If you had told me in high school that I would be the one of my parents’ two daughters to come back to the ranch, I think I would have laughed.
Not that I disliked my upbringing as a ranch kid. Make-believe trail rides on the saddles in the barn and riding along with Dad to feed cows and chop ice in the winter were great adventures. I’m not sure what I thought I would grow up to be, maybe a veterinarian or a lawyer, but ranching just never seemed like something I would do. Even when I did move home years later, it didn’t start out as a permanent arrangement. I came home to be an extra set of hands while my dad recovered from rotator cuff surgery. I didn’t know where I was headed next but I was pretty sure I wasn’t staying.
I wouldn’t say there was a single, pivotal moment that made me decide to stay and work on the family ranch, no significant event that ignited my passion for agriculture. But when it became obvious to me that I wanted to stay rather than pursue a career elsewhere, I jumped in feet first. I started growing my own herd of cattle, I got a job working as a crop adjuster to increase my plant knowledge, I attended an AI seminar so I could be more involved in our genetic options and I went back to school to get my MBA to make sure we were applying business fundamentals to our operation. I enjoy working outdoors; I love being around animals and I am so thankful I get to be the 3rdgeneration working in the family business my grandparents established and my parents continue to grow.
Although my ranching career is short compared to most, I bring a fresh perspective and an innovative approach to our operation. I am continuously impressed with the technology that is available in agriculture. Every day there is something new that solves a pain point for producers – from cameras monitoring the calving shed to real time satellite imagery of crops and rangeland. Faced with the task of having to feed a rapidly growing population coupled with the declining number of farmers and ranchers, I am inspired daily by the entrepreneurs that allow those involved in agriculture to work smarter not harder.
I’ve come a long way from the make-believe trail rides in the barn, and I am so glad my great adventures on my family’s ranch continue.
Abby Majerus has an MBA from University of Montana and works at Majerus Ranch.