Awhile back I received a random email inquiring about why we choose to live the lifestyle we lead. I have to admit, I was intrigued and suspicious at the same time, but curiosity got the best of me (and the fact that I really enjoy visiting about why we are involved in Agriculture and the importance of it for the economy and our family) so I emailed back. Little did I know this online magazine had found our ranch via the internet and was intrigued with us! So we are now a feature on SheKnows.com . The title is not one I probably would have picked, “4 Millennials Who Have Given Up Riches for Farming”, mainly because I do not feel like I have really given up anything, just taken a different path than what I initially started out on, but it does give a sense of why we do what we do. If I were to name it, it would be something like this, “Lifestyle Choices: Agriculture at its Best” or “Living in Agriculture…Not What Everyone Has Planned.”
Take a minute to read the quick article and share it with your friends. There are three other people involved in different realms of agriculture talking about why they also choose to live this lifestyle instead of in the ‘burbs.’ There are positive things about everyone’s lifestyle and we all choose differently for different reasons. If we all liked the same thing, wouldn’t life be boring?!
Please share with us why you choose to live where you live, make us want to move there!
So here is the entire interview!
Francavilla Fontana Could you tell me a little bit about how you first got started in farming? I grew up in the world of Rodeo so I had a general knowledge of the agricultural world at an early age, but not quite the entire extent of a farming and ranching operation. My husband is a third generation cattle rancher and farmer, we got married and moved back to the family operation in South Dakota. So I really got involved about 8 years ago when we met.
Ain Sukhna What farming do you do – plants, livestock, etc.? The Kougl Ranch operation raised Registered Black Angus and Registered South Devon cattle and bulls until a year ago when we stepped out and purchased a ranch in the mountains of South Central Montana (the Wolf Mountains). At that point we sold a majority of our main cattle herd and changed the pasture land into farmland. Now we are into the farming business with Corn, Wheat, and Sun Flowers being planted on the South Dakota farm and raising yearlings and alfalfa hay in Montana.
Did you ever think you would do anything except farming? Do you have any specializations, degrees, experience, etc. in other fields? Actually up until meeting my husband at college I was nearly positive I would be a Human Resource Director or Business Manager of some big name company in the city. I have my M.S. in Economics with emphasis in Accounting and Human Resources. After meeting him and getting to know his ranching operation on the Cheyenne River Reservation I couldn’t imagine living in a city. I grew up in a big town of around 12,000, his family operation was located a few miles outside of a small town of 500 with the closest Wal Mart being 140 miles away. I fell in love with small town living and all that is provides for a person’s well-being and network. Everywhere I go, it seems like we find someone who knows someone on the Cheyenne River Reservation or from our little area. I am still able to pursue my career goals through directing a Non-Profit organization called The Keya Foundation.
What attracts you to living where you do rather living the big city life? The fact that we can allow our kids to explore and learn outside with our biggest worry being skinned knees and bug bites was a huge selling point. We know all the neighbors in South Dakota and we are getting to know the neighbors in Montana. The ranch in Montana lays on a mountain road and is 9 miles in from the highway with only one other neighbor on the road. Going down to the West it is 15 miles to the Interstate and nearest town, and there is around 5 families on that road. Sure there are other challenges, especially with mountain ranch living – when is the next time you may get to town?, what about the weather?, what if there is an emergency? We actually had a big emergency about a month ago with our home burning down in the middle of the night, it had just snowed and took the fire department 45 minutes to get up the winding mountain road, we were all safe, and are now the four of us are cozy in the one room bunkhouse until we can begin the building process. You balance those challenges out with the peace and serenity of country life, a long hard days work, and enjoying watching your family work and play together.
Why did you decide to blog about your journeys? When we made the move to Montana, my husband and I decided a to design a website with a blog to help share our agricultural story and also to keep our families updated on how we are doing, the good, the bad, and the fun! There is so much to offer in the agriculture world and we want other people to be able to share in that personal and unique experience. If you would like to check it out visit our site at www.themontanaranchadventure.com