An open letter to the girl who called our cows bbq…

Dear Ashley and SiriusXM The Highway,

When I first heard about Ashley’s on air comment about the recent devastating fires in MY state I was furious. I’ll be quite honest, my first thought for this letter was a completely different direction because just like so many others, I too wanted Ashley’s job on a silver platter. After a few minutes of reflecting (and a tub of ice cream) I decided that I would choose grace for Ashley instead of my original plan.

You see Ashley, at first I was going to say “How dare you make a mockery of this heartbreaking tragedy that has literally taken away generations of blood, sweat and tears poured out into building what was lost?” Instead, I will trade that out for “Did you know that despite the tragedy and what we lost, I have seen neighbors across the panhandle and more importantly multititudes of states come together and rebuild what was burned away in an overwhelming way for each other? Do you know why we do that? Because God has called us to love one another as God loves us. When it comes to agriculture, we love each other so boldly that we will literally give you the food off of our plates to make sure your family is fed even before ours is fed. That’s just our way of life. Do you know what it’s like to love your neighbor like that?”

I was going to say, “How dare you liken our lost livestock as “bbq for everyone” when you don’t really know the damage that truly amounts to?” Some gave more than just dollar values for their livestock in these fires. Instead I will ask you, “Do you know what value we place on this way of life around here? Do you know how much effort goes in to raising livestock?” I want to really explain this point to you, Ashley. Our animals, our livestock, our farms and our ranches are where we raise our families, cultivate our memories and produce the food and clothing necessary for our family and yours, too. We will do everything in our power to protect our way of life starting with our families and ending with our farms. I want you to know how brutally heartbreaking and gut-wrenching it is to see your livelihood literally burned out from underneath you and how devastating and utterly agonizing it is to see your livestock suffering because of the tragedies like fire. More importantly, I want you to know the pure joy it is to see even the smallest slivers of hope because maybe one or two head of cattle were left unscathed or because you had a neighbor to lean on in your darkest of moments.

I was going to say, “Aside from all land, possessions, livestock and livelihoods, why, why, why on God’s green earth would you joke about something that resulted in the loss of human lives? Seven of them to be exact. It’s simply not funny.” Truth be told I didn’t have a counter question for this one, Ashley. What I do know is that with the tragic loss of Cody, Sydney, Sloan and the others, their communities have gathered around each of their families to pray for healing and strength to get them through the next season of life. Ashley, I would never wish any ill will on you, but I do hope one day you understand what it feels like to be loved in a big way, just like these familiesare receiving now.

Ashley, I don’t know you or your background. What I do know is this, sometimes people say things that they don’t mean when they don’t fully understand what they’re talking about. My hope in writing you this letter is so that you may understand what it feels like to truly to deal with a tragedy like a wildfire. So next time you want to describe a Texas (or Kansas, Colorado or Oklahoma—we’re in this together) bbq, you might just want to come visit us for some good old fashion cooking instead.

Sincerely,

One always panhandle proud agriculturalist

82 Replies to “An open letter to the girl who called our cows bbq…”

  1. As a rancher in Texas I am blown away. I would love her contact info. BBQ, really? She has no idea of the devastation and loss of life. I was raised better but I’m going to say this ~ screw her and she needs to be held accountable.

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    1. Hey there Keri! First off, thanks so much for taking the time to read my blog AND leave a comment! I know (especially as a ranching woman) how valuable your time is, so thanks for sharing it with me! Secondly, I really can’t give you her contact information simply because I do not have it. All I know is she is an on-air personality for SiriusXM The Highway. I definitely think she should be held accountable but I’m also a firm believer in giving grace. Trust me, I was furious too! Finally, I just want to wish you so many blessings from one agriculturalist to another. I know how tough it can be out there for us! I pray you weren’t in the heart of all of the fires and if you were that you are being blessed and loved on now! Much love, Megs!

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      1. Thank you so much for your letter. You were spot on. Anger flares but we can choose to forgive as we have been forgiven. Praying for God’s grace and tender mercies to all those who have been affected by the fires and those with ignorant remarks regarding the devastation. I know that I’ve been guilty of ignorant remarks during my life and appreciate any and all who forgave me. You are a wonderful Christian example.

