Natalie Kovarik is a powerful voice for agriculture. A Nebraska rancher, wife, and mom, Natalie is the co-host of the popular Discover Ag podcast covering topics related to food production and modern ranching. Her social media presence has grown to reach tens of thousands of people outside the world of ranching, a voice for a new generation in the industry.
Founded by a cattle rancher, Vogt Silversmiths is a brand with deep roots in the Western world. We were honored to feature Natalie in a recent shoot on her home ranch, and to ask her a few questions about her work. We hope you enjoy this conversation as much as we did!
To start with, can you tell us a little about yourself—your family, your connection to agriculture, and your ranching operation?
Hiiiii there! My name is Natalie Kovarik and if we are being honest (which we are), I've always kind of struggled to write an appropriate and proper introduction about myself ha. Women are such wonderfully complex and beautiful creatures. We wear all the hats (maybe in this case all the jewelry) and juggle all the things that I find it increasingly hard to narrow ourselves down. I suppose at my core though, I am a ranch wife, ranch mom and surprising enough, rancher myself. I live in Central Nebraska with my husband Luke and our three boys Tad, Jaks and Rue. Together we own and operate our ranch—Kovarik Cattle Co. which is a cow/calf operation with a growing registered herd.
As far as how I got here? The ranching way of life has always been familiar to me. I was born and raised on a cattle ranch in SW Montana. My family has been tending to the same land where the headwaters of the Missouri River merge against the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains for over 100 years and it truly is one of my favorite places. I ended up getting my degree in Pharmacy and after graduation moved to a bigger city in Montana and worked as a full-time pharmacist at a hospital/clinic. Cue my husband entering stage left. He's a Nebraska boy through and through and like myself he grew up with ranching in his family. He was in Montana visiting my family's ranch for our annual bull sale. We joke that he came for a bull, and left with a wife. (I know, I know, I'm not sure our love story can get any more country ha).
What made you decide to use your social platform to share your ranching life?
I've always loved the Instagram platform. Looking at it from a creative aspect, I think I saw how easy the app made it to showcase and highlight beautiful things—and to me that's exactly what the Western lifestyle is: beauty. My original introduction to Instagram (beyond personal use) was sharing for a direct to consumer beef business I started with a friend, but I ended up pivoting away from that so that I could share the beauty of the western lifestyle. For whatever reason, I just felt really called to do that.
At some point, you started providing more education about agriculture. Can you tell us about that?
One of the truths about life is that generally most people only know what they are exposed to. Growing up in agriculture, it was all I knew right? Until I started sharing online, I didn't realize that while I was familiar with agriculture, other people weren't. As my account grew, so did misinformed comments and since I've never been one to back down from a little controversy, it only felt right to add a new component of information to my page to address all the misinformation.
What are some of the important messages you use your platform to share?
Along with sharing my family and our day to day ranching, I spend a lot of time addressing cattle and climate. Unfortunately there is a narrative that cattle are ruining the planet, and I really love combining facts about ruminants' role in the environment along with our personal story to show people how that couldn't be further from the truth.
You are also the co-host of the very popular Discover Ag podcast. Tell us about that! What inspired you to start podcasting? What are some of the topics you cover?
Discover Ag was birthed out of my business partners and my desire to to get back to the root of why we started sharing: connecting people to the ranching and farming families of our nation's ag community. Every single week there are so many articles about farming and food making national headlines and when people read them it just seems they are left with more questions than answers. We thought it could be really beneficial if instead of people having to take a reporter from New York’s opinion on something farm and food related, they could instead hear it from experts within the industry. So every Thursday my co-host and I break down the top trending news/topics in the ag and food space and give our professional farming opinion as millennial females in agriculture. Along with helping people better understand the nuance and complexities of the food system, Discover Ag is also our attempt at making ag fun and sexy and cool again. We really want people to relate to ag again, and take an interest in it.
We loved partnering with you for this editorial, shot on your beautiful ranch in Nebraska! You use your social media to share a glimpse into the Western lifestyle and your daily life as a ranch wife and mom. You’re always working hard, but you sure make it look good! How would you describe your style? What inspires you?
My bio reads "if Yellowstone and Ralph Lauren had a baby" and as odd as that pairing sounds, I think that sums me up pretty well ha. Fashion has always been a big part of my life, I think clothing and jewelry are an extension of your personality—a way to express yourself, like art. But on the same hand, like many raised in agriculture, I feel as though I am fairly down to earth and enjoy my days connecting with nature. I think my style is a reflection of those two things. Bold simplicity.
Clearly you are influenced by Western fashion and heritage. Vogt is a heritage Western brand and we always say our pieces are meant to work as hard as our customers do! Tell us about your connection with Vogt Silversmiths. What made you decide to partner with us?
I was so honored when Vogt reached out. I have long admired your brand among many of my Western friends and family members. Going back to my above answer, I think Vogt is very similar to my style—bold simplicity. Your products are truly timeless and the exquisite details that are crafted into each piece are so stunning. I love that I can dress my pieces up for an event or outing, but in the same vein pair them with simple jeans and a t-shirt and they still feel at home. It was an easy decision to partner :)
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