Interesting turn of events—or perhaps it’s no turn at all. My son and I had applied for and were hoping to get a BLM allotment, which would allow us to run about forty mother-cows on public lands. Today we got our rejection letter.
As a writer, I have been rejected many times (and sometimes as a woman), so this is one rejection among hundreds. Usually I don’t know the real reason for rejection, but in this case the government was kind enough to tell us that they were choosing the outfits that already had bordering allotments, outfits that were “in good standing” with BLM. In other words, status quo.
Rejection is protection, a friend once said to me, and I believe this is true with men, though I’m not so sure it’s true about publication. Today my son said wisely that us having this allotment was simply not meant to be, and we may never know the real, bigger-picture reasons we were not chosen. Half an hour later he came back through the house, caught me brooding, and said something to the effect of, it’s just the government, Mom. They don’t want to change. Rather than give an up-and-coming young rancher a chance, someone who practices organic, sustainable agriculture and runs cows that weigh 300-400 pounds less per animal than the average rancher, thereby minimizing impact on the land, BLM is supporting “traditional” agriculture. Run your big ol’ European cows on the desert, raise 500-pound calves, that’s the way to go!
Our application included a statement of our philosophies and practices. I would sure love to read some of the other applicants’ statements, especially those of the selected. Funny, I know for a fact that one of the selected outfits has allowed his cows to trespass onto public lands, a good reason not to be getting the allotment. But he did.
Silver linings aside (we do not have to repair and build miles of fence, buy more cows, work with BLM), I feel sad. I wanted more of our lovely, desert-adapted Corriente cows and their spunky calves; wanted to raise more healthy beef for more health-conscious consumers; wanted badly to cowboy more again, with purpose; and wanted the opportunity to show BLM and the greater ranching community that my son’s philosophies about raising beef today are environmentally sound and beneficial to both human and habitat.
Oh well. My characters will have to carry the message. Jessi Lynks and Jake Nez Winter are currently visiting with the publishers at Torrey House Press. I know it’s risky to say this, yet it’s also honest: That is one rejection I hope not to see!