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    2. @AshleySiriusxm. This is her twitter account. You can also go to Siriusxm.com to The Highway. Google Ashley Till and you can find her blog also. Hope this helps.

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      1. Hey Roxie! Did you read her blog post with the apology. I thought it was so sincere and just reaffirmed my thought process on why she should receive grace. Thanks for reading!

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  2. Thank you Megan for being so eloquent with your words, and being gracious instead of vindictive. We only change perception through our action and your response was spot on girl !

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      1. just my thought….it’s not that everyone DESERVES grace, it’s that Jesus teaches us to give grace even when undeserved, and by following His example, even the undeserving can be touched….

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    1. Hey Renee! Thanks so much for sharing your time with me to read my post and leave a comment. I know how precious it is. I want you to know that forgiveness (grace) was the whole point of my post. What she said is larger than my state. It deeply hurt many people in our industry simply because we work so passionately for our industry. We just think her comment was completely insensitive when we are dealing with things like a preliminary estimate of 1,500 head of cattle and over 700,000 acres burned. Not to mention seven human life’s. That equates to a lot of loss. It deeply hurt us that somebody would joke about it is all. I do think she should receive forgiveness the way we all do! In fact, I already forgave her. I was just hoping to shed light in to why we as an industry are upset. Happy Friday!

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    2. As it often goes FREEDOM OF SPEECH comes with freedom of IGNORANCE. It’s so very sad. The only way to combat it is with FORGIVENESS! Continued prayers for all involved.

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  3. Oklahoma is supporting you I can only imagine how you feel as I know I would feel if this happened to our ranch. We work hard every day and it costs money to keep a ranch up and going. God bless you all and I am praying for rain to come to our area. Take care.

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    1. Hey there Jowahna! It so nice to have such loving neighbors. I can promise you that everyone around the panhandle is feeling the love from the other states that are giving so graciously! Keep praying for rain! Thanks for reading!

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  4. Thank you for your post! This is exactly how someone that doesn’t understand what we’re going through needs to learn. My husband and his family have been farmers/ranchers for at least 4-5 generations and even though we aren’t being directly affected by the wildfires we have several friends and others in our community that have lost some or all of their livestock and most or all of their pastures. There are entire ranches that are completely black, there are ranchers that have had to go out and euthanize the cattle/horses that they’ve been raising for years because they were so badly injured from the fire and they were suffering. Then, you have the deer, antelope, quail, pheasant, and many other animals that were affected gravely by these wildfires. Again, thank you so much for your eloquent response to the comments by someone that doesn’t understand the devastation that these fires have caused.

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    1. Sweet friend, thanks for what you and your family does as a part of the agriculture industry! Y’all are appreciated! Isn’t it so hard to watch the ones we love go through this? I am so thankful that your farm waws left unharmed. I pray you can be a light to others around you. Thanks for reading!

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  5. We as Texans are some of the most amazing people. We are quick to come together for support and a helping hand. Our belief in God is also amazing. Grace is what is needed the most right now. My little panhandle town was spared but drive 20 miles in either direction and you can see the devastation. It is enough to make you want to just scream and cry, but all the communities have pulled together in an amazing way. Some people have never experienced something like this and do not know what it is like or what it is going to take to rebuild. I can only pray for love and forgiveness for the ignorance and pray they never have to experience the devestation, only the love that these communities have. My fellow panhandlers my thoughts and prayers are with you.

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    1. Hey there, Jessica! Isn’t being from Texas just so wonderful. (I won’t discount some of the other southern states as well, there’s lots of good people down here). I am so thankful that your little town is still standing! Sending love from one part of the panhandle to yours. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you! Thanks for reading!

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  6. I agree as God’s children we should forgive. But it’s hard to forget, isn’t it. She definitely deserves a reprimand. You, Ashley did just that! So Grateful. My mom always said, It’s not up to us to to judge or punish.; God does that. He is our Father, after all!”

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  7. It is just hard to understand why a human doesn’t have compassion.for another breathing thing.that has suffered.I really believe in what goes around ,comes around.
    She will see.
    My heart and prayers,r out there.

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    1. Hey there, Sheryl! I have decided to chalk it up to this… I don’t think she fully understood the severeness of the situation before she brushed it off with a joke. She did fully apologize in a letter on her personal blog. Thanks for reading!

