Death and destruction in its wake, nothing but dreams and love it takes. Nothing is spared, not a life not a care, fire is here and it is not fair.
Interesting, isn’t it? Fire, that is. When it is born, it consumes everything in its path with no regard for what it overtakes. It doesn’t care if it rips through the home you are living in or the home you grew up in. It has no mind for the love of your animals or the beloved spotted owl. Fire is the great equalizer.
Fire is a tricky thing. At times it hides in the trees and underground, unknowingly to those around. Sometimes it even jumps roads and leaps over ridges while riding the curtails of the wind. And even more puzzling is how after it is gone, the effects of its presence linger for generations.
The phenomenon of fire is amazing. With a tiny match, thousands of acres goes up in smoke, and with a flash of lightening, thousands more follow suit. The funny thing about fire is that it can be smothered and put out, much like the people who warned us of our current events in California.
Listening to the stories of ranchers with cattle in the hills will make any grown man’s eyes water. Knowing that they themselves would have done anything to help prevent what had just occurred if given the chance. The smell of burning flesh and the sight of scorched earth flooding over their land, animals, and nature that was once so lively and purposely preserved as a legacy for generations to come, is now destroyed and eerily silent.
California has demonized the cattle producer for too long. California has sided with those who wished to preserve land by doing nothing. California has succeeded in doing nothing, and now we have witnessed the results.
We, as cattle producers, have great insight in how to take care of what has been bestowed unto us; passed down for so many generations before us. The trial, error, and wisdom gained is all in our blood and mind. We, as cattle producers, want our legacy to live on in the rich soils, clean air, and wildlife that surrounds us. We, as cattle producers, live for the next generation, but now we are ready to fight for it.
As we in the cattle industry move forward, it is time that we do so in a calculated and meticulous way. It is time that real change happens. It is time for everyone to get involved in the conversation. Now is the time to act. Now is the time to make yourself heard. Now is the time for change.
Tyler Ribeiro is a fourth-generation dairy farmer born and raised in California. He is currently partners with his father at Rib-Arrow Dairy in Tulare where they proudly ship their milk to Land O’Lakes. Tyler is actively involved in the dairy industry, holding leadership roles in various organizations locally and across the United States.