Thank you to all the residents of this country. Because of you, I was endowed with an incredible gift: I was born into grazing rights, and I married into grazing rights.
My people were so lucky to have been around when they were handing out idle grasslands for us locals to graze. We never had to make land payments or pay property taxes. Like many of our neighbors, we just rented that grass for a ridiculous price and thanked our lucky stars that grandma had such charmed timing as to be around at the right time.
Today, many who didn’t have lucky grandparents must rent privately-owned grazing land and pay anywhere from eight to 30 times per AUM what we paid to use government-run lands. Like every renter, they have to pay their bill in full if they want to use that land again, and many are thankful just to find any grazing. These are the bravest among us; they are investing a lot of money in hopes that the market will reimburse them for their investments.
So, every year when we paid our tiny grazing fees and paid them in full, I felt guilty over the bargain basement price we paid for every AUM, and then I said thank you to all those people who gave up other services so that my family and I could survive in a dry, cold climate in a volatile industry. Whether you knew it or not, you allowed us to raise our girls and pay all our bills. Even with your generosity, we had a lot of lean years, so I can’t imagine why anyone would ever take the gift of grazing rights for granted.
So to all you other residents, I again say, “Thank you,” both for sharing your land and for hiring people to keep an eye on it for you. They have a thankless job and we sometimes disagree with them, but they’re only looking out for the future as best they know how.