The Great Family of Agriculture

I came to the University of Wyoming as a freshman, right out of high school. I grew up in eastern Oregon on a small hobby ranch in an agricultural community. I love agriculture and this love started early. My dad worked a full-time job and we had several acres on which we messed around. When I was younger, we started raising pigs, breeding and selling weaner pigs to 4H and FFA kids as well as raising some and selling them for meat. My older sister and I took care of the pigs until we as a family decided to do something else. Our next venture was in the beef industry. I used birthday money that I had saved up to buy bottle calves from a local dairy to raise and sell for slaughter. With this decision we also started to put up some hay to feed our steers through the winter. Dad bought old equipment for cheap or at auction. This added an interesting flavor to haying season, one of short tempers, thrown tools, and late nights. I learned about mechanics, about haying, and running equipment. Looking back dad sacrificed a lot to help me be successful.

After several years of selling bottle calves I invested in my first beef cows and a bull. With dads help I learned about breeding livestock, fixing fence, checking cows during calving, and being responsible for my own herd. I feed the cows, put up the hay (with help from my family), and everything else. During this time, I was also pulling mostly straight A’s in school and was very involved in my FFA chapter, doing almost every competition I could, being an officer at the chapter and district level, and winning a blue banner at state for Farm Business Management.

Being so involved at home left me feeling rather bored and alone when I first got to college. However, as I interacted with my peers and professors, I learned about Range Club, as a Rangeland Ecology and Watershed Management major it seemed obvious that this could be a good fit for me. I went to my first meeting and I was hooked, everyone was so welcoming and friendly it felt like I belonged, it felt like the same people that I knew in FFA. We all had a love for the land and agriculture, it felt like family. Since my first days in the Range Club and the College of Ag everyone has been so helpful and kind. I was encouraged to join Ag Ambassadors and Collegiate Young Farmers and Ranchers. Throughout my time in all of these different organizations I have met some amazing people, lifelong friends, and mentors. I have received so much help and guidance from so many and I couldn’t be more thankful. Even if you’re not from an agriculture background the family of ag is always glad to invite new people in and expose them to the grand and diverse world of production agriculture.

-Ryan Benjamin

Leave a Comment