Natalie Kovarik, Nebraska rancher & influencer
Born and raised on the family farm in Montana, Natalie Kovarik did not think she would follow in her family’s footsteps and become a rancher. Today, she runs Kovarik Cattle Co. in Central Nebraska with her husband and shares about her ranch life online with over 100.000 followers on Instagram or through her podcast “Elevate your ag story”.
Natalie, introduce yourself!
My name is Natalie Kovarik, I am 34 years old, born and raised in South-West Montana but now reside in Central Nebraska with my husband Luke and our three boys Tad, Jaks and Rue. Together we own and operate Kovarik Cattle Co., a cow calf operation with a registered Angus herd. Up until last year I worked part time off the ranch as a pharmacist at our local hospital, but I recently stopped practicing pharmacy to share full time on social media.
How did you get into agriculture?
I was born and raised a fourth generation rancher’s daughter and that is where my love for agriculture began. But, to be honest, despite having a wonderful childhood, never in a million years did I think I’d be a ranch wife, ranch mom or rancher myself. Looking back I think that is partly because the hardships of agriculture seemed heavy to my younger self, but also because my parents gave my siblings and I the beautiful gift of choice. They never wanted us to feel obligated to take over the family operation, they wanted that to be a choice of ours. So I pursued a degree in pharmacy and spent five years practicing as a full time pharmacist living in a bigger city in Montana near my family ranch, but not on it. Things came full circle when I met and married my husband and relocated to our now operation in central Nebraska.
Why did you begin sharing online?
I originally started sharing online in the fall of 2017 for a ranch direct beef business I was a part of. I eventually ended up stepping away from that a few years later (spring of 2020) to start my own Instagram page so I could share more personally about our ranching and family story. In the beginning I felt really called and drawn to share ranching through the eyes of the ranch wife. But over the last two years I have grown from sharing about motherhood on the ranch and ranch wife content, to more information about Ag and advocating for the industry.
What is your goal in sharing online about agriculture?
Currently I share a lot of Ag facts and tackle Ag misconceptions, but I also am a creative at heart and still have a lot of content that is centered around showcasing the beauty of the west. My goal has always been to create a new conversation around Ag and build a community that trusts in agriculture as much as I do, whether that is through my posts and reels or stories tab.
How do you respond to negative comments or perception towards agriculture online?
From the beginning of my advocacy journey, I made a promise to myself to respect the boundary I set that I wouldn’t spend time in the comment section arguing with strangers who don’t want to see my side or be open to a conversation. As advocates I think it is important we spend time on what I like to call “the moveable middle”. Its the silent majority that is neither for or against you. That is who I try to create a message for and who I want to spend my time engaging with. Not the negative activist that will never see my side no matter what I say or do.
Do you feel you have changed the way people see agriculture because of what you shared?
Absolutely! I have been sharing online for four years now and not a day goes by that I am not reminded of or at awe of the power of social media. My community is definitely an Ag based community, but I do know I have lots of followers that are non Ag too, and everyday I get to spend time creating a connection and bond with them and showing them the truth of Ag.
If you could give young women who dream of a career in agriculture a piece of advice, what would it be?
I think there is a lot of good advice that could be given here. My husband would say to follow your passion, because the path to success is never easy and the more you are aligned with what you are passionate about, the easier the obstacles that present themselves will be. I think “simply start” is good advice too. Too many people get caught up in analysis paralysis and never actually put one foot on the ground and start walking towards their vision or dreams.
I think if I could only give one piece of advice I would always fall back on the encouragement to do the darn thing – take the risk. It’s the risk that turns into the reward. I stand firm in my conviction that bravery and belief will take you far. One of my favourite quotes says “even if you go for it and doesn’t work out, you still win. You still had the guts to head staring into something that frightened you. That type of bravery will take you places” I’m not sure who said it, but I think they are spot on!
Born and raised as a fourth generation rancher’s daughter on the family farm in Montana, Natalie Kovarik did not plan on following in her family’s footsteps at first. After pursuing a degree in pharmacy and working as a pharmacist in the city, she ultimately met her rancher husband and relocated to central Nebraska where she runs Kovarik Cattle co. Last year, Natalie decided to stop working as a part time pharmacist at the local hospital to focus on sharing her ag story on social media.
Your can follow Natalie Kovarik:
On her website
Or listen to her podcasts here
This article was published in Women in Ag Magazine 2022-3. Click here to read the full article.
Pictures: Kassidy McConnville Photos