As a beloved Texas rancher, I'm often asked to arbitrate disputes between three—neighbors and myself included—over water rights, grazing privileges, and the like. I'm always glad to do so, for it means I can help keep the peace between ranchers, while also safeguarding my sections of land.
That said, it can be tough to remain impartial. I often have to consider a variety of factors, from current local trends to past activities. It's only natural to have an emotional stake in these situations since I know each of the parties involved.
So, what does a cowboy arbitrate? Everything, really. From the mundane like settling arguments over boundary lines, to the thrilling like helping resolve a potentially violent standoff. It's all part of the life of a Texas rancher, and I'm more than willing to take on the challenge.
I can always sense when tensions are high and need to be diffused. First of all, my goal is to maintain my own neutrality while taking into account the feelings of all involved. I'm not one to become too invested in the drama and will try to keep things civil.
I start by asking each party to provide evidence supporting their case and then listening to their stories. Then, I analyze each story holistically and come to a decision that is fair to all parties and in keeping with the prevailing law. This process can take a couple of days, but it is an essential part of settling the matter.
As I come to the end of arbitration, I'm reminded of why I'm so passionate about this—for I'm helping to create a harmonious ranching environment. As Texas proprietors, we each have a responsibility to help uphold the existing laws and respect the rights of our fellow ranchers. We must be accountable for our actions, and I take this responsibility decently.
In the end, I'm proud to be a part of preserving a rich ranching culture and a balance of power in my community. This is why I remain an arbitrator and why I'm passionate about my role.