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Our Agriculture Legacy Through Storytelling

February 12, 2024Laurin Kocurek, VP Operations & Communications for the Abilene Chamber of Commerce

I can trace back every core lesson I learned that helped shape me into the person I am today back to growing up in production Agriculture.

While most kids spent their summers traveling for vacations or at home hanging out with friends, I spent my summers in the field or pasture with my dad working for “free” in the family business.

No job was too small for my dad’s girls, and he raised us to do it all from plowing, building fences, working cattle, or carrying bags of feed.

And trust me, there are many lessons learned in having to change sweeps on a tractor plow in the scorching West Texas afternoon heat because you overslept and forgot to feed your bottle calves that morning.

While at the time I would have preferred to have been at home or doing literally anything else besides driving a tractor or holding tails while my dad cut bulls, the life lessons that were instilled in me and my sisters from those working hours in the family business are now my favorite memories.

In fact, I now long for the days that my dad calls me to say he needs my help. Even if it’s just to open gates, I’ll gladly load up myself and my two boys just to ride along in the feed truck to listen to him chatter about the market or lack of rain.

It’s that heritage that makes the agriculture industry so compelling. Generations of men and women playing small roles in the overall process of feeding the world similar to the generations of Abilenians who have helped build our community.

That’s why I’m thrilled today to invite each of you to celebrate and honor the piece of heritage that goes back to our Big Country roots at this year’s Agriculture Legacy Luncheon during the Texas Farm Ranch and Wildlife Expo.

Sponsored by Taylor Telecom, this year’s luncheon will feature a speaker who has dedicated his career to paying tribute to those who help feed the world through the written word. We’re pleased to announce John R. Erickson, legendary author of the Hang the Cowdog series will join us as the keynote speaker this year.

The Hank the Cowdog series began as a self-publishing venture in John’s garage in 1982 and has endured to become one of the nation’s most popular series for children and families. Through the eyes of Hank the Cowdog, a smelly, smart-aleck Head of Ranch Security, Erickson gives readers a glimpse of daily life on a ranch in the West Texas Panhandle. USA Today calls the series “the best family entertainment in years.

Along with our guest speaker, we’ll pay tribute, in partnership with Texas A&M AgriLife, to one of our own agriculturalists by naming this year’s Ag Family of the Year.

The history of rural farming and ranching is etched in each of us by simply calling the Big Country home. I hope you’ll join in to support as we help share the story of the work that goes into feeding the world by attending this year’s luncheon.

For information on tables or tickets, click here.

Before or after the luncheon, be sure and stop in and see this year’s trade show at the Taylor Telecom arena. We can’t wait to see you there!

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