Our History is Our Future

Jessica Lemmel, Colorado Livestock Association

The more I learn, the more I realize how little I know.
In high school, I worked in the summertime for an older couple who would often fondly reflect on the way things used to be. I politely listened to their stories, but I would become anxious wanting to get back to my daily tasks, and would soon forget the lesson they were trying to impart.
This experience is not unique to me. Most young people don’t pay enough attention to the stories of their elders because we just don’t recognize yet how important those moments are to our own futures. The millennial generation, of which I am a member, is characterized as those who prioritize efficiency and technological progression above almost everything else. Our parent’s however, would just describe us as naive.
We haven’t lived through the things that they have lived through. Sure, we may be able to navigate a computer more quickly or even write code to build a website, but when compared to a lifetime of experience we know very little.
We live in a world that seems to value innovation over tradition and forward progress over retrospection. In the relentless focus on the future it is easy to overlook the events in our history that have laid the foundation for where we are today.
These events define ourselves, our communities, and our industry. We must be aware of the journey those that have come before us have taken; of their failures and successes. If we do not take the time to truly understand our past, I believe we are wasting our future.
So, on that iced tea break when the old hand starts out a story with, “Back in my day…,” don’t brush them off. Take the time to listen and ask questions, because understanding what brought us here is equally as important as where we are headed.
Over the past four years I have had the pleasure of working on behalf of livestock producers as part of our three person staff. In that short time, I have only scratched the surface of the expansive history of our industry and the Association. I am anxious to continue learning about who we were when it all started in 1955 and what brought us to where we are now, over 60 years later.
We have served the industry in many capacities and our focus has changed numerous times over the years, but one thing remains the same, when an issue surfaces, we will be at the ready. We will bring all of the knowledge and experience from our past to help preserve our industry for future generations. 