In an uncertain future, is there still a place for cowboys?

Jun 21, 2017

Credit Scott Slusher / The Guardian

The world is changing rapidly, and it’s hard not to wonder what the future will look like for the High Plains cowboy.

Locating cowhands to help with branding and vaccinations has been a tough proposition in many communities for years now, and some ranching operations now employ helicopters and drone technology to increase profits.

And, as The Guardian recently noted, Donald Trump’s NAFTA policy could severely cut into US cattle profits. But for the cowboys interviewed by The Guardian, international politics matters little when compared to local conditions.

“What matters most down here is grass and water, and that’ll never change,” said Jason Pelham, foreman of the Panhandle Spade ranch in Texas.

Among the hardened cattlemen of the High Plains, there’s a sense of struggling against an uncertain future.

“We’re the ones out here doing this every day,” Pelham said. “All we’ve really got is each other.”