Living That Ranching Life; And Posting It All
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There are very few things in this life that handed over to you, especially – no, most definitely – when you are living that RANCHING LIFE. So many times you will hear that over used statement of, “You can’t make it, if you didn’t inherit it” in reference to ranching and farming. The only thing is…
It is completely untrue.
While it can be a touch harder to get started in the world of production agriculture, it is a thriving livelihood that is as fulfilling as they come. Not only have my husband and I created a successful life in this industry, so has the amazing Marion Wine & Family. Her story isn’t far off of my own.
The trick is, to be successful, you have to WORK YOUR TAIL OFF. Sometimes this looks like an “Off the farm job” to meet bills when you’re getting started and sometimes this looks like always making the right connections.
Check out this great story of a woman with a passion and persistence to chase what she knew was hers!
Hi There! My name is Marion Wine (insert handshake and smile, here!). I’m a wife, mother, production engineer, picture-taker and part owner of Wine Feeders, LLC. When I’m not at my day job cracking C3’s (propylene and propane), I’m helping my husband keep our cattle business going, and keeping our family fed (which is typically after we get the cows fed)!
Wine Feeders, LLC is a family owned and operated business. We pre-condition calves, focusing on 2 to 5 weights, where presently, we are equipped to house 500 head total. Our focus is to supply our buyers with hearty calves that have overcome stresses from weaning, dehorning, vaccinating, and if required, individual doctoring. After approximately 60 days, our calves have made the transition from pasture grazing to feeding twice daily on mixed feed in a bunk line.
Establishing this routine and familiarity with a feed lot type environment will decrease susceptibility to sickness, sensitivity to pen riders, and ultimately decrease the cost of gain by heightening the cattle’s feed efficiency when compared to other, un-preconditioned calves. Buyers will have lower treatment rates and subsequent death loss.
We go to great measures to provide quality, preconditioned cattle at current market prices.
Our calves are sold and shipped to feedlots where they are then fed to slaughter weight. We have also had interest in our calves for other avenues in the cattle industry- we do not discriminate against where our cattle ultimately ship to from our operation and are excited to continue to become acquainted with folks who are interested in our calves.
Farming and Ranching is seeded deep in my family history, Texas history, and American history...My dad's side of the family farmed/ranched in Montana. His family ranched just over 5,000 acres in Montana, where they led a cattle operation, in addition to growing, canning and procuring all of the food that the family ate- boy I could just sit in awe of their self-sustainability!
My mom's side of the family, the Coffey's under leadership of Richard Coffey, were the first settlers in Elm Creek, Texas. At the time, this was the furthest south that anyone had settled in the 1800's; there, they ranched over 1,000 head of cattle, organized large cattle drives, employed a cowboy crew, and faced Indians in their remote location. They weathered the untamed land of the west, building their homes into a fort-like structure for protection. Rich Coffey's homestead and cowboys were known in the region as kind, generous cattleman and farmers, who spent a majority of their time in the saddle, overseeing their livestock. A book was written about Rich Coffey, and the impact that he had on Texas's history, and ranching in S. Texas. He was a well-respected and admired man.
As a young girl, I can recall all of the time I got to spend out on the ranch. Without even knowing the details or the history of how the land came to be in our family, I got a very special feeling from indulging myself in the surroundings- I felt very connected to the land. Somehow, I just knew that the land was richly cultivated with history- history that pertained to the very blood that pumped through my veins. It excited me, and leaves me to this day, wanting to know more. What was it like to settle untamed land in the 1800's? These thoughts would spark my imagination. I would walk off any dirt road, into the brush; almost as if I was in meditation with what surrounded me- there, in that moment, “today”… - the cactus, the trees by the trickling creek, the fish swimming by, and the thoughts and ideas of my ancestors having used that land, eating the fish that swam by, watering their horses there, building homes out of the materials that lay in front of my eyes... all on the very ground which I stood. Living from the land.
The destiny of that land changed during my late-elementary years; it is no longer in ownership of my family- but I can still put myself in that place and feel the peace that it gave me.
My curiosity of the Coffey's history in Texas and my connection to them and their lives at a pivotal time of American history profoundly shaped me from a young age.
While I was not a little girl who woke up on sprawling acres every morning, I knew from an early age that ranching was embedded within me; and that I had to do whatever I needed to be an active participant in the cattle industry. It is a piece of me. It drives me. It is my passion.
Family land has not been passed down to me. But I am still alive. Just as much as everyone else, I have the opportunity to make that possibility; that goal, for myself, and for my family. I have the opportunity to do what my predecessor, Rich Coffey did for his family, and, with the help of my husband, it is what I intend to do; it is what WE intend to do.
This feature was created to reflect on the use of social media by successful cattle-based businesses and individuals. What is your favorite social media platform and how do you seeing it relate to the business aspects of what you do?
Much of this journey is portrayed through my instagram page.
