Ava Perrier is a Junior at Kansas State University, majoring in Animal Science with a Communications option. She is originally from Eureka, KS, and yes...she is Amy and my firstborn.
At KSU, she has judged on the Intercollegiate Meats Team, served as VP of Finance for Sigma Kappa sorority and continues to be involved in various campus groups and organizations.
Her perspective about agriculture, college and life in general is an interesting one, as she connects the dots between her youth, education and future life in the "real world."
Thanks for joining us for episode 49 of practically ranching. I'm your host, Matt Perrier. Occasionally, I take the creative Liberty of inviting a guest who might not necessarily have a particular area of expertise that would resonate with you or loyal listener. But their ticket to the practically ranching hot seat is quite simple. They're in close proximity to the host. In this guest's case, she was closed both literally and figuratively. Ava Perrier is Amy's and my firstborn child. And since she volunteered to accompany me on a couple of bull delivery trips, low over Christmas break, I talked her into joining me for a podcast while we were on one of them Now you're about to find out we recorded the episode on the Bluetooth mic and the truck. And while it seemed like a great use of road miles at the time. It didn't end up being the best audio quality that I've ever produced. But if you can put up with a bit of engine noise and the occasional interjection of the turn by turn directions, and even a few cases of the Dodge Ram death wobble, it's since been fixed by the way. This was a pretty fun conversation. We covered college life and perspective of college students today. We talked about balancing tradition and technology and agriculture and even life lessons growing up on a ranch. And we even touched on musical tastes and today's KSU social scene in Aggie Vale. Now as you'll find out. Our daughter is a bit of an old soul. She's very proud of her family and of her community and of Kansas state university and the rural way of life. And she's passionate about maintaining this way of life and sharing our story with the world. You know, throughout history. Our older generation has often accused the younger generations of laziness and lack of focus and poor decision-making. And then at times this may be warranted. But conversations like this one and ones with other young people to whom I'm not related. Tell me that our future is really bright. There are plenty of young folks who are passionate about food production. They're well connected to our non-ag consumers. And I think they're very well equipped to add profitability into animal agriculture in the future. So enjoy this visit with Ava Perrier. As always thank you for joining us on the podcast. Be sure to leave a comment, follow the show, and we'll be back again and a couple of weeks. Thanks. And God bless.
Welcome, Ava. Tell us, uh, where we are today while we're recording this professionally recorded, state of the art podcast. Well, we're bouncing along in the pickup. Uh, we're headed towards southeastern California. Colorado. The last town I saw was Hooker, Oklahoma. So basically the middle of nowhere, I think. Now we may have some Western Oklahoma panhandle folks in the greater Boise city area that may take offense to that. But, uh, as a buddy of mine used to say, you can get out here and stretch your eyes. As long as you don't get. The death wobble in the, uh, new Dodge pickup. there's worse places to live than the middle of nowhere. I'd say. That's right. I've had a variety of folks on practically ranching, most of whom have had significant experience in their chosen field within agriculture. Beef industry or otherwise. You don't have quite as much beef industry experience, but in my opinion, you do have some interesting information that you could share and perspectives that you could offer. Tell us where you are in life and what you're up to these days and name, rank and serial number. What brings you here? Alrighty, well, I am a junior at Kansas State University. Um, about to start my second semester of my junior year. I'm studying animal science there. we get to choose options with our degree, and my option is marketing and communications. and yeah, in terms of experience, I haven't had a ton, but up until this point, I have been fortunate. Obviously, the Start out working at Dale Banks. Um, so that's been a great experience. I kind of did that, um, in the summers and whenever, whenever I could help. and then obviously I went to K State, um, I've been involved in quite a few clubs. I'd say My biggest commitment. My most recent so far has been, um, the meet judging team at K State. I just finished up with that in November, so I got to travel across the country basically with 10 of my closest friends and teammates. Anybody who's been on a collegiate judging team understands what you're getting at. Yeah, they really did become my closest friends, um, but yeah, that was a super great experience. I also have one internship. under my belt at the American Galvee Association, so as an Angus girl, that was a new experience that I really enjoyed getting to do, so that's where I'm at now. And your plans in the near term and long term future are what? In the near term, um, once I'm done with my junior year, this summer I have an internship with Cargill. I'll be in Minneapolis at their headquarters working in the Animal Nutrition Marketing Division, so I'll get a little taste of the corporate world and see if I enjoy that. And then I'll finish up at K State. I'm a little undecided of where I'll go after graduation, but I'm leaning towards going out into, um, the industry. Somewhere, like I said, if I like Cargill, something along those lines. I really just want to incorporate cattle and people in my career, because those are kind of the two things that I love. Well, I've had plenty of people throughout my career talk about that even though we're in the cattle business or the beef business or whatever it is that we think we produce or do on a daily basis, when it comes right down to it, regardless of what it is we're making or producing or selling or marketing, we're in the people business. And so I think, um, having that perspective and being willing to kind of be wide open is, is not a bad thing at all. So let's talk a little bit about some of your counterparts and your peers at Kansas State. Obviously you're most involved in the College of Ag and judging teams and animal science, but you're also an officer or were last year in your sorority house and visit with a lot of different folks on campus. We have a lot of people that probably are my age ish, and