A lifetime advocate for agriculture, Kacy Atkinson was raised on an Angus Cattle ranch in Laramie, Wyoming, and was also actively involved in FFA through high school. Continuing her education at West Texas A&M, she got her bachelor’s and master’s degree in the areas Agriculture, Business and Communication. After working in higher education for 8 years in Texas, she moved back north to Colorado and became a livestock agent for CSU Extension. Years later, she returned home to the family ranch in Wyoming, and is currently raising cattle once more with her parents.
Kacy has been an agricultural advocate -mainly for the beef industry- in many ways. She has had the opportunity to write for a local paper and do a national award winning radio program on a monthly basis that aired on NE Colorado stations. Currently, she shares daily life on a beef cattle ranch with her followers on Instagram (@10milespastnowhere) and Twitter (@10milespast). She hopes to develop a website in the future to be able to share more of her experiences.
Her belief in agriculture advocacy comes from the fact that the world is changing, and people are very interested in where their food comes from.
“It’s not something many of them have a connection to, and that lack of connection has created a void for many to fill with a lot of misinformation and fear. I want everyone to feel good about the choices they make, and to believe in the people raising their food.”
Because not many people are doing this, she believes everyone needs to step up and be willing to be transparent about what we do, and how is done. This way, the answers people are looking for are real honest information.
When asked what the most important point she wishes FFA members understood about agriculture advocacy, she responded with candor.
“…we can’t fight back with facts. Advocacy is about creating real relationships with people based on common ground and trust. We have to listen first. We have to build common ground next. And then, once we have a relationship based on mutual respect, we can share facts and science that supports our cause. We can’t be defensive.”
In the continuing fight that faces agriculturalists which is sustainability, and our ability to prove agriculture is a sustainable industry, Kacy believes the best thing FFA members can do is join those who are willing to share our story.
“There’s a million ways to do that, without being defensive. Whether it’s using social media, having conversations with urban neighbors, opening doors for farm visits or whatever is most comfortable for them, we just have to learn to be open. And really good listeners. That’s really the key.”
As we continue to advocate for agriculture, Kacy’s mindset and determination are just what we need to be successful.
by Sydnie Eller, Wyoming FFA Reporter