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Fresh Faces

This past week we’ve all seen plenty of fresh faces in Casper, as the College National Finals Rodeo was in town for seven days.
If you haven’t been to the CNFR, put it in your bucket of events to attend. For those of you who enjoy rodeo, it’s somewhat of a different style, in that the energy level is sky high. It’s a rodeo like no other, and, for the cost, you will not find any better. I guess one should expect that, given that around 350 college contestants have hit town. Come to think of it, that’s a lot of hungry mouths to feed, but they are a group of respectful young adults who are living their dreams and reaching their goals, and we’ll hear a lot more from some of them in future rodeo across the country.
While watching the Republican debate last week, we welcomed the fresh faces who have declared themselves candidates in the run for presidency in 2012. I’ve been impressed by some of those who are first-time presidential candidates. Although they all seem to have the same message – make Obama a one-term president – it is a message we all like to hear, especially those of us in the West.
What is interesting is that there are a number of fresh faces who have a very good track record and who haven’t yet declared to run, and no, I’m not talking about Donald Trump. He’s saying all the right things, but he has an ego bigger than the White House can take.  
Fresh faces usually mean youth, or younger people, of whom we haven’t seen a whole lot. There were times in the past when agricultural organizations around the country frowned on new or younger members standing up and giving their opinions on issues. Some thought that one had to be at least 40 years old before they could give their opinion, or that old before they had an opinion worth listening to. Fortunately, we no longer abide by those rules and all organizations now work hard to involve youth and new members, and, to survive, they have to.
But, there is more to it than just involving our youth. We also have to keep quiet and listen to them and, once in a while, keep quiet and let them make their own mistakes to learn from. As we’ve said before, a mistake isn’t a mistake unless it’s made twice. We also need to thank them for their input and not just take them for granted – it is our responsibility to keep their enthusiasm high for agriculture.
Our young farmers and ranchers will make mistakes just like we did, only maybe fewer of them. Young adults nowadays are so much more mature and knowledgeable than I was back then – I just thought I knew it all. Getting married and having children cured that really quickly.
So, now here we are in agriculture, looking for more opportunities to have our youth and young adults stay in, or get back into, agriculture to protect our open spaces, keep our lands in production agriculture and ultimately help feed the world.
Dennis