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Ranch story gets a world-wide audience

Jaclyn Wilson

Jaclyn Wilson

Jaclyn Wilson raises Red Angus cattle at Wilson Ranch near Lakeside, Nebraska. Send comments to her at

Do you ever have those weeks that you look back on and wonder what the heck just happened?

Last week was one of those weeks.

I mentioned in a previous article that back in May we had a YouTube videographer come out to the ranch. Though I’m still not really sure how he got hooked up with our operation, after a little bit of research I went ahead and made the decision to OK him coming out, because if we don’t tell our story who will?

Peter Santenello has traveled the world over doing videos on people and occupations that others may not know much about. Whether it’s hanging out with the Amish, driving around with gang members, or even in a war zone, he brings a different view to areas of life that otherwise might get lost in the hubbub of everything going on.

When he arrived, I could have done things multiple ways. I could have just given him a tour of the ranch and portrayed the beautiful picture of scenery and wildlife to his 1.2 million followers. But if you’ve been reading these articles, you know that’s not really my style.

Within five minutes of Peter arriving, he was on an ATV helping move pairs to pasture. The day was spent working, and he got a small taste of what ranch life was like.

We were hauling replacement heifers out to lease ground that day, and a couple of loads of obstinate (there’s not enough room to explain how obnoxious they were that day) heifers gave him a little bit of a different insight.

I was beyond nervous for the video to be released. I know we do things “right” on the ranch, but there are millions of people out there that just don’t understand why we do what we do. Some are willing to find out why, others think they know why.

The one thing that was encouraging to me is that we changed Peter’s thought process that day. He had this image that the beef industry was just CAFO’s (feedlots). Being able to show someone that the majority of cattle spend the majority of their lives on grass was a game changer.

Sunday I was moving cattle and checking pastures when the video came out. I was watching it while moving a group of feeder heifers. While I was pleased with the amazing edit job, I was waiting on the activist to start with their two cents. They never did.

Instead, something really neat happened. Hundreds upon hundreds of positive comments were posted on an industry that a lot of times doesn’t get a lot of recognition. It was one of the most refreshing and invigorating things I’ve seen in a long time. People from all over the world reached out to comment. Most have never stepped foot on a ranch, but all of a sudden they were seeing how we raised beef. They not only appreciated it, but they approved.

I’m not cut out for a life on YouTube by any means, and it may be a long time before I’d consider it again, but for once I firmly believe something good came out of sharing our lifestyle. I won’t mention what it did to beef orders, but as soon as I finish this, I’m hoping to resume packing for the shipment that is going out to 23 states.

You can check out the video by going to Youtube and searching for Peter Santenello.

On another note, we sold some steers last week at Ogallala Livestock. We were pleased with how they did.

I missed them selling by 20 minutes and had to watch on video, as I was on a time crunch to get to Denver to fly to Salt Lake City and then jump on Amtrak to head to Elko to get the pickup and trailer that had been getting repaired.

It was the first time I have ever traveled on Amtrak, and even though the delayed 3 in the morning departure was obnoxious, the hour I had to see the scenery from the tracks before I got off in Elko was really neat.

I arrived in Elko with hopes that everything would be done and ready to go, and that was not the case. Finally that evening, things were finished up and I was able to start the drive back. Considering I was told the pickup was going to be done more than a week ago, I was just a little cranky. I was doing my best Winston Churchill to play diplomat but still be pushy enough that I could get things done. My main thought was to not irritate anyone too badly, as I was sure I was going to have some issues with the billing. Then upon receiving it, it was under what I was quoted, so I smiled and almost ran out of the building.

Hopefully this week will be a little less exciting, but one never knows around this outfit.

Jaclyn Wilson is more than a rancher, raising Red Angus cattle at Wilson Ranch near Lakeside, Nebraska. She’s an artist with a welder’s torch. She holds leadership positions with several agriculture organizations. She can be reached at This column represents the views of one person and are not necessarily the opinion of the Midwest Messenger.   

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Jaclyn Wilson raises Red Angus cattle at Wilson Ranch near Lakeside, Nebraska. Send comments to her at

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