To her viewers, “The Pioneer Woman” is a relatable homemaker who can whip up a mean steak and also round up the cows they came from, but as it turns out, she also owns a giant chunk of Oklahoma.
Ree Drummond, 48, and her husband Ladd own a whopping 433,000 acres of the Sooner State, making them the 23rd largest landowners in the country, according to the Land Report 100.
Their profile on the list gives some backstory into the cattle family’s start:
In 2015, Drummond Land & Cattle Co. was inducted into the Sooner State’s Quarter Horse Hall of Fame. The family helped write ranching history in Oklahoma. Clan patriarch Frederick Drummond (1864–1913) emigrated from Scotland and married Kansas native Addie Gentner. All three of their sons became successful cattle ranchers, and their descendants oversee hundreds of thousands of acres in Oklahoma and Kansas.
Their bovine enterprises keep money flowing in steadily, but they also have a giant tenant they rent to in the form of the U.S. government. Since 2006, the government has paid the Drummonds an average of $2 million a year to keep burros and wild horses on the estate, with the land going to “support animal protection,” the Daily Mail reported.
Being an amazing property owner isn’t Drummond’s biggest claim to fame, however. She’s the well-known face of Food Network’s “The Pioneer Woman,” which she started in 2011 to feature her popular recipes.
A sort of modern day Laura Ingalls Wilder, Drummond began blogging about life as a rancher’s wife in 2006. After a year, she posted her first food tutorial on the best way to cook a steak, which was a hit with readers. By 2011, Drummond’s food and lifestyle blog was seeing 23.3 million page views a month, reported the New Yorker. With the success of her blog, she created Tasty Kitchen to create a community for other home cooks to trade recipes and tips.
A blog and hit television show aren’t the only things Drummond’s had her hands in creating. She’s also the author who’s written several cookbooks, a love story chronicling how her relationship led her from almost becoming a Chicago lawyer to working on a ranch and a children’s book series based on the family’s late Basset Hound, Charlie. On top of that, she recently launched a magazine, which sold out its first issue.
“I think people are drawn to ‘The Pioneer Woman,’ not because I am some fascinating person, but because I present things that a lot of people can relate to,” said Drummond said in an interview with The Associated Press at The Pioneer Woman Mercatile, the restaurant and store she and her husband opened last October. “I’m not a chef, and I’m not an expert at anything. I’m just a mom and a wife.”
It’s no wonder Drummond’s life story may potentially be turned into a film — although she’s a multimillionaire, Drummond remains homegrown and down to earth, and better still, her success isn’t forced.
“If I had sat down and tried to plan an empire there’s no way, no way any of this would have happened.”