See how Texas beef farmers and ranchers are rethinking the ranch to raise sustainable beef through award-winning environmental efforts.
The 125,000 acres of Killam Duval Country Ranch spans a large swath of southern Texas, an area where David Killam's family has been ranching for 120 years. Partnered with the ranch's manager, David Kitner, the team has managed to make vast improvements to the land over the last twenty years. The ranch continually fights against brush encroachment, opening areas for sunlight and water, and thus allowing for grass and forage to grow. Water has also presented a challenge to the ranch susceptible to the arid Texas climate, so Kitner developed an intensive water plan. Recycled tanks from an oil field were repurposed as high-volume gravity-fed water tanks, and over 300 miles of pipeline and 200 water troughs were installed. As a result, no animal anywhere on the ranch is more than half a mile from water. The Killam Duval Country Ranch team is committed to doing what's right for the land and their animals. For their commitment to sustainability, the ranch was awarded the prestigious Environmental Stewardship Award (ESAP).
"It makes us feel good to have improved the country as much as we have. It's never done. We work at it every day. Everything we plan and do is with the idea of, 'How is this going to affect the land?" - David Kitner, Manager, Killam Duval Country Ranch
Meet father and son team, Coleman Hudgins Locke and John Locke of J.D. Hudgins Ranch in Hungerford, Texas. Treating the animals with care is the main priority of the ranch. They understand that their family’s legacy and livelihood depend on how well they treat the cattle that provide them with the life they wouldn’t trade for anything.
Meet Austin Brown III, a 4th generation rancher in Beeville, Texas. Brown's great-grandfather began Brown Ranches in 1924 and the family has since carried on the ranching legacy. The family believes their greatest strength is the value and stock they place on the family name- it’s the name and face behind every cow in the pasture and bale of hay in the barn – and it's their ultimate legacy above the land and herd.
Everything is bigger in Texas including the cattle industry. As the largest cattle producing state in the country, about 17% of all U.S. cattle ranchers and approximately 8% of the annual U.S. beef production are from Texas.