Successful Ranching

The many attributes of making ranching one’s life profession are numerous -quality of life-pride in accomplishment-honoring and participating in long honored traditions- the list can go on for pages, but the opportunity to raise the kids and grandkids in an atmosphere that will develop life skills that can carry on for generations is the most valuable of all. My ranching career has produced many eventful-successful accolades, the success, and ethics of my children and now grandchildren is the grandest, most humbling success of Ginger and I’s life.

Fewer and fewer true ranching operations are still active in the Central and West Texas area and the time-honored traditions and quality ranch kids are dwindling quickly. One must ask; What has happened in the fast-paced modern world resulting in this loss? Consistent profitability of the ranching operation is possibly the largest factor in this loss. (Why would the next generation wish to remain on the ranch when he cannot make a living doing so?) Those ranchers that have recognized the potential in repairing the rangeland resource, moving toward what nature provided prior to mans abuse and mining of our grasslands resource. This resource provides the nutrition to grow those grazing plants and provide livestock and wildlife the nutrition to flourish, makes the water cycle sustainable and retains carbon in the soil where it belongs. The key to that repair is a grazing management program so often referred to by me, without that tool all other ‘repair’ methods will ultimately fail. Perhaps not for those that do not make profitability to be their primary goal, but then again that lack of consistent profitability is a large contributor to the ‘ranch kids’ decline.

There is much more to a profitable ranching operation than simply good range management application. The operation must be treated with a business approach including all aspects of the operation including quality of life-sustainability-social interaction within the community.

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Rangelands and Ranching: A Study of Proper Use of Rangelands & the Environment by Frank S Price

My son and I ranch a cow-calf, wooled sheep and hair sheep operation in West Central Texas. We operate 7 different grazing units and utilize a single herd, traditional pasture grazing program within all these units. My son represents is the 5th generation of this enterprise that was started in 1876 by my great grandfather. He and his brother began by driving a herd of cattle from Ennis Texas to Santa Anna Texas, ultimately driving the herd of cattle they had built to Kansas markets and returned to Sterling County, to begin a permanent ranching operation. Rainfall within our scattered operations runs from 17” to 20”. The winters, while going into the single digits on occasion are relatively mild compared to ranches further north, resulting in mostly mild winters producing usable cool season growth along with the dominant warm season plants.

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