they may not get your age of person, and sometimes we may look at, um, millennials and gen, what are you, Gen Z? I have no idea. I think you're, I think you're a Generation Z. With a little disdain, and you didn't know how to bootstrap it like we did, um, give us a feel for what the perspective of the average person is. college student is today toward work and toward entertainment and how are you all different than my generation? I'd say one of the biggest parts is obviously I do spend a lot of time with ag kids, but I'd say I'd spend almost an equal amount of time, um, through my sorority with girls who know nothing or next to nothing about ag. And I'd say, first off, a big difference is that there weren't as many People who knew nothing about ag in your generation, just because a lot of your counterparts there, at least their grandparents had a farm and they would visit those places and things like that. But we all know that that's kind of dwindling down. And I think from an ag kids perspective, as we grew up, it was drilled into our mind that we need to educate the consumers because, you know, that's kind of been a recent development, um, in the past 20 years or so. Maybe not, but it seems like that was never talked about that I ever remember prior to the late 1990s, early 2000s, uh, outside of beef checkoff meetings and things like that. Beef council meetings. Um, I rarely heard the term we need to tell our story anywhere in production agriculture. So yeah, that's a fairly, that's a fairly new deal. And I think we need it. There were actually more when I was in school that didn't know where their food came from. It just was recent enough that we hadn't figured that out yet as production ag. Yep. And so, like I said, us kids who did grow up in agriculture have always just, it's been our mission to educate consumers about ag. Um, we've almost put up a, not a guard, but we've become a little defensive and all. Always ready to defend our industry and our lifestyle because we have either heard about or came into contact with so many people who are against ag. Um, and so I think, especially girls in the industry, for whatever reason, if you're in ag, you're sharing and you're posting and you're telling that story, um, so, so much. And that's such a big part of growing up in the industry. I in terms of our generation In general, how we work and how we act, I know is a lot different, um, from your generation and especially older generations. I would say I lean more towards the old school style of kind of looking at life. You know, I'd rather call somebody on the phone than text'em, but you know, my friends like to text, so that's what I do. Um, you are kind of an old soul but, uh, that's, that's not a bad thing. For old souls like us. Yeah. But looking at, uh, around me at my friends and people like that, there's, there's your people who will be lazy, but I think you'll kind of find that in every generation, I think. People who are very driven and had parents who kind of pushed them to succeed or they found their own reason to want to succeed. They do work hard and ranchers can Kind of look at it and it kind of looks like us kids have lived a life of luxury. I mean, we didn't have to go through, everyone talks about the eighties and we didn't have to go through all those times when it was super, super hard to be in agriculture, but there's been roadblocks, whether you want to talk about COVID or droughts or like I've already touched on just so many people trying to fight back against agriculture. like Like I said, even my friends who aren't in agriculture, it looks a little different these days. You probably for internships and jobs, you made calls to people or even went and visited those places where us, we have LinkedIn and we have all these. It's where you can find your internships and jobs and all of my friends use those sites often and they're always applying to things and trying to build their resumes. So I think there's a lot of similarities, but technology has just kind of changed the way that we do things, obviously. Yeah, and I would, um, back up just a step or two, uh, both literally and figuratively, we just came through the greater Setanta, Kansas area, we had Dr. Tara Barnhart on back a few months ago, and she was talking about while she was at K State, and I think that was in like, 01, 02, 03, somewhere in there, that they started that, um, Food for Thought group, which was one of the first college groups that was doing exactly what you're talking about everyone doing now, using youth to help tell agriculture's story. And so, yeah, I think that's a, that was kind of that tipping point when we finally figured out that somebody's got to do something about it. In the words of Jerry Garcia, somebody has to do something about it and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us. so yeah, that's, I think, um, a big part of agriculture today, whether we like it or not. And, and, you know, it's a challenge, but it's also an opportunity. I hear more, I knew very few people, girls or guys. Is that we're going in to ag communications and today, whether it be, um, option and communications through animal science, like you are, or someone actually going into ag com because they want to help tell the story, regardless of whether they're writing it down in a magazine or doing podcasts or social media posts or whatever, there's a lot of people that want to help do that. And I think that's, that's an opportunity for all of us. So let's drill down just a little bit. Uh, your granddad who was on the meats judging team in the sixties, talks about the fact that there were no females on his meats team and very few in Weber Hall period, fast forward to 96. And I think my team meets team. I say 96, 94, uh, was split almost exactly 50, 50. Girls to guys and you had a 10 person meets team and how many guys were on your team? Yeah, there was actually 11 of us total with one boy. Shout out Mr. Sammy. yeah, I always heard granddad tell the story of how there was a girl that had started practicing and judging with his team and she was pretty good. But the coach had to pull her in one day and basically say I have to quit. I can't have you judge because we can't afford to buy just you a hotel room. Um, lucky for Sam, we kept him around. I guess he and my coach, Dr. O'Quinn, could share the hotel room. So, it was worth it. Now, and Dr. Kropf or Dr. Good or whoever had to make that call in their defense, I remember Tom Perrier's story being that he was hoping that this girl wouldn't stay. Because he was going to have to do that and it may look bad and today there'd be lawsuits all over the place. You know, that could be it. We might have to