a little check on your way through.

This is exactly what’s happening with a multi-state carbon pipeline project which plans to rip through the prairie, divide towns, sever relationships among neighbors and family members and leave a cloud of pain and broken promises in its wake.

I contend, and will continue to say, if you want to bury carbon in your backyard, be my guest. But for the rest of us, we just want to be left alone to enjoy our little slice of prairie – the land where we call home. 

Private property rights are critical to a free and fair society. Will our elected officials hear the cries of the people? Will they take part in destroying the American dream? Will they choose the slick lobbyists and billion-dollar public-private partnerships? Or will they choose the people? 

It takes courage to do the right thing. I pray for courageous leadership. We desperately need it.

Amanda Radke is a rancher, author, motivational speaker and podcast host. For more from Radke, visit

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