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

Heart of Ag: Big Dreams in a Small Town

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

By Amanda Radke

Readers know I’m on the road quite a bit speaking at agricultural conferences across the country, and each week I have the privilege of meeting hundreds of new friends who are involved in farming and ranching. 

With each trip, I head for home inspired by someone’s story and fueled with new hope for the future of agriculture.

This hope comes from the most inspiring places. It’s not celebrities, politicians or corporations at the trade shows. Instead, the hope I uncover in the heart of rural America is with the God-fearing, American-loving families I meet in attendance.

They come from all walks of life from every segment of agriculture imaginable, and yet, at their core, we are all very much the same. 

I could be in California, North Carolina, Oklahoma or Washington, and these folks are all the same – honest, hard-working, community-minded, family-oriented and faithful. They immediately feel like friends – and sometimes family – and I think it’s something we should never take for granted. 

At the end of the day, family and local communities are the bedrock to a secure and strong nation, and taking care of those simple basics is critical for the future of this country.

As an example of what I mean, earlier this year, I spoke at an agricultural appreciation night in Laurel, Neb. It was a great evening of fellowship, and after my speech, I met a lovely couple – Scott and Christy Taylor. They were interested in buying my books to sell in their store, and I quickly learned how impactful these entrepreneurs really were for their small town in rural Nebraska.

The Taylors own multiple businesses in Laurel – Knuckleheadz Bar, Baileyz BBQ Sauce, T&H Meat Co. and Fine Spirits, The Scoop and Scott Taylor Photography. With each venture, they are pouring life and opportunities into their community, providing goods, services and jobs along the way.

“I have always been one who refuses to sit back and wait for somebody to take care of us or solve a problem,” said Scott. “We are blessed. The Lord has given us an amazing country to live in, and anything we need to do, we can do ourselves.”

“So, I started off in business, selling seed for a living,” he added. “When I sold my first seed business, Christy and I wanted to invest the money into our community. We’ve seen where there were areas lacking. We didn’t really have a nice restaurant to go to, so we made the decision to start our first business– a restaurant and bar called Knuckleheadz.”

The Taylors employ local high school and college students, volunteer with the FFA and find creative ways to mentor young people and carve out opportunities for them to earn money and gain job skills in the small town of Laurel, Neb. 

The Taylors source their food ingredients for the restaurant from local farmers and ranchers, and today, they carry more than 40 products from smalltown makers, creators, designers and businesses in the area.

“Every product we sell has a story and a family behind it,” said Scott. “Every burger we serve is farm-to-table right here in Nebraska. Every person we employ is from our small community. If we want our rural towns to survive, we have to be the change. It’s a mindset shift, especially when many of our people leave for the larger cities not too far down the road.”

I asked Scott his best business advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, and his answer was one of humility and learning as you go.

“Look to solve problems and deliver them through business. Seek ways to pursue your passions, and don’t lose sight of it, even when it gets hard,” he said. “Look for ways to diversify, and be willing to change if something isn’t working. If something doesn’t work the first time, you didn’t fail – you’ve just eliminated a path that didn’t work and you find ways to move forward.”

“And, to folks in these communities, I know it’s easier to just shop online, but consider shopping your values and investing your dollars close to home,” he continued. “With every purchase, you’re positively impacting a family and creating opportunities close to home.”

This right here is where we start. I’m thankful to the Taylors for their time, and if you would like to listen to the audio version of our interview, you can check out my podcast The Heart of Rural America on Apple + or Spotify.

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

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