Miss Montana USA,
You've recently been brought about in conversation amongst many Montanan's this past week. You've heard the hateful words against veganism, you've seen angry citizens from the state of which you're representing, and you've tried to discriminate against the agriculture industry via social media and cover it up with an "apology video."
However, I don't buy it.
I don't know if you're aware of this or not, but agriculture is a prized possession in the state of Montana. If it wasn't for agriculture, I'm not quite sure what would exist of this state we call home. Now, seeing you have recently won the title of Miss Montana USA, I guess I just have a few questions for you.
I don't know if you realize this or not, but often pageantry is mistaken as a joke in Montana. There are low numbers of participants and lack of interest, because of stereotypes surrounding the pageant industry. However, being someone who has participated in the Miss Montana pageant for the past two years, I've developed a passion and love for pageantry and the positive effects it has had in my life.
I have seen girls who have worked for the title of Miss Montana, not to be mistaken for Miss Montana USA, who were born and raised in this state. I've seen two Miss Montana's be crowned who were proud and honored for the privilege to serve this amazing state we call home.
Two titleholders who are proud of their roots, their ambitions, their platforms, and most importantly, the love and respect they have for our state.
These titleholders spent their year and are currently touching the lives of thousands of people in the state of Montana, promoting their pageant system and sending a message in hopes of making a change. But you? You shot your state down.
Let me just ask you this...
How do you expect to serve the state of Montana when you don't even appreciate what this state and its people have to offer?
How can you be Miss Montana USA and discriminate against those Montana beef producers who value their beef as much as you value your crown and your sponsors?
How do you expect to leave an impact on kids and adults throughout your reign, when you're telling them that their farming and/or ranching lifestyle is causing harm to others when in reality it's one of the most prized possessions this state has to offer?
To be Miss Montana or Miss Montana USA is something more than the publicity and sparkly crown and sash.
Many of the young women who strive to be a titleholder in this state have lived here and grown to have a deep appreciation for not only the state itself but the agriculture industry in which has left a mark of many of their hearts. Many of the young women who work so hard to prepare themselves for the state pageants come from a small, Montana town. These young women strive to represent their Montana roots on the national stage.
Many of them are looking up to YOU as a current titleholder.
You said in your Instagram comment that you weren't talking about family-owned and operated farms and ranches, you were talking about the "mass corporations." But actually, more than 90 percent of farms and ranches across our country are family-operated, and until you've lived the life of a daughter of a rancher or even an FFA member, I don't think you'll ever have the amount of respect and consideration for those ranching families.
I've read the comments and even participated in educated arguments with your fellow vegans about how farming and ranching are rape, slavery, and genocide. I've been told by your fellow vegans that my family's way of living is "disgusting and a terrible way of living." But in case you didn't know, my family's living is much like many of those in Montana. Many of those in Montana who don't care to be stereotyped due to a few massive corporations partaking in legitimate animal abuse and negligence. Farming and ranching is much more than what the media brings it to be.
Let's think about this.
You're Miss Montana USA, yet you've never woken up at two in the morning to watch a newborn calf take its first steps. You've never watched your father save the life of a sick calf who's mother couldn't make it through the birth, bottle-feeding it day in and day out until it's ready to be on its own. Have you? Is that the kind of cruelty that makes agriculture so crucial to the environment? Is that the kind negligence and disrespect of animal rights you think is an issue?
We get told that we abuse our animals, yet you truly don't know what goes on behind the scenes.
Until you've held a calf in your lap driving home in negative-20-degree weather knowing it won't make it on its own through the night, you'll never understand the effort farmers and ranchers take to ensure their livestock is properly taken care of no matter the circumstances. Until you've had a father who has dedicated his life to ranching, raising livestock, and providing for his family, then you'll never take the agriculture industry for granted.
I hope you can take the words from a teenage girl when it comes to your next discriminative agricultural post. I hope you can step in the shoes of someone whose life has been revolved around agriculture, who's learned to appreciate her family's lifestyle. I hope you can learn to appreciate the countless hours of hard work and dedication farmers and ranchers put into their livestock to help feed American's, and that one day you'll be able to look back and realize you made a mistake.
A pageant girl, FFA member, and a rancher's daughter.