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Heart of Ag: Clarity of Purpose

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

In my life as a speaker and rancher, I find I do my best thinking in the solitude of pasture rides to look at calves or in the pickup headed to my next event.

In these moments of silence – a break from the chaos and noise of this busy world we live in – I find myself reflecting on my life, and I try to be intentional and purposeful in where I spend my time and attention.

We are only given 24 hours in a day, and we have only one life to live. I’m of the mindset when I get to the end of my life, I don’t want to be well-rested and wrinkle free. I want to have given my all for the things I’m passionate about, earning every wrinkle, line and scar, because at the end of it all, I want to know I did my best to honor my faith, my family and my community.

It’s in these moments of thought and prayer I evaluate the things I pursue. Is it meaningful? Does it help others? Does it lift up my family? Does it honor my marriage, my sibling relationships and my parents? Does it reflect the culture I want to live in? Does it advance the trajectory of the America I want to see?

Perhaps this sounds odd, but I think there are times when we can get distracted by the noise. We can get lost in the day-to-day grind of the things on our to-do list, the demands of our job, the laundry that needs folded, the lawn that needs mowed and the dishes in the sink that need washing.

Yet, there’s purpose and meaning even in the mundane. Because when you’re living a life of service to others, no small task is too small and no mundane chore is wasted, if you give it all to a higher meaning beyond yourself.

You’re probably thinking, “Amanda, this is a little deep for an agricultural column.” 

And perhaps it is. However, I am continually asked to speak about mental health in agriculture at conferences, and I can see the toll this way of life has on farmers and ranchers in different seasons.

At the end of the day what I’ve realized is when we can be of service to others, it takes the focus off of the challenges, hardships and struggles we experience in our lives, and instead, it helps us focus on making life better for someone else, lessening their load. 

It’s hard to be down if you’re extending a hand to someone else, and quite often when you each out to a neighbor or friend during a hard time, they usually, in turn, help ease the heavy load you’ve been carrying without you even knowing it.

In recent weeks, there have been three tragic farm accidents with the loss of life of two children and a young adult. With so much life ahead of them, you wonder and ask yourself, “God, why them? Why now?”

It’s in these hard times when the answers don’t come so easily you realize your only option is to dig deep into your faith and lean on the only one who can help you weather through the storm.

This column could be a reminder about farm safety. In the business of planting and haying and running hard to get work done while the sun shines each day, we can often be overworked, exhausted and more prone to accidents. 

I could write about that, but instead, I think it’s important to reflect on what I continually write about in the heart of rural America. 

There is a steady decline of our small communities in rural towns – churches and schools closing, the next generation moving away, and slowly the dreams and opportunities for business and commerce thanks to farmers and ranchers come to an end, as consolidation gobbles up the family businesses which built America.

So what does “clarity of purpose” mean? 

For me, my purpose is quite clear, and I hope you’ll pick up the torch and carry it with me. If we want to change the political landscape in this country, we must first change the societal culture. 

We must be the change we want to see. We must create the opportunities for young people that have been squashed or stagnated. We need to love our families, fight for our marriages and care about our neighbors.

These aren’t soft platitudes of a pandering columnist. Instead, it’s an urgent rally cry. If we want to live in the America that once was, then we must be the citizens who fought to build it that way. 

I still believe in the American dream, and at the center of it all are faith-filled families who stick together, work together and support each other in community. 

If you agree with me, I would love to hear from you. E-mail me your “clarity of purpose” at, and let’s start creating a path forward where families can thrive. 

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

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