call him and clear that up. I don't, I don't have a good fact checker here in the truck right now. But, uh, I don't want, I don't want any attorneys calling me or Title IX or whichever, authorities on us. But, yeah, I mean, it's interesting to me how the pendulum has swung so far the other way. And not just I look at, um, you know, student leadership, at least at the high school level, and you can tell me campus wide, at the high school level, there's very few guys that are willing to step up and take those offices and be the active parts. Do you see the same thing, or is that just in small town Eureka, Kansas? Oh, I definitely see that, whether it be in Weber Hall, like you said, I would say every single animal science class I've had. If not a huge majority of girls, and then yes, in those groups, I'd say guys in college are a little better, but when you compare them to girls, as in the ratio of how many guys are stepping up in those positions to girls, I would say it's definitely leaning more towards girls, especially in agriculture, oddly enough. to me, that's a double edged sword. It's an awesome. something that we have opened up the, uh, industry and the world to folks that are very capable of providing that work and that effort and that leadership and that creative thoughts and everything else that it takes, uh, but it's just interesting. Instead of getting the 50 50 balance, um, we've gone a whole, a long way the other way. So do you have any wise, theories as to why that is? Or did we just, are we just trying to counterbalance the last century or two with too many guys around? I hope that's not the case and I, I don't think it is unless it's subconscious, but I just think it might be because of how girls look at things and leadership. maybe over the years, girls realized that to get into those higher positions and things like that, they have to work extra hard and try extra hard. And a lot of boys are not willing to try extra hard. So when the girls do it, they just kind of step back and let them go into that role. I don't want to say that guys are lazy. I'll say it. Well, some are these days, but maybe just not as eager to be in the spotlight as girls sometimes when you talk about the positions and leadership, that's interesting. I've seen the same thing. And, um, I think that your perspective probably allows you a, a better understanding of why that is. And none of us know exactly, but, uh, but it is, it's, it's, it's sure interesting because you've kind of got this conflicting view of who's supposed to be making the decisions and leading, um, not from a male to female standpoint, but the folks that are willing to take the risks and put themselves out there. And quite often from. your age ish and down, um, the guys just aren't willing to take that risk and step out there. And I don't, I don't know exactly why that is. Maybe it is, maybe it's just more of a work ethic thing. Let's talk. We've got a few alumni here that are listening, I know. You're not yet 21, but I know you have talked with others who are. What are the top five hangouts in Aggieville? And for those non wildcats, I'm sure you know, but, uh, that's the Bar District of Manhattan, Kansas. And has been for over a century, and those, uh, establishments often come and go. So, what are the top five names? now and would we recognize any of those from 30 I have an easy answer for first, um, it's Yard Bar. Johnny Caws owns it and everyone goes there on Thursday nights at, I think it's eight o'clock cause it's 50 cent wells for an hour, so. 50 cent wells. That, um. that would even have been a good deal in 1995 or 6 when I was there. Yeah, it's the thing. I didn't know the Yard Bar even existed in Manhattan. I thought that was just in at the National Western Stock Show. Okay, Yard Bar is number one. Oh gosh, I think it gets down to personal preference. Is there still a Kites? There's Kites, but it's not, it's just kind of a restaurant now. It's for the old folks from the 60s. Wanna recognize a bar with from their era. People go there, but it's not the stand around and party bar from the things I've heard. Okay. The thing that I've noticed, I've only been out in Ville once with you, but when I was there, the kiss of death for a bar was to have a live band because it seemed like nobody was willing to, uh, show up and give them the benefit of. And today, Manhattan, Kansas brings some pretty good names in. We went and saw a guy at, uh, The Hat. The Hat. It's actually called the Manhattan, but The Hat for short. And they had a long list. Wade Bowen, and I don't remember what other names that I saw, kind of Texas singer songwriter types that were coming through there. So, that has changed a lot. I was there in the early 90s. Yes, I love. Of concerts of the hat. and that's a big thing I'd say in our, you know, kind of my ag kids, friends, a lot of people go to those concerts. It's always fun to kind of take your friends that don't really listen to country music, to those, it's, they usually enjoy it. So is music a way to bring folks together still? I mean, different segments of your friend groups, is music. A bridge or the bridge or what what socially brings folks together besides the obvious one after you're after you're 20 Yeah, I wouldn't say music is a huge bridge But people find common ground for sure and it's something fun to do I'd say bridges. There's nothing specific just being in college Knowing people who know people you get connected just hanging out or whatever football games Yeah, K State football, prior to when I was there wouldn't have bridged much at all. Uh, for those of you listening, we went to our first bowl game since the fluke that we had back in the 80s when we went to the Liberty Bowl, but my freshman year we went to the first bowl game. Bill Snyder was, had been there for three or four years and we hadn't had many winning seasons. in the history, and so yeah. The fact that Kansas State football is now a bridge for all students is a huge accomplishment, no doubt. So, I thought it was interesting, a little bit ago I asked you about whether you were a Gen Z or when Millennials stopped and you have no idea what those different eras are. Is that something that is even talked about? Do you all in any classes or you all are just your own group and you don't? Well, it is funny you say that because I was going to mention the only generation that anyone ever talks about is the boomers. I don't really, they just use that term a lot. Yeah, what does boomer mean to your generation, Ava? I mean, we know that they're the baby boomers. Now remember, we've got a few boomers listening. I know. I, we know that they're the baby boomers. Okay, so how, what era do you