The ranching business runs five generations deep for Marsha Shoemaker, of Shoemaker Farms, and has been her way of life since the day she was born. Located in Clay County, this North Texas ranch is primarily a cow/calf and stocker operation. “Our cow (herd) is maintained on pastureland, the weaned stocker calves are retained until they are approximately 800 lbs.,” explains Marsha. “We also farm wheat and other grazing crops, along with hay, for a winter feed source.”
Marsha juggles many hats and makes it look easy. These include being a wife, mother of three, grandmother of four, volunteer activities, and full-time employment outside the ranch in agricultural consulting. Still, she somehow manages to find time to help husband Dennis with ranch duties in the evenings and on weekends. “It’s definitely a family affair,” Marsha adds. “My son is a CPA but also works part time with my husband on the ranch. My oldest daughter and her husband help run her grandfather’s operation. And, while my youngest daughter and husband are teachers, they have been known to help work cattle or drive a tractor on the weekends.”
Marsha admits that the financial aspect of ranching, including ever-changing market volatility, along with long work hours can make life in the beef industry seem extra challenging. However, living the ranch lifestyle and the “instilled love of the land and animals,” make it more than worthwhile.
“Agriculture, in general, is a hard life that requires dedication and hard work, but so rewarding in the end. In the beef industry, we strive to be good stewards of the land and provide a safe wholesome product to consumers and our own families. It’s truly a labor of love!”
In her free time, Marsha likes to fish with the family and chuckles that running is not her thing. “I truly admire members of the Texas Beef Team and their ability to run,” she says. “And, also want to thank each one of them for promoting the beef industry and getting our story (and the benefits of beef) out to a broader range of people.”
Education: I have a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in animal science.
Interesting Place Visited: As part of the Texas Agricultural Lifetime Leadership Program, I visited India. Getting a view of agriculture in India was truly a unique experience.
Favorite Beef Cut: Ribeye Steak
Favorite Beef Recipe: My husband has a favorite! Beer Can Roast – place two large onions in the bottom of slow cooker, then top with seasoned chuck roast followed by one can of French onion soup and 1 can of beer. Slow cook all day and enjoy for dinner!
Favorite Cooking Method: Grilling
Favorite Local Burger Joint: There are not many places to eat in our small town. However, about 20 miles north across the Red River in Oklahoma is the Peach Orchard. They have the absolute best steak fingers.