4th Generation Rancher: Kayley Steadham

Time to read 2 min

The natural world is an incredible and awe-inspiring place filled with beauty, wonder, and diversity. At the same time, our lifestyles, industries, and societies can easily damage or degrade the very thing that sustains us. It is vital for the next generation to appreciate the land, the wildlife, and the environment if we hope to preserve it for decades, if not centuries to come.

One way to instill love and respect for the land is by learning lessons from those who have been tending to the land for generations. As a fourth-generation cattle raiser and farmer, I have inherited a love and reverence for the earth and its nourishing qualities through my family’s traditions and values. I am striving to show my son, nieces, and nephews the critical importance of engendering respect and love for the land at an early age, how heritage can shape a view of the land, and strategies for instilling this love and respect in the next generation.

We rely on land to provide us with life-giving resources such as food and water. It is critical to preserve what we have so that we can continue to receive the gifts. Humans are stewards of the earth and must learn to take care of it.

The need to respect the environment applies not just to the resources we’re utilizing but also to the space where wildlife, plants, and everything else reside. A love of the land begins with the awareness that we’re not the only ones occupying it. Lack of concern about how our actions and decisions impact the environment could have long-term consequences. It is vital that we teach younger generations about their role in preserving our ecosystem.

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By living off the land, my family has gained an intimate understanding of the delicate balance of resources, seasons and soil quality needed to maintain a healthy ecosystem.

Growing up in the agricultural industry I learned my family’s traditions of how important it is to take care of the land. My great-grandparents, grandparents, and parents raise hay, cattle and other crops that have allowed them to make a living. They knew to respect the land, as they relied heavily on its resources to make a living.

By living off the land, my family has gained an intimate understanding of the delicate balance of resources, seasons and soil quality needed to maintain a healthy ecosystem. Generation after generation a deep respect and love for the land has grown. From experience, I have learned to instill the same values in the generations behind me. It takes more than just telling them the importance of sustainability. It means showing them how it applies to their daily lives and those around them.

Beyond raising our children on the ranch or farm, one strategy for instilling a love for the environment is by getting kids involved in the outdoors. From hiking, fishing, hunting, or gardening, the outdoors offers an incredible opportunity for kids to bond with nature and gain respect for different forms of life.

Children will inherit the environment from us, and whatever it is we leave behind depends on the knowledge and skills we impart to them. As natural explorers it is our job to teach them values of respect for life, diversity and sustainability that will help pave the way for a brighter, greener future.

The future of our environment rests in the next generation. The preservation of natural resources, biodiversity, and ecosystems will be virtually impossible without our children’s love and respect for the environment. Instilling an adoration for nature in the next generation can be one of the most significant gifts we can offer them. I will be forever grateful for my upbringing on our beautiful land.

Kayley Steadham is a 4th generation rancher. She is a sales coordinator for Twisted X and was featured in 2022 in our brand spot along with her son, Callahan.

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