We recently rented a new piece of grazing for our ranch. When we signed the lease, the family took us for a tour to get the lay of the land. The family renting us this land has owned it since 1896 and all this time it has been owned by one family and carefully passed on through the generations. There are six family members who own different lots that make up the 1400 acre property but they lease it all out to one person, who now is us.
We drove around the farm with two of the wonderful 80 year old sisters as they described their property. They showed us the house they were born in on a cold February day. They told us about sledding down the hills on an old tin toboggan with their mother watching anxiously, worrying if they would be all right. We were shown the spot where there grandfather had been killed by a load of logs in a horrible accident.
As I drove into a pristine grass filled hillside it brought out a strong emotion. This family was willing to trust me and my family with the management of their land. They had lived here, had to move to town to get jobs, lost family and yet the one thing that had stayed constant was this piece of land for nearly 125 years. One of the sisters told me that she did not know what will happen in the future because the next generations are not ranchers.
The hardest thing any land loving rancher will ever have to do is hand over his or her land. We are not scared of giving away the control. We are afraid that someone in the future might abuse the gift that gave us our lives that we are all so proud of.
If you want to break a ranchers heart, subdivide his ranch and cover it in pavement.
God made a perfect creation in land. It takes a lifetime of ranching to truly appreciate all that we have been gifted with.