Nate Wolf – Canyon, Texas

Nov/Dec 2019

Nate Wolf

Nate Wolf was smitten by ranch life early on, as a youngster growing up on the Illinois acreage of his father, a first-generation rancher. Today he runs his own cow/calf and stocker operation in Canyon, a town of about 13,000 in the Texas Panhandle. He’s also a long-time advocate and educator within the beef industry, having taught agriculture courses at the secondary level for over a decade and, today, as an Assistant Professor at West Texas A&M University in the College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences.

“Growing up on a ranch was the best life a kid could ask for,” says Nate who is now providing many of the same experiences for his own children Mason and Miles, 11 and 9-years old respectively. The family-business (est. 2016) is fairly small, with about 35 cows and 75 to 100 stocker cattle, so it’s “all hands on deck” when it comes to the roles and responsibilities of ranch life. “A family that works together, grows together,” elaborates Nate, “I want my kids to understand the “why” and “why nots” of a cattle operation, so involving them with everything we do, the day-to-day tasks, is important to me.”

Nate adds that his wife of 14 years, Adriana, has the hardest job of all. “She’s not only a mom and wife, but she is also our support system.  There are many times that the cattle operation has to take precedence over other activities; she understands and supports these times and helps in any area needed.” 

Other than family teamwork and togetherness, calving season is one of Nate’s favorite things about his job. “It’s such a precious moment when a newborn calf comes into this world,” he shares, “and getting to witness that natural bond between mother and offspring. As producers, we put so much time, effort, and energy into providing the best environment, nutrition, and care for that year’s offspring, that seeing newborn calves napping peacefully, running and jumping around, and chasing each other like kids on an elementary playground is absolutely rewarding.”

If you read on to find out more about this inspiring member of our Texas beef community, you’ll also discover that he is a runner!


Background: Most of my education has come from being raised on cattle operations and being hands-on all through my high school years. In college, I found work on farms and ranches that allowed me to stay not only in the beef industry, but agriculture as a whole. After college, I taught Agriculture Education at the secondary level for 10 years. During this time, I had the opportunity to move my family on to a ranch. The agreement was that we would care for a cow/calf operation in return for the rent of the house. This gave my wife and I the ability to begin raising our kids around the beef industry.

After 10 years of teaching at the high school level, I decided to go back to school and pursue a PhD. It is about this time that of my life that I didn’t think I had enough things to do; as if being an instructor at a University, working on a dissertation, kids involved in sports and school, and feeding 4H show sheep wasn’t enough, ha! The family and I dove in head first to finding grass and bought 40 heifers — this was the beginning of our own cow/calf operation.

How Many Hours Worked a Week:  Some weeks are easier than others, depending on what is needs to happen (calving season, weaning, branding, etc.) but with cow/calf and stockers, I usually average of 15-20 hours a week. (Editor’s note: remember, he’s also an Assistant Professor at West Texas A&M).

Hardest Aspect of Ranch Life: Planning for the weather. In the Texas Panhandle, we are liable to have downpours of rain, severe heat/drought, blistering cold blizzard… and, that’s in a 24-hour period! As a producer, making sure that cattle come first and that they have the adequate feed, proper shelter, accessible water at all times during these unexpected natural occurrences can be a struggle. 

Rewarding Aspects Profession: In addition to calving season mentioned earlier, another rewarding aspect of my job is going to events various conventions and interacting with people that have the same passion and desire to see the beef industry thrive. At these events, I have had the opportunity to be a part of workshops and courses relative to the beef industry. For example, I had the opportunity to be a part of National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s (NCBA) Top of Class Recipient where I spent 5 days at NCBA headquarters with other beef advocates learning aspects of nutrition, advocacy, policy, cooking methods, etc. This experience was remarkable and definitely enhanced the way I share my story of the beef industry to the public and respond to any concerns they may have.

Favorite Beef Cut:  Prime Rib

Favorite Beef Recipe:  Steaks marinated in Worcestershire sauce, sprinkled with McCormick’s Seasoning, and cooked on a grill.

Favorite Hometown Burger Joint:  Bear’s Burgers & Dawgs in Canyon

Hobbies: I like to run and be outdoors. Silversmithing is also an interest, I spend time in my shop making custom buckles, bits, spurs, jewelry, etc. The kids are involved in baseball, showing sheep, commercial steer projects, and Beef skillathon.