Why I Ranch…

Posted on October 24, 2017 by morgan.treadwell

Frank and Sims Price Ranch

In 2012, Price Ranch was recognized for their range management when they were presented the Outstanding Rangeland Stewardship Award by the Texas Section, Society for Range Management and Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. And it was recognized as a 2013 regional Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP) winner during the 2013 Cattle Industry Summer Conference.

How did you get your start in ranching? The Price family began ranching in 1876. Frank Price has managed his family’s ranch for 40 years, first in partnership with his father, and then in partnership with his son Sims in 2011. Together, they run their cow-calf operation on 68,000 acres. Sims and his wife Krista are the fifth generations of Prices on the ranch, which they operate in four counties. The ranch operates with three primary income enterprises including sheep, cattle, and hunting. 

How important is agriculture to your family?The Price family has two primary goals. First, the ranch is operated as a separate business, self-sustaining, and is expected to show an annual profit. Second, but equal, their goal is to leave their natural resources in the best possible condition for the next generations.The family is dedicated to these goals. They have recently started using Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) dollars to make continuous improvements to the ranch, and they also use controlled and prescribed burning to their benefit by adjusting their livestock grazing charts to include speed of moves, flash grazing, animal density and total deferment.

What makes ranching in West Texas so unique? In a normal year, they receive 18 inches of rainfall. These last two years have been abnormal, with exceptional drought and devastating wildfires, particularly in their area,” said Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association President Joe Parker, Jr. “Even though they had to reduce their herd to protect their land, they still found lessons in flexibility during the adversities. The Price family’s experiences with wildfire lead them to be a leading voice in Texas on inter-agency cooperation in fighting wildfires. We are glad to have his practical and sound leadership in such an important area.” The father-son partnership at Price Ranch represents the fourth and fifth generations of Prices to ranch in west Texas.

Goals of Rangelands and Ranching

It is my hope that rangeland managers, environmentalists and anyone else that works with, or even has concern for our great rangeland resources across the United States, (The world for that matter.) will be able to learn from the posts available on this web site. It is not expected that everyone will agree with the posts or comments, but perhaps the reader will think through and begin to understand the process’ involved in sound rangeland management and the value it has for the ranching and environmental communities.

Not only are the environmental aspects to be covered within this ‘Blog’ of high priority but the welfare of the animals involved in the ranching process are also of great concern. After some time and posts, it is my desire to show how important healthy-properly handled livestock are to the profitability of the ranching operation and most importantly to the health of the rangeland itself. (Animal impact and the timing of that impact are a key element to healthy rangeland ecosystems.)

Understanding the importance of looking at a ranching operation from the perspective that everything that is done on a ranch has a direct influence on that operation. Whether it be grazing, finances, type of livestock, family wellbeing, or socially within the community all have a direct influence on the success of the operation. Over time it is my hope to provide some understanding of how these and many other relationships are so important in achieving the overall success of not only the ranching operation, but the health of our rangeland resource.

Finally, I have no desire for anyone to even remotely think that I am an expert or master at anything. I simply have a passion for the land and recognize the astonishing changes that can be realized when sound grazing management is applied to the rangeland. As a rancher or rangeland manager, I am willing to share my experiences in working with the amazing resources the rangeland has to offer. The potential for marked improvements in the environmental aspects of sound rangeland management practices are numerous. Addressing soil loss or erosion, increasing water retention from runoff prevention, storing the water in the soil for future use thus making drought a much more manageable issue, sequestering carbon within that healthy soil created by that properly applied grazing management are all obtainable often at an amazingly rapid rate. Offering my thoughts about these and more rangeland issues will certainly be an exciting process and perhaps along the way I can learn from others that are willing to share and comment to this web site.