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  8. First off, great article! You really cut to the heart of the matter. Bless Ashley because she has not the faintest idea of what she was talking about. Surely, surely she would not find folks and animals burned to death such a laughing matter. There’s death and then there’s being burned alive. That’s not a giant BBQ. That is absolute torture. Then there’s mourning for your family and friends, for the father of your children and the little ones who are not yet born. God love this poor girl, she just can not possibly have any idea of life in the panhandle. She’s just all about a cheap laugh. She is to be pitied.

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    1. Hey Amy! In her apology letter, she openly admits that she didn’t really fully understand the severeness of the situation that so many are dealing with over here. All we can do is love on those that are in the thick of the heartache and pray for those that are cruel because of their ignorance. Thanks so much for reading (and sharing your thoughts)!

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  9. I have talked directly to the programming director of Sirius Satellite Radio, he’s a friend of mine on Facebook. This is being taken very seriously.

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  10. Truly sad to say the least. Where is the compassion for the lives lost trying to save their animals? Those cows were the very reason that some lost their life, trying to save their Livelihood!!! To be so shallow & callous does not show good behaviour! I hope you realize your mistake & correct it so that you won’t be the idiot most think you are.

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  11. As a resident of Mclean I have spent the morning ironing my clothes for the services of Cody Crockett and trying to think of anything that I may have forgotten to do. I’m about to deliver food that my family prepared last night for the lunch that is being prepared for the family to eat before the service. I sat down to see if there has been any new news posted to my Facebook page when I came across your post. I just wanted to say thank you for defending us while those of us that are closest to the situation can not find the words to express our level of grief to the family. Thank You

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    1. Tanner, I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to speak life into your morning. I can’t imagine what you are feeling today or what you will be feeling in the days to come. Please know that my prayers are with not only the families of Cody, Sydney, Sloan and the others lost but also all those that are now helping them learn to live without them. I’m praying for your family today as you celebrate Cody’s life. If there’s anything I can do for you or your family please reach out. Even if it’s just a simple prayer! Thanks for being a part of what makes our part of the world so great!

      Much panhandle love,
      Megs

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  12. This is the first I’ve heard of this! It is so sad:( I’ve been in the cattle business my whole life and these animals become family. I’m heartbroken for the lose of lives both human and otherwise.

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  13. Well said young lady! You made valid points, while taking the high road. Nobody works harder than farmers and ranchers. Ashley, the city slicker, is guilty of ignorance for sure.

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  14. Good afternoon. I was listening that morning to the The Morning Show and heard this comment from Ashley. While it wasn’t the best choice of words, or thoughts for that matter, we are all human (and admittingly I did do a double take look at my phone..like did she really just say that?). We all say things we don’t “mean” and in hindsight often regret. Our world is already full of animosity and to read how you changed your thought process into forgiveness, is just the kind of person I strive to be, as should we all. We can’t change it, but we can forgive it and move on. I live in this Blessed area we call the Texas Panhandle. Whether you farm, ranch or are in public service as I am, we are close knit within our communities and pride ourselves on our resilience. We are broken for the loss of life, but we will stand strong, and with love and determination we will regroup, rebuild and move forward. God Bless….

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    1. Hey there, Julie! Let me be the first to say, thank you so much for being in public service! Your job is just as important as ours. I am so thankful this is where I get to call home, too! Thanks for reading!

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  15. Wonderfully written and I couldn’t have needed this more today. I watched Sloan grow up in our small town with my children. Our families have been friends for generations. Sloan loved his family, he loved ranching, but above all, he loved the Lord. He never spoke unkindly of anyone and would be the first to forgive, and pray, if this had been about someone else. We have lost a great man, and our community will be here for his family. That’s what small towns do and that’s what Texas does. They take care of their own.
    Sloan’s memorial service is tomorrow, so please be in prayer for his family.

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    1. Sweet friend,

      My heart hurts so much for you right now. I am so so so thankful that my (probably not so important) thoughts made their way to you and spoke some life into your day. My thoughts and prayers are with you, your family, his family and all those mending the broken pieces in this time. Please let me know if there is anything that I can do for you!