think were the baby boomers? Wasn't the 60s like Yeah, so I don't know when it would have started after the war after World War two So your granddad and grandma were on the early side of the boomers. They were born in 1945 and graduated high school in 66 They would have been on the older side of the boomers and then I think it went for 15 years ish. I'm not sure. I think somebody accused me of being a boomer one time and I was appalled because I'm way too young to be a boomer. I'm in no man's land. I think I'm Gen X. Maybe, yeah, well maybe it's because we're young but I don't, no one like knows what generation we are and I don't think anyone would get offended by being called a different generation. I don't know. And you're called a millennial? Maybe, yeah, that would be cool. You don't even know what millennials are, do you? I do. What's a millennial like Uncle Mark, you always say he's an old millennial. He was born in 80. The first, I don't know what they do. Where are those skinny jeans? And well, I, I do think that it's probably telling that you all really don't put yourselves into a bucket or worry about what somebody else thinks. You're pretty independent, would you say? Yes, I would say thaT. So let's talk about the beef industry going forward. You all have heard from industry leaders and you've talked with professors at K State and each other. How do you see, let's just say production agriculture first, we'll talk about the changing consumer later, but how do you think production ag, and you can be more specific about the beef industry or more broad, how does it change in 10 years, 25 years, 50 years from what you saw growing up and what you see today or does it? You know, I, I hope that it won't change drastically. like you said, I'm kind of an old soul. I like the family ranch. Um, but I also like to see those family ranches grow when they want to, and not let traditions Hold them back too much. I think going forth, we may see less little family ranches and more, you know, family type operations that are larger and have more land. And especially with housing developments and things like that, it's getting harder and harder for you to run cows on a huge group of. Pastures that aren't separated and blocked out, it might even get to where people have to have, multiple different ranches with different people overseeing them, like I said, I hope that we can still stay family oriented because that's something that the agriculture industry prides itself on and I think has an advantage when we talk about educating the consumers, it's very easy in my opinion, or easier to talk to someone and tell them how much we care. The people operating our ranch are a grandpa, a dad, kids, and two hired hands. I hope that consumers can understand that that's how much we care about our industry, is that generations have continued to work in it. And so, like I said, I hope that continues and that we don't see what people like to call factory farms. Even though I do want those families to be able to grow and expand. Become, ranches that can feed however many cattle and things like that, and still not be considered a factory, because I don't like that term at all. Any of us do, but the fact of the matter is that every time we adopt new technology or try to make an operation, farm, ranch, whatever the case may be, as efficient as it can be, there's usually at least some level of an increase in size and scope that has to be done to pay for that technology. Make room for the next generation, or whatever the case may be. And that's a tough one. Regardless of who the owner is, there is this certain belief that bigger is badder. Especially from a consumer standpoint. So that's something we wrestle with, I think, a lot. I mentioned technology. What would be a couple of technologies that you see, that you think haven't been widely used? I haven't seen wide scale adoption yet, but probably will in the foreseeable future. So one that kind of comes to mind because it's fresh on my mind. I had a ag marketing class this past semester and my group, basically the project was to present and sell an ag technology, a newer technology, and ours was a brand of ear tag that has, you know, the GPS, the thermal regulation. And all those sorts of things. And when you look at that price today and it's 1, 900 for a pack of 20 tags or whatever, I re I really want to shy away from that just because the old light text tags do not cost even a fraction of that. But when you think about it, if you have, you know, GPS on every single animal in your pasture when. Henry and I are south of the Corbin trying to find two heifers that got out and trying to get through the woods, you know, you can look on your phone and just see where they are and we can head right to that place and one day it might be worth that price or maybe that price won't be, so expensive when the technology becomes more common. Yeah, I, I agree. I think that whatever form. of I don't like electronic ID because that's too broad, but there's a lot of different tags or implants or collars or whatever the case may be. Everything from the virtual fencing, which keeps the cattle in a virtual drawn out fence to those like you had marketed GPS, body temperature, things like that. Some of those are going to get widespread adoption because of the labor constraints that we have in agriculture and because, yeah, it's just going to be a, I think, probably a cost of doing business as we go, uh, go forth and it hopefully if it, if they cost a hundred bucks a piece and you get 110 in savings or you get more cows bred or AI'd or whatever the case may be, that's, you can do that math and it's a winner. If it costs a hundred bucks and it doesn't save you anything, then yeah. Yeah, I think, you know, it's a hard pill to swallow to think about some of those things happening even for me on the ear tags. It's like, well, it's, it's kind of fun to have to search for the cows sometimes, but when you think about it, the amount of time that it saves. And one thing I do not like to do is fix fence. So if virtual fencing or things like that that are kind of easier than having to string the old, stretch the old barbed wire, I guess that might be. Might be good. You'd rather draw a fence on your computer screen and set the, set the boundary or the perimeter than, uh, yeah, have to cobble together stuff every April. Yeah. I get it. I get it. So we talked labor. the folks that you're at Kansas State Animal Science with today, what percentage would you estimate of kids your age are going into some form of production agriculture? Either returning to a family operation, going to work. for another farmer ranch where they are providing, even if it's