Kayla Robinson’s family ranch brought her and her husband, Ronnie, together many years ago, and now, they own and operate it themselves.
Kayla and Ronnie met on Kayla’s grandpa’s homestead, that had been in her family for four generations, when they were kids.
“My grandpa and Ronnie spent quite a bit of time together, and he was always around when I would visit in the summers. Life got busy, so I stopped visiting during that time for about seven or eight years,” shared Kayla. Little did they know, they would meet again during their senior year of high school while showing cattle, and end up married with two children, owning the homestead they first met on.
This was the homestead of Kayla’s great-grandparents. Over the years, we purchased it in pieces and have turned it into a cow-calf operation. We run about 450 head of commercial cattle; mostly black, but there are a few Herefords and Red Angus, and we raise our own Hereford bulls.
We use DNA based identification to improve our herd. We can pick and choose replacements, based on genetics concerning birth weight, milk production and other criteria, for optimal breeding. If we have any issues with calves, we can DNA test them and figure out which sire could be causing the problem. This technology helps us excel our herd quicker and raise calves with better marbling and tenderness. We can raise more pounds per acre and produce a better-quality product. It’s how we hone in on making the best quality steak.
Ranchers are eating what they are producing, so she shouldn’t worry about what is being put into the beef. We raise and eat our own beef; I feed it to my family. I have trust in other producers, as well. We’re not going to pay extra for labels because I truly believe there’s nothing put into that animal that would keep the producer from eating it themselves.
Fifty years from now, I will feel successful if the ranch is still operating, and I have a legacy to leave my children. I’d like to pass it on in better condition than we found it, and I hope to see both of my children working on the ranch. Passing it on in better condition than we found it requires work and adaptations. Cedar tree control has been an issue in the past. The most cost-effective way to eliminate them is burning, but we have removed some mechanically. Also, we have stopped continuous grazing and have begun a rotational system and have even tried mob grazing. This year, we are going to start implementing cover crops to improve the soil.
I think people need to know we are here to take care of and better the land that we have been given. From the water sources, to the grass and soil, we want to be good stewards of the land; if we don’t have land, we don’t have beef, and our operation ceases to exist.
I love filet and Ronnie prefers ribeye. We both like them prepared medium rare.