      Much Texas panhandle love,

      Megs

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  16. John miller your letter is right on.
    As a farmer and rancher in the area this young lady with her comments about our fellow farmers and ranchers was uncalled for. She is probably a person that has no idea what we go through for our family’s and live stock. We help each other when needed and will do anything for our neighbors when they ask. I feel she needs to be replaced.John you are the best

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    1. Hey there! Thanks so much doing your part for our industry. It’s really something amazing to watch as farmers and ranchers come together to give when and where it’s needed. Thanks for reading!

      -Megs

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  17. Beautifully said!! Choosing compassion over hate in this article is amazing, and NOT, I’m embarrassed to say, what I would have done!! Thank you for taking the “road less travelled”!!

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    1. Hello sweet friend! I promise, you are not alone it that. As you read, my first reaction was also very hateful and very anger. Honestly, no good can come of that though. Thanks for reading!

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  18. Your kidding me, right? You handled this with grace? All you did was passive aggressively wrote a blog post and passed it off as taking the higher road. You are just as bad as the person you gracefully forgave.

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    1. Hey there Hank! My intentions were definitely not to be passive aggressive although to you it may seem that way. My goal in writing this was to speak life into the way so many of my friends (and myself) were reacting to what Ashley said by turning around hate with kindness. I’m sorry our viewpoints don’t align up, but of course, if you think I did something wrong I should be given grace for that, too! Thanks for reading!

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  19. I am from Colorado and not a rancher or farmer although know many, I have cancelled my XM account and will never listen to them again.

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    1. Hello friend! A lot of people feel the same way. I don’t personally listen to them either (shout out to KLOVE for their awesome positive, encouraging music) but I would encourage you to show SiriusXM grace too!

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  20. I agree with every word you said, but to be honest, I would have structured this a bit differently. In my opinion, offering grace and then taking it away in the next sentence by saying “I was going to say” is the same thing as not offering grace in the first place. I was born in Amarillo and have spent most of my life there, so believe me, I get it. I completely understand your anger and you have every right to call this woman out for her callous comment. She has earned a severe punishment from her employer for what she did, but I think it’s awesome that you have chosen the high road instead of trying to get her fired. I think that as a society we have grown too quick to demand that a person’s livelihood be taken away when they say something stupid and insensitive without thinking. I imagine she’s already very sorry and embarrassed over her thoughtlessness. Perhaps a suspension without pay for a few weeks or even a month would be appropriate. Once again, this is only my opinion and I’m sure some will disagree. My prayers to everyone affected!

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    1. Hey there! First let me say, I value your opinion in the beginning of this comment. Second, I want you to know giving grace and then taking away absolutely was not my intent. My goal was to show what my initial reaction was (because, yes, I was absolutely furious) but how I turned that around to offer something kinder. More of a “check yourself before you wreck yourself, Megan because you aren’t perfect either” kind of method. Maybe the delivery could have been a little different, but it worked for me. Haha! Most importantly, my goal was to help others do the same with their thoughts. I saw so many of my dear friends struggling with the words to say because they were hurt by what she said so I wanted to speak life in to the situation by using what I felt and turning it around to kindness. Honestly, I really wasn’t even expecting this to reach her, much less the volume that it has. I am so thankful that it has though! I wholeheartedly believe that she should receive grace. Fully, with no strings attached. Also, just in case you have not yet seen, she did apologize on her personal blog. Thanks so much for reading my blog!

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  21. All I can say is that you were brilliant in your response to this irresponsible outspoken young woman. Thank you for showing the grace that many of us may not have during this terrible time. Sending love and support from one Texan to another ! ❤️🇨🇱❤️

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    1. Hello sweet friend, I think you be commenting on the wrong blog! I hope you find it in your heart to forgive the person and show them compassion and grace though. After all, we all fall short!

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  22. I think the “on air person should have to pay a personal visit to some of these areas of devastation and see for herself the love courage and grace there is ” out here” as we are often referred to in Kansas Texas Oklahoma and Colorado!! They think we are country bumpkins well guess we will have to show her how we were raised!!

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    1. Hey there! I will take being called a “country bumpkin” or any sort of the term over being known for the city life any day of the week. I wouldn’t give up this way of life for anything. Thanks for reading!

