‘Just start’ email pushes Koester to Engler-based success | Nebraska today
From his dorm at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln at age 19, Shaye Koester recorded a podcast that grew into a growing global breeder education business called Casual Cattle Conversations.
A breeder-to-breeder podcast, Casual Cattle Conversations invites producers to share experiences, stories and information to empower breeders to create profitable operations and improve their lifestyles through RancherMinds, roundtable discussions.
With listeners in all 50 states, Canada, Australia and Mexico, Koester has gone head-first into producing podcasts to produce one episode per week, as well as a weekly blog, newsletter, social media and one live event per month.
His path was almost very different. The Animal Science major with minors in Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship and Nebraska Beef Industry Scholars in Nebraska planned to attend college in her home state of North Dakota until returning home after the Future Farmers of America national convention to find Nebraska stock exchange notification.
Koester grew up as a fifth-generation rancher on his family’s commercial calf and registered operation, Koester Red Angus, near Steele, ND in the south-central part of the state.
“I learned to do anything on the ranch, like feeding, tagging, mining minerals, working with horses and dogs, DNA sampling and vaccination,” she said. “My parents made sure we could do it all – operate every piece of equipment, make sure we could handle it if we had to treat a calf, and even make mating decisions.”
Koester’s passion for innovation and breeding roots complement her values of being a student of life and helping others learn. Learning to raise cattle and ranch alongside his parents, and the two sets of grandparents on the northern plains instilled much courage in Koester. She says her family guided her, but also allowed her to be very independent and learn on her own.
Koester says that from a young age she knew she wanted to be an entrepreneur, as her family is made up of entrepreneurs in the beef industry. After watching her older sister succeed in college and her career, Koester loved her hometown and rural life, but ultimately decided to break the mold and explore what the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources had to offer. .
“It was time to do something different, it was time to get out there,” Koester said.
After her family friends connected her with the Engler program and its director, Tom Field, Koester drove the 600 miles to East Campus for a visit, had lunch with Field and spoke with two current students.
Although Koester had been on campus once before for a cattle judging contest, Koester said East Campus immediately felt like home and she knew Nebraska was the place for her. Koester sealed the deal by immediately sticking a big red “N” sticker on her laptop, phone case and anything else she could brand with Nebraska.
“East Campus is like family, you feel like home and the opportunities – there was never a resource I didn’t have, or someone I couldn’t contact, ask a question and be directed in the right direction,” says Koester.
“You look up to people at the highest levels in Nebraska – Dean (Tiffany) Heng Moss, Mike Boehm, even Ronnie Green – they’ll always greet you, and the whole organization is down to earth and has that family feel.”
While Koester dug into her time within the Engler program and continued ideation, she was also hesitant to take the leap to launch the podcast. She says it took five emails from Field that summer that basically encouraged her to “get started.”
The following August, Casual Cattle Conversations was born.
Three years after its founding, Koester has big plans for casual livestock conversations. What was once a frustration where she saw an opportunity for breeders to learn about management practices and a better way to meet other breeders led her to create a platform for education and storytelling from breeder to breeder.
“I love my podcast, doing interviews and seeing that I have listeners all over the world,” says Koester.
After graduation, Koester will continue to support others in the industry with part-time Casual Cattle Conversations. Koester will also work remotely in marketing and communications with New Stockyard Group, a company that has developed a calving book and data management application designed to make the work on ranches more efficient, which she has done. an internship last summer. Koester is looking forward to returning to his home country and growing his herd alongside his family.
“Nebraska is such a great institution, and I hope Nebraskas understand what they have in their own state,” Koester says.
“From a cattle industry perspective, Nebraska has all the segments as well and it’s been very valuable for me to come here.”