Written by: Diana Kessler, Northern Arizona rancher
1. An unknown author said, “Hold your friends close, hold your enemies closer.” The relationship can be unpleasant or pleasant, but it provides the opportunity for others to “op in” or “opt-out” - either participate or spectate. There is a risk in being inclusive, but “if it is not broke, can it be better?” and “if it is broke, let’s fix it” is intriguing and engaging.
2. Dad always said, “the more I see of people, the more I like cows.” He acknowledged working with people was mandatory for ranching and the beef industry. He taught me to never back up on my points but always “listen to understand” to fight and educate another day. Why do the Cardinals watch tapes with unending intensity if not to figure out what makes the Seahawks tick? Or U of A and ASU?
3. My father-in-law repeatedly said, “managing natural resources is working with people.” Wow, was that ever prophetic! Public land ranching teaches us this early, and our consumers are trying to teach us now. What about Beyond Meat or Impossible burgers? Are we listening to understand or to formulate our defense answer?
Ranching in Arizona demands each of us to hone our skills as land stewards, animal husbandry experts, family members, industry leaders, good listeners, etc. I choose to “...like people”, to “hold my enemies closer” and to “listen to learn”.