Central Coast’s Kiah Twisselman Burchett premieres digital series highlighting people in agriculture
CALIFORNIA — A new digital series highlighting California’s people in agriculture premiered this week — and it was created and hosted by the Central Coast’s very own Kiah Twisselman Burchett.
“Backroad Cowgirls” premiered the first episode of its first season on YouTube this week. The digital series features Burchett and her Texan friend, Courtenay DeHoff — known to many as the creator of the Fancy Lady Cowgirl brand. The two friends, along with photographer Shelby Caitlin, traveled up and down California, sharing stories of the people behind one of the most vital industries in the world — agriculture.
“We don’t want this to be a show just teaching people about how their food is made,” said Burchett, “What we wanted it to be was talking about the people. Because at the end of the day, people connect with people.”
Burchett is a sixth-generation California cattle rancher from Carissa Plains. She has made national headlines after sharing her health journey to lose over 100 pounds in one year. She now doubles as a life coach, speaker, and podcast host.
Prior to Burchett and DeHoff hitting the road, Caitlin offered her photography skills to document the journey. Caitlin is a destination photographer known for capturing the western lifestyle based out of Paso Robles.
For two weeks, Burchett and DeHoff went to different farms and ranches in California. They ended up producing 13 episodes, with new episodes available every Tuesday, starting June 7, for the next three months.
The idea for the project came up in February when DeHoff, who lives in Texas, picked up Burchett from the Dallas Airport, saving Burchett from enduring a seven-hour layover. While chatting over an Italian lunch, the two discussed their dream to create their own television series, but they decided they were tired of waiting for a producer to notice them.
The friends each grew up in the agriculture industry — Burchett growing up on the Twisselman Ranch in Carissa Plains and DeHoff a fourth-generation cattle rancher from Kansas. While their careers took them out of the everyday agriculture business, they each wanted to marry their passions of agriculture and travel. And what better way to do that than to create their own television show? Less than three months later, Burchett and DeHoff were in their “hippie cowgirl van” and on the road
Burchett explained why they didn’t waste time getting started.
“If we don’t do it now, life is going to get busy, things are going to get in the way, the excitement is going to fizzle, and it might not ever happen — we decided we are going to do this come hell or high water,” Burchett said.
After creating a website, Burchett and DeHoff raised funds for their new venture and gained some sponsors.
Burchett and DeHoff’s first stop was the Allgood family in Creston. They then met with agriculture members in Edna Valley, Oceano, Coalinga, Lodi, and Sonoma, just to name a few.
Each stop on their journey was meant to highlight diverse members of agriculture. As said on their website, “From pistachio growers to tatted-up chefs and restauranteurs, BIPOC and LGBTQ+ farmers, cattle ranchers, mental health professionals, vinters and more — this digital series will focus not only on the facts, but the faces and stories of the people who are as diverse as the industries they serve.”
Season one features the agriculture community in California, but that is just the start of the Backroad Cowgirl dream. Burchett and DeHoff have plans to take the road all over North America and eventually overseas. According to Burchett, they are already in the works with some big investors for season two of the series.
Ultimately, the two friends hope to take the series to a streaming platform like Hulu or Netflix. Their hope with these platforms is to reach an audience outside of agriculture and to bridge the gap between the farming industry and the rest of the world.
“There is so much hate in the world today,” Burchett said. “I think it is so easy to hate somebody or something that you don’t know that you can’t put a face and a story to.”
Episode one of the series released on June 7, features Jamie Mickelson of Sonoma. Mickelson attended Cal Poly and now works alongside her family raising Hereford cattle. Despite being born with profound hearing loss, Mickelson is dedicated to living her lifelong dream of expanding her families legacy in the ranching industry.
“Agriculture doesn’t just have one look,” explained Burchett, “but it’s so much bigger than what we traditionally think of when we think of agriculture and farming and ranching.”
Look for new episodes of Backroad Cowgirls every Tuesday, available on YouTube. For more information, visit backroadcowgirls.com