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#NewGenRanchin - Feeding America

In March of 2020 I sold my car, grabbed my puppy and quit my job in my hometown of New Mexico. Kent, only my fiancé at the time, was loading up his Dodge pickup and a trailer with everything I had to my name, and we were heading back to his family’s ranch where we were about to start our new life as newlyweds and as 5th generation ranchers in Southwest TX.

Kent’s family has been raising black angus cattle around Rocksprings, TX since 1957. He had graduated with an animal science degree from Texas Tech in 2017 and moved back home shortly after to work for his parents on the ranch. This had been his plan his entire life; graduate college, move back home, work on the ranch for his parents till taking it over with his brother. Me? Not so much.

I had gone to school for commercial music as a vocal performance major at South Plains College. My plan when moving to Lubbock, TX was to get a degree to please my parents then travel around for a bit, playing music where I could then end up in some place like Nashville or maybe Austin. I had no idea what I wanted to do other than I wanted freedom to be creative. I had never expected to meet and fall in love with someone who had planted his roots in his middle of nowhere, hometown surrounded by cows, yet here we were.

About a year before this milestone moment of starting our lives together as a soon to be married couple I was getting ready to graduate. It was during this time that I found myself at a crossroads. I felt had two choices.

Madi and Kent Dunbar working cattle on their ranch

The first choice was that I was finally “free” to travel like I had dreamed about; to move wherever I wanted, doing whatever creative idea I came up with. After a few years of being in music school I had made the hard decision that being a performer wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do but was slowly finding out what it was I did. I had just started my social media influencer journey and had fallen in love with content creation, and I knew it was something I wanted to keep pursuing. My former ideas of wanting to travel and my sort of “hippie” mentality was still a longing I had in the back of my head.

On the other hand, by this time Kent and I had been together for close to four years. I was sure that he was the man I was going to marry. I knew that he was planning to propose sometime soon, and I knew I wanted him to. He was my other opportunity and the one I found myself leaning more towards. However, I knew this meant that I would be living a very different life. I would be living in true rural America; living on the ranch far away from the nomad life I had dreamed about once before. Those of you who live in the ranching or farming world know that being away constantly is just not realistic. I felt overwhelmed with the decision I felt I had to make. In the end though, I chose Kent, and I am forever grateful for that because God found a way to bless us both with the opportunity not only to pursue both of our dreams, but also to do it together.

Madi and Kent Dunbar pose together

Kent and I got married September 12, 2020. It was a hard year with lots of loss and lots of change but also lots of love. I’ll be honest, adjusting to life on the ranch was not easy for me. I was far away from my family and friends, and I went through a period where I felt like my creativity had been stripped away. Honestly, I felt stuck. I felt like Kent was seeing all his dreams come to fruition and I was seeing all my dreams vanish. Looking back, it was a very selfish way of thinking but in my defense, I was facing a lot of change and trying to figure out my place in this new world I found myself in.

You see, I didn’t grow up in the world of agriculture. I grew up in a golf course neighborhood, five minutes from Walmart. I didn’t have livestock; I didn’t rodeo, and I didn’t participate in things like 4-H or FFA. However, I did always find myself being drawn to the cowboy lifestyle. I had a lot of friends involved in rodeo and many who came from ranching/farming families. I loved every aspect of this foreign world I knew nothing about. I never expected that one day that would be my entire life as well but I’m sure glad that God has bigger plans for our lives than we do for ourselves.

Madi Dunbar holding young black calf.

Fast forward to today; We have been living on the ranch together in Southwest TX for over 2 years now. Over the last couple of years, we have taken on the task of raising not only cattle but dorper sheep as well. Kent works full time on the ranch, and he is also a representative for Superior Livestock Auction, which is a position he was offered right out of college. I am now a full-time social media influencer, sharing our western lifestyle as well as my take on western fashion through my brand, Madi McCall. I also do some freelance writing on the side and content creation for others. This month we officially launched Dunbar Brothers Beef Company alongside Kent’s oldest brother and his wife, which is very exciting and something that has been in the works for a while. We will be direct selling our pasture raised, grain finished beef to people all over the United States. This is an opportunity for us to continue sharing our livelihood with others both in and outside of the world of agriculture.

We are honored to be a part of the 1% who feed America. Being 27 years old young people in an industry that has an average of owners who are 59 years old is both scary and satisfying. It is something we take pride in every single day, even during the hard years. I think that we have a duty to our country to let people know that the agriculture industry is not dead, in fact it is something that without, our country would not be what it is. I personally, as a first-generation cowgirl, want to be a voice for people who did not grow up in the world of agriculture; to be a representation of someone who can be an advocate in this industry even without having a background in it. I consider myself an example of someone who let God lead their path, even when it was a hard and one I never would have laid out for myself.

If you’d like to follow along with our ranching journey you can follow my personal Instagram page, Madi McCall, which will also have a full-time blog soon, where I share a behind the scenes look into our ranching lifestyle, as well as give you ladies out there some western fashion/ home decor tips, rural living hacks and let you know where to find the best places to shop. You can also follow our newest business venture, Dunbar Brothers Beef Company and buy some Dunbar beef of your own! We would love your support on all levels.

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