by IBBA Communications Coordinator Peyton Waldrip
Linda Jordens Galayda passion for ranching culture was enstilled in her from a young age as she grew up on a ranch in Katy, Texas. Her story is a perfect example of someone having roots and wings. In addition to her love of ranching, she spent 30 years in the fashion merchandising industry in New York City, New York. She worked in New York fashion by week, and she worked on her family’s Texas ranch by weekend.
“When your family is in the ranching business, it’s a part of your family and a part of who you are,” Galayda says, “I commuted back and forth so that I could still be a part of the ranch.”
During her time in New York, she was surrounded by an audience that didn’t understand the world of food production. “The people I worked with had no real knowledge of where their food came from,” Galayda says, “Now it’s common knowledge, but a few years ago there were people who didn’t know at all what we did.” She explains that an individual in New York put things in perspective for her: “the only piece of property I own is a 12-foot by 12-foot balcony.” She spent her weekends on the ranch and then went back to New York to report on her activities. “People were in awe of the stories I would come back with,” Galayda explains.
There is no question about whether or not Galayda has real passion for her roots, which are connected to the Brangus breed. By 1997, Galayda’s father was in poor health. “In an effort to set us up well for the future, knowing himself that he’d be eventually not be present, he wanted to make sure we had something worthwhile,” Galayda explains, “so he got us into the Brangus business.”
“He thought Brangus was the up-and-coming breed; he thought this was the direction we should go for the markets; he felt that for our environment that it was going to be the perfect herd; it was more inline, he felt like, for what our future was; and where we needed to be,” Galayda says of her forward-thinking father. “He thought we’d be positioned when something did happen,” she continues, “we could take over and run the ranch.”
Today, Galayda still owns and operates the ranch she grew up on with her husband. Her operation consists of about 400 mother cows, including Brangus, Angus and Ultrablack breeds. “This year my calves off the Brangus cows have actually given me more pounds than some of my Angus production,” Galayda says of her operation. “These [Brangus] bulls that I have bought have really produced some phenomenal calves for us.”
While she was excited and ready to work on the ranch full-time, she continued seeking information. “It’s one thing when your dad is making the decisions and telling you what to do and another thing when you have to be the decision maker,” Galayda explains. “I went to a lot of different places and I talked to a lot of different breeders and economists and other experts; I got into some programs with Texas A&M.” She says she was told she could do anything when she was growing up, and with that precedent in mind she has found success in asserting herself as a woman in the cattle industry.
Her 30-year experience in New York cultured her in a way that made her want to connect the two cultures to which she had become accustomed. “Knowing when I left New York that I had that insight that so many people didn’t know what [ranchers] do,” Galyada says, “I wanted to do something about it when I got back here; I started Texas Rancher Girl to tell people about what ranchers do.” “Texas Rancher Girl” is Galayda’s online blog, where she posts about everyday ranching operations. “With my background in marketing and the fact that I don’t mind speaking out and I’m very passionate about this ranch and industry and my cattle,” she explains, “I wanted to tell that story; I wanted to tell the things that we do every day.”
Galayda has certainly found her industry niche online with her blog. She says the objective for the blog is to share, inspire and connect by sharing stories of everyday tasks and occurrences to inspire others to know what ranching is all about. Texas Rancher Girl features posts written by the rancher girl herself, links to articles from industry experts, links to resources and associations for multiple facets of the overarching industries, and more. She has set the site up to be a go-to resource for cattlemen, cattlewomen, and others interested in the industry.
Because of the wealth of information she provides on the site, she has acquired an international following. All in all, Texas Rancher Girl is an outstanding resource for the modern-day cattleman and an outstanding source of advocacy for the Brangus breed.
Galayda says: “It’s all about sharing our story and being able to tell people what we’re doing.”