Customer Spotlight: Jeff & Shelane Graham
By Monica Coyle
Ranching as a family is more than a way of life at the Graham Ranch. It’s a dream fulfilled, one that began back in 1993, when Jeff and Shelane were first married. It’s a family heritage, rich in history and love for the land. It’s also an opportunity to grow together as a family through the joys and struggles of ranch life.
Both Jeff and Shelane grew up in ranching, and have known since they were really young that it’s something they wanted to do. In 1997, the opportunity came. The Grahams moved to Hereford, South Dakota, on the original homestead, which was quite meaningful as Shelane was the fifth generation to ranch on those 80 acres.
Today, ranching is definitely a family affair, as their three children, Jade (19), Sanden (16), and Sage (13) play integral roles in day-to-day operations. Shelane says that it can be a large responsibility for the two of them, but that their kids are a huge asset.
Over the years, they’ve grown as a family, especially through the challenges they’ve experienced. Having recently gone through a couple of natural disasters, and managing post-traumatic stress in differing ways, they’ve come to rely more on God. They say that without their faith in God, they don’t know where they’d be.
After Storm Atlas, the Grahams decided to try the Wilken bulls, which had impressed both of them. Shelane appreciates the family aspect, having grown up with five sisters and raised to go out and do the job at hand. She says, “After we went to that first bull sale, it was really a blessing to have Gary share a bit of a testimony and a verse and pray before. After all the yucky, I feel that the Lord has blessed us.”
They find the Wilken Angus bulls to provide a lot of benefit, especially with calving ease. They consider it a huge help not having to worry about the heifers having calving problems. Not only that, but they’ve seen other benefits in their herd, including exceptional growth and a gentle disposition.
If they could give advice to young ranching families, they say to surround yourself with good mentors. “Get into a good church. And forgive each other a lot- especially after working cows!” Having recently celebrated 25 years of marriage, the Grahams are grateful for the chance to do what they love, and do that together.