management, but working daily on producing food. Let's say students in production side of the College of Agriculture. Do you count vets? Yeah, we can count veterinarians. Food animal vets. Not the folks that are in animal science so they can get their undergrad and then go be a dog and cat vet in suburban Kansas City. Let's, let's not count, let's not call that production agriculture. But yeah, food animal, large animal vets, yeah, I'd throw them in there. Yeah, you know, I have a lot of my friends who are gonna go back to a farm or start a ranch of their own or something like that. It's hard. percentage. Um, less than a quarter. I was thinking around a quarter. Okay. because there is a, a fair share, a lot who will go into the ag industry, but some sort of, you know, corporate job or whether it be an association or something not as directly with production. So, you know, I hope there's enough going in. I think there, again, it gets fewer and fewer every year, as we see. See, as you mentioned before, farms and ranches expand in size, um, and technology adoption and things like that. I mean, you're not the only one who doesn't like to go and rebuild fence. so if you don't need as many hands to rebuild the fence, that means you're going to have, you're going to need more people that are working for the companies that provide virtual fence. And I mean, I think we see that shift, whether we like it or not, we see that shift away from getting your hands and your boots dirty. to raise our food, and those jobs, often like yourselves, taken by someone who grew up in production ag, but is going to provide that service, whatever it might be, communication, solutions, chemical, crop insurance, you name it, uh, provide that service to those of us who are still working the land. Whether we like it or not, that is part of the, some would call progress. of an industry, uh, maturation, I guess, of an industry. What is a lurking issue that you or others would be concerned with going forth? Whether it be a, within agriculture or just in general. If I walked across campus and said, what are you worried about? What keeps you awake at night? What would the average student say? And then what would you say? Since you're a above average student. The, any, anyone again, not, not just the average. Yep. Yep. Let's go. Campus wide, 18 to 22 year olds, what are they, what are they worried about, right? World peace? No, I don't think that's it. You know, it's hard to put that into one bucket because I'd say depending on people's views there's different things that people are worried about and college kids are very, you know, if they think they have a view on something they're very stuck in that, um. That part hasn't changed. Yeah. That's it. That's the place, if you want to express your views, the university is a good place to learn to do it. And tolerate everybody else's crackpot ideas as well. And college is kind of a selfish time in your life, I would say. I'd say the thing that keeps people up at night is their future and their life, um, which is good and bad because we're there to develop ourselves and we're there to make a life, or start a life for ourselves. But I do I think ag kids do worry more about the industry as a whole than maybe other professions. I don't, when I look at my friends that are in other industries, they just don't worry and they don't, because their jobs can basically work no matter what. They're going to have a job and obviously the world needs food and so we're always going to have a job, but I think we have a tendency to worry more and be more scared about, like I said, losing land. whether it be governmental regulations, not allowing us to do our job, my friends that are from the city just do not have worries like that. As far as I can tell, I'd say they're more worried about, you know, social, you know, I don't want to, I don't want to get into the weeds, but kind of more social, um, where our world is going in terms of rights and things like that. They, they spend a lot. We spend a lot of time worrying about that stuff and we're just trying to keep our head down and sustain our livelihood, really. I don't know if that's changed all that much either, honestly. And when you say ag kids, I assume you mean kids that grew up in agriculture somehow. Quite often production ag, whether they are in the College of Ag or whether they're going back into farming and ranching. But kids that grew up on a farm or ranch, they worry about their livelihood more than anything. Yes, 100%. Um, and when you bring that up, one thing that does make me pretty hopeful is I've met, you know, not a ton, but a handful of kids who are in animal science and didn't really grow up in ag, but something drew them to it. I can think of one of my friends in particular who, he grew up in Wichita and not much, uh, ag background, and he came to K State, I think, wanting to be a vet. And then kind of found a different track and he's going into the feed yard industry. And he's one of the most passionate people. And one of those, you know, few boys that do get involved. And I think that's again with the kind of mindset of he isn't in ag so he tries a little harder. And he's kind of moved his way up in things. You know, he's just one example and I know multiple like that. And that does make me hopeful. And those who maybe didn't grow up in ag but are going into ag. I think that. They also worry too, just, they kind of have picked up on the fact that, or maybe even, you know, being from a different background, being from an urban area or whatever, um, they kind of know what the consumer view is, or this urban sprawl and things like that, so they're also worried about it. But yes, a majority would be those of us who grew up in ag, who have always lived this life and who want to continue to live it. That student that you just referenced that didn't grow up. I grew up in rural America, but came to K State, started one path, but stayed in animal agriculture. To me, those are the folks that we as an industry, you all as the next group of industry leaders need to lean on and ask, how do we best connect these dots? How do we best tell the consumer what it is we're doing and why we're so passionate about this industry and what messages And I mean, to me, he is a wealth of information, almost like this case study, because he's so rare. There are so few non ag folks who come into the ag segment and specifically go into production ag. It just doesn't happen very often. And part of it is because it's so capital intensive, and there's a lot of barriers to that. One being tradition. but yeah, I, I would at every opportunity. I think we need to ask those types of folks, what is it we