Breaking News
More () »

Working on the Wolf Beat as an agricultural journalist

Rachel Gabel's work as an agriculture journalist is consumed by stories about the industry, and increasingly, wolves.

WIGGINS, Colo. — Words are kind of Rachel Gabel's thing.

She has been a writer since she was a kid. Years later, she is writing for kids--she's penned four children's books.

"I think I've always written," Gabel said, as she read one of her books, "The Wooly Way," to a group of fourth graders at Beaver Valley Elementary in Brush, CO. "I don’t remember a time when I haven’t written--I think the way I look at things, I can see the story that's there." 

Her agriculture-themed children's books find their way into classrooms around the state, through Colorado's Agriculture in the Classroom program.

Her adoration for writing followed her into adulthood through storytelling, and journalism.

"Kind of stick to the facts ma’am," Gabel said, as she explained her job to the kids. 

Credit: Anne Herbst
Rachel Gabel reads one of her children's books to students at Beaver Valley Elementary school in Brush, CO.

Gabel covers all things agriculture-related for The Fence Post magazine. She is also on air for the Western Ag Network, and writes an agriculture column for Colorado Potitics, the Denver Gazette, and the Colorado Springs Gazette. She said the issues she covers affect everyone.

"There are a lot of stories in agriculture that are going to affect them at the bottom of their Safeway receipt, primarily," Gabel said. 

One issue that has kept her occupied lately, is Colorado's wolf reintroduction. In 2020, Colorado voters passed Proposition 114, which will reintroduce wolves to the state by the end of 2023. It passed 50.91% to 49.09%.

The narrow margin caused a lot of controversy, Gabel said. 

"When something makes cowboys cry, it’s emotional for everybody," Gabel said. "That is hard to talk about." 

Gabel has some inside knowledge of the industry and of the people who farm and ranch. She helps run Gabel Farms with her in-laws and husband. She said it helps people trust her.

Credit: Anne Herbst
Rachel Gabel's son, Tee, feeds a calf named Ferdinand on Gabel Farms near Wiggins, CO.

"When they see me in town, and they knew dang well I've been out checking cows, or pulling a calf or whatever, and I had on wash pants and I was covered in cow poop--I think that’s credibility," Gabel said.

On May 3, 2023, Gabel covered wolves again, as Colorado Parks and Wildlife finalized their wolf management plan. Gabel covered the process from the beginning--and did so this day from her car, waiting for her daughter to get out of school. 

"I do a tremendous amount of phone calls and zoom calls in my car," Gabel said as she scanned the wolf reintroduction plan. "When I get home, it’s time to feed at night and the kids are home--you just take it where you can get it."

Credit: Anne Herbst
Rachel Gabel reads the finalized wolf management plan in her car, while she waits for her daughter to get out of school.

Gabel said she thinks the next big issues on the topic will be where Colorado will get their wolves now before the Dec. 31, 2023 deadline. A 9NEWS investigation has found that at least one state refused to give Colorado wolves. Gabel is curious where they will come from. She also has her eye on the 10j ruling, which will allow ranchers to protect their cattle through lethal means--something that is not currently allowed. 

The story is not going away anytime soon--Gabel is sure of that much. 

"Within the ranching community, they're as tired hearing about it as we are talking about it, but we’ve had to keep it front of mind," Gabel said. 

Credit: Anne Herbst
Rachel Gabel works on a story about the wolf management plan.


Before You Leave, Check This Out