Where Are They Now – Leyla Curry
A question and answer session with our former intern, Leyla Curry
Q: When did you work at TomKat, for how long, and what was your position?
A: I worked at the ranch during the winter of 2016 (January through March), the ranch’s first and only winter internship so far. I interned with the livestock team and equine program.
Q: How did you find out about TomKat Ranch?
A: I was born and raised in Pescadero and being that it is a small town, I knew a couple of the Ranch employees. I had wanted to do an internship so when the winter internship came up, I jumped at the chance.
Q: How did you get involved in agriculture/ranching in the first place?
A: I was fortunate to have been born and raised on a farm. Our family farm is a multi-faceted ranch that raises horses and sheep, and grows willow trees. A part of what made me want to apply for the internship at TomKat Ranch was my lack of exposure to cattle. I had worked with most forms of agriculture but the thing that was missing was that I really wanted to learn about cattle. I also wanted more grazing knowledge and a systematic way of approaching livestock. I had applied to work at a dude ranch in Wyoming the following summer and wanted to get experience in western riding.
Q: What was your favorite memory at TomKat?
A: I loved going out on horseback rides and exploring the property and talking about the different things going on at the ranch–the conversations, the education, the beauty. A few years ago, I had a horse accident that had really knocked my confidence and made me pretty fearful of horses and the confidence I gained through the horses at the ranch was extremely valuable.
Q: Who was the most influential person during your time at TomKat Ranch?
A: After I left TomKat Ranch and was in Wyoming, I reflected back and realized the key influential people (not just one person) in agriculture were all women. At TomKat Ranch, it was Stacy Claitor, Wendy Millet, and Kathy Webster.
Q: Where are you and what are you doing now?
A: I’m managing my parent’s farm, the Willow Farm, in Pescadero. We grow willow trees, which we use for fencing, trellis, and sculptures (in urban and rural landscapes), raise sheep, and hogs, and board horses and compete in dressage. We recently hired summer interns. This came about as we were getting so busy, so I reached out to the Women in Ranching network and got connected to some of the candidates through TomKat Ranch.
Q: How has your TomKat experience shaped where you are/what you are doing now?
A: The main thing that I got from TomKat Ranch was being able to verbalize and explain/articulate our land management practices and how they are solutions to the environmental problems we are facing today. It made me feel empowered and helped me understand that farming can be a way to provide food and fiber and do so much more. It gave me a stronger sense of purpose.