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McCoy's Farm and Ranch Family: The Harter Family of Region 1

Congratulations to the McCoy’s Farm and Ranch Family of the Month, the Harter’s! Dan and Robbie, along with their kids; Cody, Karlie and Katie manage a herd of yearlings and FFA heifers in Amarillo, Texas. Not only does the family ranch a herd of cattle, they also have full-time jobs and full- time school outside of the ranching lifestyle.

During the week, Dan works for a pharma- ceutical company, Robbie is a school teacher, Cody is a freshman in college, and Karlie and Katie are a freshman and sophomore in high school. The family works together to keep all of their horses exercised, and all of the cattle fed and well taken care of on a regular basis. Even though the family is not currently full- time ranching, the responsibility of having cattle is instilling meaningful character traits in the Harter kids.

“I want to become a vet one day,” Katie said. “Being involved in this industry, the FFA, and taking care of the heifers has helped me in getting prepared for vet school.” In addition to career preparation, big responsibilities allow for big growth opportunities. “Every day we get horses out and exercise them,” the girls explained. “We practice one event a day and if we have a rodeo that weekend, we will really work on prioritizing rodeo and still take care of the heifers.”

They explained how rodeo, along with their herd of heifers, has helped them learn how to prioritize tasks and recognize the most important things. They also men- tioned how time management is a trait they have heavily improved on throughout their experiences with Texas High School Rodeos and FFA.

Dan and Robbie grew up with a ranching background and were certain they wanted their kids to be exposed to the same type of lifestyle. “Robbie and I made a conscious decision that this is a lifestyle we want our kids to grow up in,” Dan said. “The lessons they have learned; our son has gotten a full ride scholarship for school, and he works a day job. I think [the ranching lifestyle] does a good job at creating good contributing members of society.”

Many would agree, the ranching lifestyle creates a foundation for continuous growth. “What Robbie and I get out of it is getting to see our family learn life lessons as opposedto solely academic lessons,” Dan said.

In addition to ranching, FFA and the THSRA have played a part in impacting the lives ofthe Harter’s as well. Both Katie and Karlie are FFA and THSRA members and participate in the barrel racing, pole bending, breakaway roping, goat tying, and Katie also team ropes. They explained how they write down their goalsfor rodeo and school to help them set priorities. “It’s not even about winning or losing,” the girls said. “It’s about putting the work in; if youaren’t working hard, you are losing.”

That is not a life motto the Harter girls take lightly as they are both basketball play- ers, A-honor students and are only enrolled in Advanced Placement classes. “Their day starts far earlier than a normal high school kid,” Robbie said. “They have all of their horses and cattle to feed before school, and they go to school an hour earlier to prepare for FFA events coming up. School work also cuts into time so some days they are up really late and get up really early.”

In addition to the work they put in through- out the week, the family dedicates most of their weekends to rodeos or tending to the herd of yearlings whether it be doctoring sick cattle, shipping, mending fence or whatever task might need tending to.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see how much hard work must go into the western way of life, but the work is something that can often be overlooked and underestimated from an outsider’s perspective. Don’t forget to thank a farmer or rancher next time you speak to one!

The Harter family said they are honored to be chosen and nominated for the McCoy’s Farm and Ranch Family of the month, and they are thankful for the support McCoy’s shows to the THSRA.

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