A rose by any other name
It isn’t the fact that another generation has joined the family cattle-buying business. It isn’t even the fact that a young ranch girl with a fresh college degree has returned home to work alongside her dad in their large heifer development and feeder calf backgrounding outfit. The impressive part is that this young lady has obtained her own license and is already intent on creating a niche for herself in the world of cattle procurement.
Karoline Rose is a second generation cattle buyer in Three Forks, Montana. She recently started her own company, KRose Cattle Company. Rose graduated from Montana State University in May 2015 with a degree in Animal Science.
“My father, John Rose, has been an order buyer for 22 years and owns Rose Cattle Company. I grew up observing the passion and business savvy that my dad has for this business. I wanted to follow in his footsteps, and still be able to do my own thing, as well. In my business, I am buying feeder calves in partnership with my father, but I also wanted to specialize on the female aspect of the cattle business with bred heifers, bred cows, and replacement females,” she explains.
After signing up to market cattle with Superior Livestock Auction in January, she also took on 4,500 bred heifers and cows to sell. “It’s still a little early to market bred heifers but we are seeing a few of them move, and we are also contracting feeder calves to our customers in the Midwest,” she said in August.
These past few years have been a very exciting time in the cattle industry with higher prices, and there is currently a big demand for females as ranchers seek to expand their herds. “We raise bred heifers, and this is what sparked my interest in marketing them. It’s a different marketing avenue than with feeder calves, and I get to develop my marketing skills in the videos. I am reaching out to buyers in a little different aspect and I really enjoy it,” says Rose.
“There are a lot of bred heifers on the market this year. I think we are blessed to have a lot of customers with really high quality bred heifers. We want to represent the quality aspect and not just quantity,” she says.
Rose has a strong background in the cattle business. Her grandparents owned a ranch near Jerome, Idaho, and were purebred Charolais breeders for many years. “After my dad graduated from college they moved to Montana. My grandma actually lives in Portland, Oregon, now but she flies her own plane and flies back and forth. She helps here year-round, but only flies during fair weather,” she says
Currently there aren’t any mother cows on the ranch except her purebred Angus herd. “I won a NILE merit heifer (Angus) in a scholarship when I was a freshman in high school and with her, I’ve built my small purebred herd,” Rose says.
The other cattle on the ranch are bred heifers. “We bred over 800 heifers in May and background about 1,200 calves every winter,” she explains.
Rose excelled in high school and college and also had a long list of extracurricular activities and honors. After graduation, however, she wanted to continue to work with her family.
“My brother and his wife live on the ranch and work full-time with my dad. I have my cattle there, as well. We are a three-generation ranch, with my grandma, my dad, and my brother and his wife and me. We would not be able to accomplish all of this without each other’s support,” she says.
“I am enjoying my new venture with my KRose Cattle Company. I feel lucky to have family members who are very successful and have been very influential in my life. They are happy to have me continuing on with them in the cattle industry. They are great mentors and have done a good job of showing me the right way to do things,” she says.
“We are very blessed to be ranchers, and also to be all working together.”
Even though working with family and with cattle can sometimes be stressful, Rose identifies the trait that helps them stay successful. “Honesty is what kept our family in business for more than 20 years and we hope that’s what will keep us in business for a long time to come.”
Karoline’s father, John Rose, says he is very excited to have his daughter working in the cattle industry. “It’s not just the fact that she came back to be part of a family program, but also the fact that it’s great to see a young person doing this. With today’s economics and how much money it takes to get going, we are not seeing very many young people coming back into production agriculture. We have been very supportive of other young people that have tried to get into agriculture, because we think this is very important,” he says.
“There are a lot of young people who are very talented in agriculture, but not very many of them are good at standing up and telling our story. This is one thing that has separated Karoline from the others. Along with her livestock judging, agricultural interests, and cattle buying activities, she has also stepped up to be an ambassador. She went to Australia on a program through school, and to Africa on a small mission. She has not only stepped up in agriculture but has also stepped up in life. It is exciting for us, and not just the fact that she’s our daughter. We are pleased to see any young person who wants to make a difference and wants to do what’s right,” says John. F
Cattle and college
Karoline was involved in cattle activities while she was going to school. “I started my undergrad studies at Kansas State University, then transferred to Montana State University after my first semester. When I came to MSU I was a little out of the loop, starting there in mid-year. All the other freshmen had made friends and I was coming in as a second-semester freshman and didn’t know anyone,” she says.
“I felt I needed something to be really passionate about. My dad was on the board of the Montana Stockgrowers when I was very young, like 6 years old. Stockgrowers was always part of our life,” says Rose.
“So when I was in my second semester at MSU I sat down with Lauren Neale (Chase) who was the media specialist at the Montana Stockgrowers Association and we developed the idea of having a Collegiate Stockgrowers organization. We implemented this at MSU and it was very well accepted. The first meeting attracted over 90 people.
“I was co-founder, and then co-president the first year of its existence,” she said. Now, Collegiate Stockgrowers groups have been established at the college at Dillon, University of Montana in Missoula, in Havre, and Purdue University. She helped plant the organizations on multiple campuses.
“After I passed on the torch, I was able to mentor some other leaders and help them get it started in other avenues. The main goal was to bridge the gap between young stockgrowers (in 4-H and FFA) and young adults, and involve the collegiate level students. The college years tend to be an age when we don’t have active participation in the industry. There was a gap between the young activities and when young adults went home from college and started a family. We needed to involve young people age 26 and under,” she explains.
Errol Rice, Montana Stockgrowers executive vice president, says Rose has been a great advocate for the beef industry and agriculture. “She was instrumental with our organization in starting that first collegiate chapter at Montana State University. She has always been very pro-active and outgoing, trying to get young people involved in advocating for the beef industry and becoming better spokespersons,” he says.
The Collegiate Stockgrowers group is growing. “It is exciting to be around young people and to draw from their energy and passion to be involved, because they are the future of agriculture. It’s been great to work with these kids and give them the tools to better build their leadership skills, to help lead the future of our industry,” says Errol.
“She is a very bright young lady, very talented, and very driven—very passionate about what she is doing, and we hold her in high regard. With the start of her new company, and working with her dad, it’s exciting to see her embody that entrepreneur spirit, passion and drive. I am confident that she will be successful, whatever her path in life might be, in her future career.”