can do better? Because we all have been to a new place, and the first time you set foot on that place, you see things that you would do differently. And maybe there's good reason that they're doing them that way. Maybe there's good reason that those pens are laid out like that. But after you've worked there for a while, you never see, hey, this could be even better. And we in agriculture, that's us. It's us. Generation after generation after generation comes home to the same set of pens or the same field layout or barns or whatever else and we never step out and go how come we're still doing this in 2024? Well, because that's the way we've always done it, right? Um, and new fresh perspectives I think are really, really good. We need to, we need to utilize those folks whenever we can. Still along those lines, one of my favorite stories to hear And it doesn't happen often, not at all, but is when a rancher is, you know, doesn't have any one who wants to come back to the farm, doesn't know what they'll do for the next generation, and somehow they get hooked up with one of those kids who don't have anything to go back to, but they want to ranch or farm, and they can be connected with that rancher who does have the capital and who does have the land and kind of somehow. I'll work out a transition, um, if I could, if I could create a pipeline for those people, I would do it. I just love that story. And I think that would be a just great thing for our industry, um, in terms of, you know, you talk to every once in a while, you talk to a rancher who doesn't know what the next step will be after their generation. And like I said, there's a few kids who would love to go to a ranch like that and kind of be able to take over and work a Alongside hopefully to start, but yeah, we've, we have some couple different customers who've had that scenario and are working with that scenario and it's not without challenges, but it's, it's great to see that legacy, regardless of if it's carried on by flesh and blood, but it's great to see that business and that legacy continue, even if it is somebody from outside that buys that farmer ranch and carries it forth. I had a listener. Just a month or two ago while I was delivering bulls. We were talking about a similar situation and regardless of whether it is The next generation of youth coming home to a family operation or the next generation purchasing them from non family He had an interesting perspective and I'm gonna have a podcast at some point and talk to somebody about this But his comment was you know all the old guard Says we need to get more people back to rural America and says we need to get more young people involved in these farms and ranches and yet they won't ever let go. They won't ever either sell it or transfer it or basically relinquish the managerial role and ownership of that so that the next generation can come back and actually have some equity before they're 60 or 70 years old. And again, that's one of those traditional things. Every family is different. There are oftentimes reasons for that, but I can't think of very many other industries who do that, who say, you know, you come back and work for two or three or four decades and this will all be yours. And you're nearing retirement age when you finally get to that point where you can go, yeah, I'm finally getting to make my own decisions. And that's, that's something that's, I think fairly unique to, to agriculture. And this guy's response was if we want. Then the old people have to move away and that's tough to do, especially to an old soul like yourself who loves that opportunity for two or three or gosh, even four sometimes generations to still be there providing something for that family business. Again, that's a very, very fine line, but it is, it does present some problems when, when the generation is still holds the purse strings and the managerial or Uh, aren't able to say, yeah, it's time. So, your favorite part of being a student at Kansas State University? Oh, that's a hard one. I have a lot of favorite parts. What are you going to, you're going to graduate in a year and a half, what are you going to miss the most? I'm going to miss the people, um, and the, just the different people that you get to come into contact with on a daily basis. And the everyday things. that you get to do alongside these people. I remember at the end of last semester, one of my friends and I were just sitting there kind of talking like, wow, this is, this is just so college. Cause you know, we just had a bunch of people from all over the country who are just hanging out, you know, watching a movie or whatever we're doing, talking about all our different cultures from back home and things that we do differently. To be in the same. Um, ever since I was a kid, I've, you know, when I would get involved in state 4 H things and different organizations, I always thought to myself, I cannot wait to live in Manhattan with all my best friends. And it's true. Like, I, I didn't even know all the people that I was going to meet, but being there with kids who I've competed with and, you know, only saw once a year when I was a kid. And now I can drive two minutes down the road or meet them at the library or things like that. I will really, really miss that part. Well, you're not alone because at least three generations of Parriers and Teegardens in your family would, uh, would have shared that same viewpoint. Gosh, there's a few folks who I know listen to this podcast that have done exactly what my buddy that I just mentioned five minutes ago said needed to be done, and that is step away from their farm or ranch or feed yard. And they've moved to Manhattan too, so, uh, obviously it's young, old, Uh, it's college towns do have a certain culture and a certain energy and the ability to just kind of think and communicate and be creative. And it doesn't matter whether it's a super liberal arts college or what would be considered a pretty conservative, ag, at least one time ag focused college, land grant institution like Kansas State University. Steve Petty. It, it does and that, that's, you mentioned college kids sometimes being a little selfish. In my opinion, that's the time to do that. That is the time to be a little selfish and look out for number one within certain, uh, staying out of the extremes. But if there's ever a time to be selfish and ask questions and be curious and think a little differently and, uh, try new things out, uh, that, that four year, five, six years. depending on how, how much folks stretch it out. Uh, that's the time to do it. And I think it's, I think it's healthy. I think it's healthy for folks. What's your least favorite part about