Fire and Salt is a husband and wife team who runs a regenerative ranching operation in Deep East Texas. The founder was raised on and around ranches in the Texas Panhandle, where his family has five generations of ranching heritage. He left Texas to attend the University of Oregon in 2005 and settled in Oregon after he graduated. He and his wife were married in 2016 then after the arrival of their first child, founded their first cattle operation, Sisters Cattle Company, in Sisters, Oregon, in 2018. Three years later they sold the operation, moved to Deep East Texas, and started their current company Fire & Salt.
Q: When you first started your TikTok account, what was your goal, and what were your thoughts about starting your account?
A: My wife recommended I start a TikTok channel in 2020 (primarily because she was tired of having to listen to me talk about eco-ranching all the time!). My goal was simply to share the practice because it’s obvious to me that the future of ranching is in eco-management rather than protein production, and this has profound implications for the future of the planet. I discovered quickly that I have a knack for the particular brand of ranching that I practice and the ability to examine and articulate the practice’s potential to affect the industry and human civilization in far-reaching ways.
Q: What have you learned from having a following on TikTok? How has it affected your business?
A: Every video I make receives feedback from a huge spectrum of the population. This means every idea, opinion, and analysis I put out there is examined from many angles. My ideas have been stress tested and critiqued by quite literally hundreds of thousands of people, and this has forced me to critically examine my practices in far more detail than I ever would have without the TikTok audience. In other words, while I am educating my audience, they are educating me and forcing me to turn the blinding light of criticism on myself. This has produced a much more coherent, consistent, and harmonious approach to ranching and life.
My TikTok presence precipitated the opportunity for me to sell my first business and cultivated the ethos that inspired our family and investors to purchase a ranch in Deep East Texas. Before TikTok, I was running cows on whatever leased land I could scrape together in the Oregon desert. After TikTok, my family has its own Texas ranch. TikTok gives people the opportunity to follow and be inspired by our journey and has facilitated a significant customer base for our beef business.
Q: Your platform is used for sharing and educating people about your regenerative ranching operation, what do you hope people take away from your content?
A: We all have a responsibility to live in a way that moves the world towards a more meaningful and repeatable future, so I work towards that and simply document along the way. What someone takes from that is their business.
Q: What is your advice for others in the agriculture/ranching space if they want to be a content creator on TikTok?
A: Rules for Content Creation:
1) Play Offense for What You Want
This means focusing your content on what you’re doing – what you’re creating – rather than tearing down or critiquing what others are doing. Not only is it poor form to tear down others, but it’s also completely counterproductive as it only emboldens those who you criticize. Focusing on creation and positive benefits is much more engaging to an audience and will serve to keep your foot out of your mouth. Believe me. I learned this the hard way.
Remember the quote, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”
2) Never Get Defensive
This is a common mistake of new content creators. People will critique and insult public figures (which we all are now) until the day they die. As a content creator, you create the sandbox that the commenters are playing in. So be the creator – not the defender. It is debasing yourself to actively engage anyone who arrives with venom in your comments section. Having a vigorous discussion in good faith is wonderful and encouraged, as this is one of the best ways to improve your own practices and understanding.
Throwing oneself into comment section negativity is the enterprise of losers.
3) Stay Positive, Stay Humble
All content should be framed in a positive, connecting, life-affirming way. People have enough negativity in their lives. Even tough conversations and subject matter can be discussed and examined in positive ways. If you’re having trouble articulating your message, just think, “Say something positive!” This is an extremely useful way to start videos and typically provides a more fluid path to the overall point you’re trying to make.
It’s really important to remember that none of us really knows anything about anything, and what is true in the morning can be totally false in the evening. If you really take this to heart and be open and ready to be wrong, your content will adopt a more humble feel. Humble content is more enjoyable and digestible. We all have a long way to grow, and we all have a lot to learn.
Q: TikTok has been a game-changer for those in agriculture and ranching to share their way of life with people who might not otherwise be exposed to it. Do you have any thoughts on how your platform has opened the eyes of some people to a new way of life?
A: People message and email me daily telling me that they want to start, are in the process of starting, or already started reorienting their lives around eco-agriculture, at least in part due to the content I create. This is not simply because I offer a glimpse into rural life. I offer a different way to interact with nature itself.
I work every day to articulate a vision where our world has more people living on the land – in harmony with it and themselves – immersing themselves in the intimate details of their lives. A world that is more organic than mechanical. More biological than technological. A proper balance where agriculture serves the aspirations of Life rather than the appetites of industry. People feel that. They crave it. Because deep down, we’re all hunter-gatherers from the savanna, and eco-agriculture is the only thing that can satisfy that ancient craving in a world of 7 billion people.
- Years on TikTok: 2+ years
- Followers: 230.5K
- Likes: 3.7 Million
- Handle: @FireAndSalt
Cowboy Lifestyle Magazine
This article was created for the Fall Issue of the Cowboy Lifestyle Magazine which was released in early July. You can catch this article and many more by checking out the full issue. For more information on Cowboy Lifestyle Magazine, visit the website here.
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