Today I was parked in the Fresh Start parking lot in Lusk, in our dodge diesel ranch pickup (picture single cab dodge, with hydrabed, one door a bright red, with the rest of the cab sporting an old, peeling silver) pulling our horse trailer, waiting impatiently for the numerous tourists to clear a path wide enough for me to get to the diesel pump. I had just picked my horse up from the vet, but that's a different story.
A little white Toyota backed up to the pump sporting the diesel nozzle just as the nincompoop in front of me finally gathered up his keys, unlocked his pickup, started it, sang three songs, drank a pop, called his mother, and finally finally left.
I was irritated, and getting annoyed less than ten minutes into my first run-in with the thousands of tourists that cruise through Lusk each summer. My attention was drawn to an obviously gay man/woman ??? who was throwing something away. From there it swerved to the slightly over middle-aged man who was power walking in the shortest man shorts I've ever seen, complete with slits up the side in case you couldn't see enough of his legs, and a skin tight bicycle shirt that showed he needed many more miles of power walking to make a dent in his rotund gut.
Then the occupants of the little white Toyota spilled out, and most headed inside the Fresh Start. But the driver headed my way after starting the fueling process (he didn't have far to go, as I was practically sitting on his bumper)
He asks if I have a horse, and I reply yes. He then asks if it will spook the horse if he looks at it, and I reply no it won't. He heads back to the trailer to peer in at Royal, who is as irritated with our delay as I am.
I decide I may as well speak to this person who I had to wait for before I could fuel up anyway.
I get out, and he asks why we're at the vet. This eventually leads to him asking if people still shoot horses when they're hurt, which leads to me explaining that not being able to harvest terminally injured horses is far more inhumane than putting them out of their misery, and a real problem today.
From there we wandered onto the topic of cattle, and he asked about ours. I tried to explain what we did, and I think I got through to him that the longer you keep cattle, the more money you have the potential to make, but the more risk you assume.
We also discussed ethanol, and I mentioned that feeding cattle was a much more expensive thing, due largely to corn prices skyrocketing, due to ethanol. I told him I didn't believe in making fuel and food compete, or having the government fully subsidize using a food source as fuel. I also mentioned that more energy is used making ethanol than is saved by running cars on it, and that it wouldn't work with all that government money.
He asked about AI'ing, noting he had heard people do that so the bull won't hurt the cow. We cleared up that, and explained that people typically AI to gain access to genetics they couldn't otherwise afford, and noted that a poor AI technician could do more damage to a cow than a bull would.
He asked about our grass fed cattle, and if we got a premium for them, what kind of cattle my family raised, where they were marketed, why we sold our sheep, and a few other questions. We dicussed that there is a lot of technology in agriculture today, and that our horses were working horses.
Then Jared, who grew up in Rapid City, but now lives in California, happily said goodbye, went back to his little white Toyota, and moved it. I fueled up and went home, feeling much better about my wait amongst the tourists.
You never know when and opportunity to educate people agriculture will present itself, or who you will meet in the process.