A question and answer session with our former intern, Kyle Meyer.
Q: When did you work at TomKat, for how long, and what was your position?
I lived and worked as an intern in the summer of 2011.
Q: How did you get involved in agriculture/ranching in the first place?
I was searching for internship opportunities to satisfy requirements for my degree in environmental studies at San Jose State University and fell in love with the work, the community, and the values of the sustainable agriculture movement.
Q: What was your favorite memory at TomKat?
There was never a dull moment working at TomKat. In particular, the first time I helped drive the cattle on horseback with the entire land management team I had a moment of reflection where I realized that that day I had found myself taking part in something that was so far outside my realm of experience, something that I had only seen in movies, and had no idea that I might ever be a part of, and I was loving every minute of it.
Q: Who was the most influential person during your time at TomKat Ranch?
I worked closely with Mike Giannini before his passing, and I greatly value his mentorship. His spirit was unbelievably infectious and the experience and knowledge I gained under his guidance have been incredibly influential in guiding my path.
Q: Where are you and what are you doing now?
I live in Monterey and work at the Santa Lucia Conservancy in Carmel Valley where I am a member of the Conservation Grazing team. We are a land trust and private non-profit that manages a 20,000-acre preserve where we use our resident herd of cattle exclusively for conservation purposes as part of our integrated land management plan to improve the condition of our 8,000 acres of grasslands.
Q: How has your TomKat experience shaped where you are/what you are doing now?
My three months at TomKat introduced me to the world of conservation grazing, where I discovered the intersection of ecology, land management, sustainable agriculture, and animal husbandry. The experience I gained there led me directly to my current position as a livestock and land manager, where I am continuing to develop professionally and become more involved in the restorative ranching and ecological communities.