Meet Katie Kubacki, a young woman who ranches in the Sandhills. She’s got a fascinating story. She’s a first-generation Nebraskan, majored in animal science, and made a choice to take up residence in the heart of our great state to get started. I’ve included a few snippets from a recent interview with her below.
Jeff: Katie’s story is particularly unique as she grew up in New York and thought she would go into veterinarian medicine -- but had a change of heart. Katie, how did this all happen to you?
Katie: Well it all got started when I grew up in a loving, business-oriented family and I’m the only person in my family interested in agriculture, which is strange in today’s society. But if you have a passion and a drive to really do something, you’re gonna make it happen. Even when people are saying you don’t have the capital, the cattle, or the land to be a rancher.
Jeff: So let’s talk about your story. You have this idea, you have the desire, you have a good education and background, pick it up from there. How’d you get your first cattle? What’s the operation like now?
Katie: So once I graduated from college with an animal science degree, I started by making a good relationship with a banker, and came up with an expense report to say how much I’d need to borrow in order to start.
Jeff: So describe your operation and where are you in terms of your plan?
Katie: So I thought it would be great, smooth sailing; I wanted to have 10 heifers to start with but ended up buying eight because I am picky. And out of those eight, one had to get sold, so then there were seven. In January, we were getting ready to start calving and had our first set of six.
Jeff: You integrated your herd with another herd. Do you have an agreement with an existing rancher, do you do other work to keep yourself viable while you build up your own cattle operation?
Katie: Yes, so I moved to Valentine, Nebraska, to manage the Sandhills Cattle Association -- that was three great years. I moved on to my own designing and website business, and I also artificially inseminate cattle all throughout spring and summer. So that’s what feeds the capital that I need to raise cattle.
Jeff: Well, that’s outstanding. Congratulations, this is a great story.
Katie: Thank you.
Jeff: I’m impressed by your initiative, your innovation, your drive and again the fact that you are following your passion and making a decision to become a first-generation Nebraskan. Hopefully your story will be told over and over again in the coming years, as we raise up the next generation to shepherd the land, husband our animals and feed the future.