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  23. Megs, thank you for your beautiful response to thoughtless comments from the radio. We all need to learn to operate with a little grace. Our first gut reaction to attack back seldom accomplishes anything positive. Down here in our South Texas CattleWomen chapter, we like to say that we try to stay Friendly, Flexible, and Forgiving. (We don’t always accomplish that, but we usually try.)
    Let’s ASSUME POSITIVE INTENT and go with Ashley’s heartfelt appology. It sounded sincere to me. I think that she learned a lot and will be a better person because of the episode.

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  24. I have been a big-mouth, speak before you think, anything to make somebody laugh with a silly comment for way more of my life than I am comfortable with. I still have, sometimes, the tendency to open mouth insert foot and then be horrified when I realize what I have done or whom I have hurt. I am now 73 years old and hopefully have begun, at this late date, to hold my tongue, a bit. I too went and read her apology – sounded to me like a genuine and heartfelt, horrified, apology. So, I come down on your side….let’s share some grace with her, for the times that God and others have shared it with us. I have loved this place and the people in it my whole life…there is absolutely no other like it, that I know of. Let’s forgive, even if we can’t forget.

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    1. Jonna, I am nearly your age and just learning to hold my tongue and assume positive intent. Meg Moore set a good example for us. I think Ashley DJ learned an important life lesson.

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  25. I think you did an awesome thing. Forgiving is not condoning or forgetting. I’m not so sure that I would be so gracious. I have horses and love cows and my heart hurts for those lost, as well as for those brave souls who tried to save them. I also grieve for all the wildlife affected. Such a horrible way to die. My heart goes out to those who had to euthanize their suffering animals. I think a lot of people don’t know about the gravity of the situation because it hasn’t been on the national news. I don’t know why. Bless you for your graciousness.

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  26. I was raised a country girl with livestock on our farm/ranch and my heart ACHED for those that lost land, livestock and more importantly, FAMILY of humans. I say humans because our livestock also become our family, so to speak. If she could have seen the cattle that were still alive, yet on fire crying in pain, maybe she would think otherwise of making jokes. Let’s look at the wildlife also that lost their lives in the fire. DEVASTATING just DEVASTATING!! HORRIFIC scenes of human life, livestock and wildlife going up in smoke. I was taught to respect our animals on our farm, the land that we cultivated and lived on and our neighbors/friends. She needs to take a lesson in respect!!!

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  27. So glad to see someone giving grace instead of meanness. I don’t know Ashley, but as someone who has often said things that I later regretted (as we all do), I understand the need for grace. I’m sure she must feel horrible about what she said, just as we feel bad when we say things about situations that we don’t understand regarding city dwellers. I’ve been in agriculture my entire life and am so saddened by the devastation left by these fires. I don’t think Ashley’s head on a platter will lessen that grief for anyone. Thank you for choosing grace as Christ did with us.

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  28. I grew up in a ranching family. Several years ago we suffered a devastating fire in Stephens County. Watching the flames on the horizon, smelling the smoke, hoping the wind doesn’t change directions is exhausting, an emotional roller coaster. To the person that said cattle were overgrown pets, they are our livelihood. To the people that condemned you for taking the high road and choosing to forgive someone who made a terrible statement, trying to be funny, not malicious, we are Texans, Ranchers, Farmers, but above all Christians. We are in the business of forgiveness. I knew Sloan. I have known his family for years. His wife, Leisl, is expecting their third child. His children lost their daddy! This is bigger than sarcastic statements from so many people. I pray for those people with no empathy, compassion! I also pray fervently for those that lift up Leisl, her children, and the entire family. I pray for Cody and Sydney’s families, and the others that were lost. I remember those who lost livestock, land and other property. From West Texas to the Texas Panhandle, I am so, so, sorry for your tremendous loss and the devastation. You will be in my prayers in the days and weeks to come!

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  29. I really feel that we have good results from the DJ’s thoughtless remark. From her apology, I think she will learn from this and agriculture may end up with a new friend and, possibly, and advocate. I hope no more negative remarks are posted to her FB page by ag people.

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  30. Extremely moving and well written piece–In your words I can literally feel the pain the entire ranching community is experiencing. I have no idea why this individual (I don’t know that I would elevate her as a “radio personality”) would be so insensitive with her words. Obviously, she has not had the privilege of being around animals and the ranchers that devote their lives to caring for animals. You chose the high road in your piece. And know that you have a country of people praying and supporting you:)

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