I have always had a deep love affair for old pictures, and for western art- pictures that told a story, and depicted history. When Instagram was first introduced, the very thought that a social media platform that was picture-based excited me to no end!
Pictures play off of our senses. They are a form of communication, documentation, and preservation. – That’s a lot of big words, huh! Haha!
But the glory of social media today, and in particular, Instagram, is that people best relate to people. We are drawn to each other, and we are drawn to the reality of others’ lives. What better way to do this than through pictures!
The major benefits that I see for businesses, and for consumers alike, is that today, if I use a product and I like it, everyone can/will know about it in one post- one post! This leaves no room for unrealistic advertising pitches, poor customer relations, and even idea thievery in some instances.
Also, every business in existence provides some sort of product, or service, for PEOPLE! Instagram is one of the largest growing social media platforms, and I think this explosion growth is just in the beginning stages. Promoting these services and products through Instagram- through real people who have established reputations, and friends, is so worth while! There is no telling what is yet to come from this tool, but I am excited and looking forward to see!
Keeping all of the above in mind, how does this relate to me, personally? Social media addresses several important aspects of who I am: my creativity, interpersonal connections, and business ventures.
My instagram didn’t start off as a business page. Over the years, I can see where I have transitioned through 3 phases of posting: I have gone from making less meaningful, personal posts, to posting for follows with little regard to my family and personal lifestyle, to finally, portraying my family life, and integrating our business and goals into that. The last phase I have landed on, is more “me” where I “try” less - and ironically, I have gained more recognition while going this route.
I love the farming and ranching community on Instagram. I have made virtual connections with some users that I consider to be my friends. From a business perspective, I hope to form relationships with folks from both sides of our business: potential places for us to purchase calves/medicine/equipment from, in addition to potential buyers of our preconditioned calves.
We are a product of who and what we expose ourselves to, and I hope first and foremost, that I make people feel good. I hope that people know that I genuinely care about them, and that they have a friend in me.
I want to document my family’s growth and business maturity. I want to capture the struggles, and I also want to celebrate the small victories.
That saying comes to mind, “sometimes you’re the windshield. Sometimes you’re the bug,” this is true of all of us! While some people like to portray their lives as though this is simply not the case, I tend to lean to being somewhat more open with these instances in my life, and our business venture. People seem to be able to connect on this level with me.
Do you see an actual financial benefit for your business through the use of social media?
The largest pay off that I can see presently for our business, is that people know us. They see our story. They see the struggle, and the hustle mainly, and I also like to share the small success stories that we have from time to time also- I hope that I am able to do so in a humble way. Humble, because the truth is, although we have small successes, we still have a lot ahead of us- and I am scared – and that fuels me. It fuels us. We do not want to lose what we have worked so hard for. People seem to be able to relate to this as well.
Without getting too much further off topic while I am trying to explain my answer to this question (- sorry! 😊 ), by and large, the biggest benefit of social media is just that – being social.
Which platform is your go-to network for connecting with your tribe and why?
As much of a lover of social media as I have come to be, I really only publicly use one platform – that is Instagram. It is so easy to use, and it is enjoyable. Instagram continues to develop in ways that keeps up with changes and trends in social media.
I’m not sure that I’d say that I have a tribe, but I connect the most with people on Instagram. Not only am I able to connect, but I have formed relationships with some of these people. I also stay in touch with family and friends on Instagram. People’s personalities shine through their postings, and it is so easy to depict authentic individuals, and form a connection, even if it is through internet communication.
When I had Facebook years ago, it seemed at that time that Facebook was designed more to keep up with people that I knew already. They’d provide status updates- what they ate for breakfast, who was in/out of a relationship, etc… and to be completely transparent, I lost interest. Now that I am thinking about this, I can’t really even pin point why.
I also use Snapchat – but I utilize snapchat as more of a quick way to send personal videos or pictures to my family and closes friends. I can count on 2 hands how many folks I snapchat with. In many ways, I use snapchat to see and send the status updates that were consuming my Facebook feed.
Have you seen a difference in your bottom line directly from using social media?
Yes! Yes, in every way! I have learned SO much, and made so many meaningful connections with good people. These connections have offered personal growth, broadened my knowledge and have helped shed some light on our business.
If you could go back and tell yourself something when you started this adventure of using social media professionally, what would it be?
Oh my goodness, this question has so much depth to it and I love it!
Firstly, I would tell myself not to get discouraged to the point that I judge myself. I believe discouragement is a healthy emotion because for me, personally, it prompts me to go and learn. Learn how to edit pictures better, utilize my camera, amp up my work out plan, etc…
It pushes me to push myself outside of my comfort zone, if that makes sense!
But I would tell myself in the face of extreme discouragement, keep going. Keep being you. Hold your head high, and give yourself value. Give what you put on your page, the value that it deserves. (On the same token, if it doesn’t deserve much value at all, be honest with yourself over this. And consider whether or not you really want this picture on your feed for forever. It might be worth it to you- it might not be).
Who should we all absolutely be following?
