The Heart of a Rural Sister: Karoline Rose
I had the opportunity to interview Karoline Rose, a fellow rural sister and woman in Ag, right here in Montana! She was traveling at the time, but so graciously made time to visit and share her story and expertise! I hope you enjoy!
Tell me a little bit about yourself!
I grew up in Montana with my 2 brothers. My dad graduated with an Ag degree from Cal Poly. My dad has been a cattle buyer for 24 years. As kids we were very active in 4-H! In High School, I won The Nile Merit Scholarship and that heifer was the start of my herd. I went on to buy that heifer’s flush sister and now have 37 pairs, all because of the start I got with that heifer! I attended Kansas State University where I began my Animal Science degree and finished it at Montana State University.
My father, who still works as a cattle buyer, and grandmother, who flies her own plane, run their own cattle. My brother works with them in their operation and he and his family live very close.
The focus of my ag operation is heifer development. Another piece of my operation is marketing cattle. My own company KRose Cattle, which was founded in 2015, Company offers private treaty sells as well as a partnership with Superior Livestock where we can market cattle on video or internet auction or the country page. I currently have 4 employees. We offer video cattle sales and marketing for operations via social media. I have always known there was high quality of females in Montana, but there was limited marketing outside of the state, so I offer a way to video market online, with about 200,000 views per week. I specialize in marketing females. Some buyers don’t want to market females because of the time needed to answer all the questions that the buyers want to ask. I feel strongly that spending the time and answering all the questions that the buyers have, is imperative to a growing business, relationships, and widening the reach of heifer sales.
What is the most challenging part of your business?
I find that many people want to do what Grandpa did, but without the same paycheck. There are often several generations involved in the decision making process. I may be interacting with one, but then when it’s time to make a decision, they have to go back and talk to the rest of the decision makers. By the time they are all on the same page, the opportunity is now gone. Families that work together, really have to figure out what works for them, make decisions together first, then market their cattle or pursue a purchase.
As multiple generations working together is part of your family picture and you see it in your ag business as well, what are your thoughts on succession?
Succession is an issue, even if family is willing to communicate and work together. Even if the family knows and agrees on how they’d like to see succession happen, there are still logistics and the legal details to work through.
Do you feel that there is enough support for families to help them through the succession discussion?
I think there are enough resources. The main issue is that until it is socially appropriate to admit that someday the individuals in the operation will die and until it is socially appropriate to talk about what will happen with the operation when that occurs, resources can only do so much.
Do you face isolation and loneliness that many women in ag face? How do you deal with that?
I have family close by. My brother and his family live close, as well as my father. My friends are scattered throughout the state and I make an extra effort to connect with them while I am traveling for work. The majority of my friends have careers in agriculture so that gives us a similar topic to discuss
How do you find balance between family, your business, etc.?
As a Christ-follower, I believe that if I align myself to Him, then He will allow all the things in my life to fall into place.
What is one piece of wisdom that you would share with another woman in ag?
You have to admit failure to grow. Failures are teaching opportunities. Stay sensitive, but strong. Don't give up.
What do you think are the 3 most important qualities for a woman in ag?
Integrity; A servant heart; The ability to forgive
Do you have any daily self-care non-negotiables? (For some this might be reading the Bible daily, others it's getting up a little bit earlier than the rest of the family to have a bit of quiet time, others it might be getting their nails done, journaling, etc.)
I enjoy taking a bath or painting my nails, even when I know they may be chipped the next day. I do a lot of traveling and I refuse to listen to the radio. I listen to books on CD and podcasts. I make it a point to learn while I'm on the road. Some of my favorite podcasts are “All up in your lady business”, “EntreLeadership”, “Christy Wright’s Business Boutique” and “The Dave Ramsey Show”.
Do you think folks in agriculture can truly follow Dave Ramsey's money plan?
Definitely on a personal level. You might always have some debt for the operation, because you almost can't do it without some debt. But it is important to work to eliminate the debt not directly linked to the Ag operation. I also think that instead of buying equipment that is not truly needed at the end of the year, to increase expenses, why not spend it on tax write offs that will further God’s kingdom and make a difference in the lives of others?!
As a business owner what advice would you give for the women in Ag, that are starting their own businesses?
Become an expert at something! Customer service is so important. Send a thank you note, take them for coffee, but always focus on the customer. Treat your people well and they’ll do the same for you. Become a student. Get a business coach. Improve your skills. Pray a lot!
Knowing what you know now about life, agriculture and business what would you tell yourself 10-20 years ago?
That every move is watched in agriculture, so start telling my story right now. Start sharing my love for cattle, ranching, and business. Believe and lift up others as often as possible. Successful women lift each other up. I used to be extremely competitive, but there is room for everyone in business.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to visit with Karoline! She really is inspiring. Her resilience, drive, and determination were so evident as we spoke! I hope that you were encouraged by her story as I was.
If you’d like to connect with Karoline, follow the links below!
KRose Marketing and Consulting
If you have enjoyed reading this entry of "The Heart of a Rural Sister", you might also enjoy reading the last interview with Sandy! You can read it here.