college? Oh, I'm, I'm really trying to think the fact that it can only last four or five or six years. Yeah. That it has to end. Um, I really, I really can't think of a part that I don't like. I mean, yeah. So there's nothing you're going to miss. I mean, you're not going to miss some classes and studying is, but some of them I really like to study for. So 4 30 AM wakeups for judging team workouts. Yeah. Well, or sometimes earlier than that. Yeah. But I don't know what I think about those. I just think about, it sounds so cheesy, but I'm like, wow. I just think every time I think about, Wake up, I think of something funny that one of my teammates did or something. So even that was, was awesome. So we're hearing more and more about an election coming up. political scene is kind of a quagmire from a lot of our perspectives. Your era, your fellow students, how do they view politics? You said that you've got kind of friends from all over the nation and rural and urban. Whether it be the sorority house or the block and bridal lounge at Weber Hall. How do 18 to 22 year olds at Kansas State University view politics and elected officials and things like that? Yeah, I don't know many people who are like following the presidential races and things like that. Do they vote? Yeah, I think so. But, like, I don't just come into contact with people. a lot of people who are talking about that on a daily basis, but people are pretty outward with their political views, I'd say. And when you say their political views, like when there's a hot candidates, are they talking issues? Are they talking parties? What is the outward? I would definitely say issues is the biggest thing. Um, even in high school, like if there is a hot topic, people would be quick to share something on social media. Will they do it face to face? Do they stand outside the student union and picket? Oh, there's been, there's picketers, yeah. Really? I was kidding when I said that. I figured that was a thing of the past. And there's chalk writing. On the sidewalks, yeah. That's why I say it's definitely more of an issues thing, but not as much, I don't know. I assume. There's some for specific groups that they are outward about their candidates, but more of an issues. And there's been, I've been part of that. Lots of conversations where you def, I definitely know that that person has a different view than me and yeah. And isn't afraid to share it. Yeah. And that's alright. Again, that's healthy. That's the time to do it. And at least, at least they're communicating it sounds like in what I would say. I would call more of a direct, face to face, not this, comment on Twitter X, Facebook, whatever and never have to, actually have that conversation face to face with someone. Say those things where someone can look you in the eye and see, see you as you're saying them. That's, that's something I think is dangerous and it's interesting to hear that they don't, it's your generation. It doesn't just get political on social media. Yeah. And I'd like to think that we are pretty good about getting, not letting those differences and views, but a barrier between us, at least in my experience with my sorority and just, like I said, my friends that grew up way differently than me, I know they have different views on some things and still it's never bothered us. Sometimes you just don't talk about it. I kind of prefer not to talk about it. That's how it was with me too. And that's probably kind of how we were raised. Alright, let's go a lightning round. Football or basketball? K State football or basketball to attend a game. Okay, I would definitely rather attend a football game because of tailgates. Because you see everyone. But I have been going to more basketball games this year. They're fun. Fun, but I'll choose football for sure. Okay. Purple or lavender? Oh gosh. Purple for K State colors in general, but I like wearing lavender more probably. This will be a tough one. Old country or what do we call Texas singer, songwriter, Zach Brian? Red Dirt? Is that Red Dirt now? Not really Zach Brian. He's like alternative Red Dirt, I'd say. I don't know Zach Bri It's a genre of his own. Of his own? Well, there's a lot more on his heels. What's your favorite kind of music? Oh, Dad. I don't Um You I feel like There's a lot of things that I'm proud of, Ava, that you have done and accomplished and the list is long, but your tastes and love of music is probably the one that I'm most proud of because I've always been, I've always kind of had a weird music taste and liked the independent stuff. I was gonna say. Non radio, non Nashville stuff, and I don't know how you did it, hopefully I didn't sway you that much, but you've kind of become me times ten in that regard. You're always telling me to check out this new artist or go to this new concert or whatever the case may be, which is pretty cool. Yeah, I get scared to, I did become the main person to play Aux in the Meets van, but I get scared to do that because a lot of people do not know the songs I listen to. But I just like good music with usually a good message. And yeah, a story. I like the stuff that you raised me on. I like that a lot. Like, so which were your memorable artists that you grew up listening to at the pair of your household? I would say Eric Church, George Strait, the songs you'd sing on the guitar. Robert Earl Keene. Yeah, Robert Earl Keene, Chris Ledoux. You were named during, in the midst of a Yeah, like, I love Jack Ingram, and I don't think anyone my age would really know Jack Ingram, but I love his music. Jack, Jack kind of faded off into the sunset. I like Brad Paisley's songs too, that he used to Good stuff. Brad Paisley has amazing love songs. I could do a whole podcast on what era of each artist or which songs of theirs are the best. I just, and it's usually the old stuff, right? Yeah, typically. So it goes back to our generational thing that, and people that want to hustle because they have to prove themselves. They work hard early on and as they, as they mature, their stuff isn't as, it's just not as good. No. What's the best thing of growing up in rural America on a farmer ranch? Oh, that, that is, yeah. There's great things. a shout out to my parents for raising me there. That was. Best thing you ever did for us. I'll talk about two things. First, growing up in ag and with responsibility of owning animals. there's no, nothing, no better lesson. I would say that I know of in work ethic and commitment and responsibility. Everybody who raises animals knows you gotta feed them. At least, you know, if they're show calves, you're feeding them. twice a day. Um, you have to make sure your waters are checked. And with me, with four younger