Without a doubt, Andy Frisella! Mind you – you are going to have to be able to stand some cuss words if you decide to follow along (he is not for everyone, and he owns this), but his content is always applicable to my life, it is relevant, it is well thought out, and he, in general, talks about things that apply to everyone being a better version of themselves! He gets me pumped about life, about going and doing things, and more importantly, about helping other people, and striving to be a kind, genuine, and authentic person every day, while also maintaining a “go-getter,” mentality.
What is your biggest tip for gaining followers and interaction?
This may seem as a weird way of approaching this question, but my biggest piece of .02, is to just be yourself. Don’t worry about who’s posting what and how quickly they are gaining followers. Everyone is different. Everyone has a different thought process behind what they are doing on their personal or business pages.
Some businesses/individuals/blogs procure their content so much so that they become unrelatable and unrealistic. They steal other individual’s “posting styles” in the pursuit of followers. The issue with this, is that this is OBVIOUS; there is a clear difference between someone who is trying to gain followers and someone who is posting relatable and real-life type content. People seem to respect and connect best to the latter.
I think this is also obvious through the interaction. Some people do not respond at all to their follower’s comments. Some only respond to people that they know. And some people respond to everyone.
Reading comments on my posts is something I take so serious- someone took valuable time out of their daily, busy hustle to add value to mine! I LOVE talking to people (in case you can’t tell by my lengthy answers, haha!) that of course I am going to go back and respond to every individual! This is exciting to me! This is what social media is all about – making those connections! It is so important to me to do this!
I’m going to harp on a pet peeve here for a hot second because people who do not respond back or only respond back to certain folks, send a message to their followers that isn’t necessarily a positive or uplifting one. People need to remember, that if they hold themselves in high regard, and consider themselves an “influencer,” that they probably ARE influencing people’s lives!! If these people who are following them and look up to them, take time out of their busy day to comment on their picture, they should be able to take a hot 10 seconds to respond to them! I think this is SO important. Not from the aspect of gaining followers, but just from the aspect of being a good person, and a humble human being who admittedly has an “influence” on peoples lives.
Now: I am 100% sure, that when you get on up into the hundreds of thousands of followers, no one has enough time to sit and respond – because you’d be doing that all day. I get that. That’s not really what I am referring to here, because my point is that you can tell. You can tell when someone THINKS they are better than a majority of other people, and it is not an attractive virtual characteristic to possess. These people make social media look like a high school popularity contest, and they can have all of that game that they want. That’s not me, and I refuse to play.
People are people. We are all equal. It doesn’t matter how many followers one person has vs another. At the end of the day, Instagram followers don’t define you or your worth, or your business, etc… I remind myself that every day, and I think it is important for others to do the same as well!
Don’t get me wrong – the sole purpose of Instagram is to connect with people through the form of art. People enjoy art, but what I am saying, is that I think the two can co-exist in harmony.
I have come to a place where I don’t really even hashtag much, because Instagram has become so advanced in promoting relative content to users through the search page, that there is no need. I don’t want folks to follow me based on a hashtag that I’ve posted that they find me under. For me personally, my content jumps around from post to post. I have family, I have other cowboys when we day work, and I have our business that I post about; I have a new baby that I want to document as a part of our daily lives as well. If someone were to follow me here lately, because I hash-tagged “baby,” on a post, then they are probably going to unfollow me the next time I post, because the content of my posts change SO much. Sometimes I write long captions that I have given a ton of thought to. Sometimes I post a picture with song lyrics in the heat of the moment with little thought behind it at all.
Ultimately, I want to form real connections with real people. Whether that means I get more or less followers by trying less – I’m not sure. I try to make posts that are real, and are true definitions of me; but I do not post for the soul purpose of gaining followers. I do not do giveaways, and I rarely participate in giveaways.
What I do know, is that the followers that I do have, for the most part, are real people that I enjoy; that I am guessing happened to my page in some way, liked what they say, and hit that “follow” button on their own free will; and by this, I am immensely humbled.
An additional comment that I’d like to make here, is that, I am no expert, I am still figuring “it” out too. I’d like to say that my audience came all in one fell swoop because my pictures or my writing is just “that good,” but, I am not that ignorant. Just like with everything – it develops over time. You plant a seed and watch it grow. Instagram is no different. I have become more polished in what I post, yes. But I am not doing this for the sole purpose of gaining followers. I am simply documenting my life and business, and making connections with wonderful individuals that inspire me every day. It is my hope that I can in some way, inspire them as well.
Marion, you girl, are amazing. Not only for taking the time to be a part of this new series I am trying out, but because of taking the time to be so amazing at what you do. The cattle and ranching industries are blessed beyond measure to have a person of your aptitude in it’s ranks. Thank you for sharing your words of wisdom as others try to grasp this whole “social media thing.”
It is possible to start from scratch and create a RANCHING LIFE that you are proud of!
If you want to “follow” Marion Wine around a little bit, check out her Instagram HERE