Carlos X. Guerra of La Muneca Cattle Company looks like your average rancher. But he’s not. He devotes fully half his time to marketing: promoting purebred cattle. These are the registered Polled Brahman and Simbrah his family raises to sell seed stock (live cattle, semen and embryos).
“Two thirds of promotion is motion. No matter what business you are in, you must be visible,” says Guerra. His mantra of “No see and no tell equals no sell” is effective.
“We sell genetics all over the world. Today with social media, it is so much easier to get your product out and seen,” Guerra says. He continues to advertise in print trade publications. He believes that is the best way to reach the “many old-school people in agriculture (average age 67) who await arrival of their trade publication.” He keeps those magazines on hand to give to prospective clients. He also welcomes groups to La Muneca Field Days. Ranch tours host people interested in ranch life and the cattle business.
Guerra’s widowed great-grandmother came from Mier, Mexico with three children in 1873 and registered her La Muneca brand shortly thereafter. Today La Muneca (Spanish for doll) Cattle Co. uses her brand, which looks like a skirt with two upraised arms. La Muneca’s largest ranch is also named San Antonia in her honor. While Guerra is general manager of La Muneca, his wife and adult children have deep involvement in operating the ranches and family business.
How did ranching change?
“In the past, the emphasis was on production. Farmers would work all year to produce a crop and then take it to market – a coop, cotton gin or elevator,” said Guerra. “Nowadays there are all kinds of ways you can market year-round. We as seedstock producers have the opportunity to create extra value above commercial market value for our products.”
Guerra identifies the most important values as the breeders’ integrity, the livestock’s pedigrees and how well they have performed.
“The show ring is the place to display the quality of the product — and to bring in the next generations of breeders. It teaches kiddos how to be responsible and the value of hard work, along with animal health, nutrition and genetics.” Guerra believes in the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat and the opportunity for kiddos “to meet their Uncle Blister from a hard day’s work.”
“It’s very important that business people be involved in their chamber of commerce or trade organization. You are able to give back to the community, help your business grow, keep up with industry issues and trends.” Guerra and wife Sister. Their family have spearheaded multiple scholarship funds and organized support for 4H, FFA, and the Edinburg Boys and Girls Club, among other charitable achievements.
“You never know when you are going to plant a fertile seed in someone’s mind that might lead to a prospective new client. You have to keep planting all of the time,” Guerra said. “It all goes back to motion.”