siblings, you also have to figure out teamwork and sometimes negotiation on who's going out there when it's Negotiation. Is that, is that what those arguments that I used to hear out in the barns and across the whole yard? Well, I'll have anger issues. Negotiation. Okay. All right. Lyle's cleared up his anger problems. I hope he doesn't listen to this. But, uh, yeah, learning those lessons and even just working with dad and working with whoever, taught us so much, so much patience, have to be a good listener, all of those things. And then growing up in rural America, I was always very, very thankful for our town. A lot of kids aren't in high school, but I definitely was. We went through, you know, those two tornadoes and I was, whatever, a freshman and a junior or something when those happened. And being the nostalgic person I am, I always, it would almost bring tears to my eyes when I would see every rancher and every business owner drop what they were doing for a week, two weeks, to come into town and clean up from those tornadoes. You know, quote unquote neighbors when we live 15 miles away from them. But it's all fill those blanks in for the listeners. We, Eureka, Kansas had two tornadoes two years apart, basically made an X right through Eureka. One of them went from the northwest to the southeast. The next two years later came from the southwest toward the northeast and cut right through the heart of it. And, and yeah, it was, it was rough. The interesting thing. We just talked about different cultures, rural and urban. A lot of times we think Kansas compared to New York city, but even in small town, Greenwood County, Kansas, Eureka, the town of Eureka got hit population 2, 400 ish. Um, and there were a lot of folks in Eureka who stepped up to try to help, but because we had access to equipment, probably a certain amount of comfort with. Moving big trees and pieces of houses and things like that. The farmers and ranchers are the ones that showed up and went to just completely cleaning everything up. And by the second one, we were pretty darn good at it. In fact, it made some of the emergency responders from outside of Eureka area, a little nervous because we didn't even ask any questions. We just showed up knew where all the trees needed to go. Cause we'd done it 18, 24 months before and here we went, but it showed you, Ava, and it showed old me. Um, that there is a certain just duty that goes with living in the country. Uh, I'll even say the country as opposed to rural America. We knew that we had to go do it because if we didn't, those folks in Eureka were going to be waiting for weeks or months and probably having to pay somebody to come do it from Wichita or Kansas City or wherever the case may be. And we, we've been there in a couple hours time, rid their yard of trees and limbs and brush and, and, uh, stand their garage back up until they can be. to fix it for real and rolled on to the next yard and I think it was, yeah, that's something that you don't, we take it for granted, but when it hits in New Orleans or wherever else, it doesn't happen the same way, unfortunately. What's the worst part about growing up in rural America, rural Greenwood County? Oh, people would have things, but I like everybody knowing everything about me, so I don't care. I don't know. I mean, about a 20 minute trip to town when everybody else is gone. It gets called with five minutes notice that basketball practice is canceled. We're on our way to town. Oh no. That's not the worst. The worst is when you can't drive and your parents forget you at least twice a week after practice. Now wait a second. And you have no phone, so you're getting on your friend's phone and then They're like, Oh yeah, we're coming, but they haven't left yet. So then you have to wait 20 minutes. You know what we did when we were your age? Walked uphill both ways. Exactly. In the blinding snow. I'll make sure to hitch a ride on 54 the next time that happens. You can take the county roads to get home. It is a challenge. No, that I seriously don't even mind. I mean, yeah, that part. The long bus rides when I was a kid. when it was hot and bouncy, but other than that, I loved growing up in Eureka. I loved my school. I think it's the perfect size. there's 39 in my class. You know everybody, but there's enough people that you still can kind of, kind of pick your friends and everyone just has each other's back for the most part. And it makes me very happy to come back and go to church and see everybody practice with the high school team, even though. Junior in college. You've still got a year eligibility. You should have had a COVID year or two to come back and play some high school ball again. Well, it's just like anything else. There are advantages and disadvantages. And I think you do a phenomenal job, especially for your age at finding the good. We can all learn from that. And I think you summed it up pretty well there as we were talking about music a little bit ago. And you like, you like music that tells you a story. That you can connect with. I think the reason that you are in the curriculum you are, and wanting to do the job that you are, and telling the beef industry's story, is the same way. We have, we have consumers. today who want to have that same story that same tie that makes them feel good about what they're purchasing to feed their family or to close their family or whatever the case may be that you do when you listen to eric church or brad paisley tell you a story and uh we haven't we haven't felt like that was our job in agriculture but i think more and more we're realizing that there is value and if the consumer is willing to pay value for that the dividends the premiums for those who are able to figure out how to tell that story in the right way and tie that to a product.. What else, Ava? I just want to shout out to all my friends listening to this podcast. If you got to the end, text me. Your phone will be blowing up for the A lot of my friends do. Yeah, our K State segment. Tried and true, practically. Well, we appreciate you being here and, um, gave us a little way to pass the 16 hour bull delivery trip. So, thanks a bunch, Ava, and thank you all for listening. Thanks for having me.Microphone (Yeti Stereo Microphone)-1:
Thanks again for joining us for practically ranching brought to you by Dale banks Angus. Again, we thank you for being a loyal listener. be sure you like, and follow the show. We appreciate your time here and hope that you're enjoying this. We wish the best to you. Stay warm out there. As calving spring calving season is started, take care of yourselves, take care of the cattle and thanks again for listening to practically ranching.