Rachel Williams Cutrer wakes up early and catches up on housework and emails. Her husband has already left to go tend to the daily operations of the ranch. Once she wakes their two young girls, she gets them dressed, fed, and they’re off to school and daycare. Once at work, she works like a woman possessed to be as productive as possible before returning to the ranch and her family that evening.
This could be a day taken from the pages of nearly any ranch wife. This is a page from Cutrer’s book. Cutrer lives near her family’s historic Brahman ranch with husband Brandon and the couple’s two daughters, Mollie and Ann Catherine. She is the founder and CEO of Ranch House Designs, an author of children’s books, and, of course, a ranch wife and daughter.
Cutrer knew her family’s Brahman ranch, the V8, needed a website in the late 1990s. Looking back, she says it wasn’t pretty, but when buyers, both returning and new, rolled into the ranch’s production sale with the lot information in their hands, she knew it had worked.
“Even now when we have new clients come to the ranch, we ask them how they found us,” she said. “Almost always they’ve found us through our website or through Facebook. That’s been true for 15 years, it’s a great way to find new clients.
Like so many who comprise the young generations on farms and ranches, Cutrer was the go-to family member for technology while her dad and grandfather didn’t understand or appreciate the possibilities of technology and social media.
Cutrer’s grandfather owns the ranch and manages the commercial portion of the ranch. Her father and husband are heavily involved in the seedstock portion of the business, and she and Brandon also run their own cattle as well.
Cutrer’s first client before officially starting Ranch House Designs was her family ranch. She continues to complete the marketing for the ranch and enjoys the flexibility to try new and innovative techniques and ideas for the V8 Ranch prior to expanding it to other clients.
“Just like any operation we have disagreements on priorities or how much money we should invest in marketing,” she said. “Sometimes it’s a hard sell for me to convince my grandfather to spend $100 on Facebook. At the end of the day we respect what his wishes are as the owner.”
Despite running one of the most successful agriculture marketing firms in the business, Cutrer says she does what other ranch wives, daughters, and granddaughters do for their own families on their operations. This, in part, inspired her to establish The Gathering, an educational and networking opportunity for producers and agricultural communicators to hone their skills in marketing for the operations they work closely with. This commitment to sharing her hard-won knowledge with others who find themselves in similar situations on family farms and ranches has won her respect within the industry and has become a large and impressive community, including a who’s who of ranches, designers, photographers, and professional agriculture communicators.
“Oftentimes the first generation family members are working long hours on the farm or ranch, and their priorities are getting cattle fed or getting ready for the sale or AI’ing cows,” she said. “(Their priority is) not posting a picture on Facebook. That is part of why Ranch House has been so successful because we can take some of the marketing responsibility off them, and they know we understand what it’s like to be on a ranch.”
As Cutrer’s business has grown to include a full staff located both in the office in Wharton, Texas, and in home offices across the country, she has kept abreast of trends and the best methods — and staff members — by which to deliver the services her clients need and want.
“All of the clients we had at RHD for the first ten years were acquired through word of mouth or personal connection,” she said.
The V8 website attracted the attention of Cutrer’s friends in the Shorthorn industry, WHR Shorthorns, where Cutrer’s sister purchased her Shorthorn show heifers. This chain of relationships grew and has become the stable base upon which RHD is built. Cutrer’s first clients, WHR Shorthorns and Barber Herefords, remain clients today, and the quality of the marketing Cutrer provides continues to catch the eye of new clients.
Cutrer will be making school visits to districts near her home in Texas this fall to read her children’s book series featuring young showman, Sarah, and her adventures showing her Brahman cattle, Shorthorn cattle, and her show pig. Cutrer has also written “Purebred Livestock Marketing,” the “Livestock Style Guide,” and other e-books that serve as definitive guides for those in the industry. These are all available at www.ranchhousedesigns.com.