By Jennifer Dorsett
As Texas’ urban population continues to expand, farm and ranch lands continue to shrink. And the number of farms or ranches remaining in the same family for 100 years or more continues to get even smaller.
The Texas Department of Agriculture’s (TDA) Family Land Heritage program was created in 1974 to recognize and honor the families who maintain ownership of farms and ranches and keep them in production, generation after generation.
This year’s Family Land Heritage ceremony was held Oct. 30.
“The Family Land Heritage event recognizes those who have dedicated their lives to making the Texas agriculture industry the powerhouse it has become,” Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller said. “Family farms and ranches remain the cornerstone to the success of our state’s agriculture industry.”
Each year, honorees are invited to attend a ceremony at the Texas Capitol to celebrate their family’s heritage and achievements.
Since the program began, TDA has recognized more than 5,000 farms and ranches—many of them Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) member-families.
Of the 59 families honored at the 2019 ceremony, 30 were TFB member-families, including two who have maintained ownership of their farm or ranch for more than 150 years.
The following farms and ranches were recognized at this year’s ceremony:
Rakowitz Homestead, Atascosa County
Wenmohs Ranch, Blanco County
McMillan Homestead, Bosque County
The Blinka Farm and Ranch, Burleson County
Fairview Farms, Collin County
Parris Hill Farm and Ranch, Collin County
Willms Incorporated, Colorado County
Henderson LTM Enterprises, Crane County
C.T. and Fannie Matthew Ranch, Dewitt County
William C. Mann Ranch, Duval County
Cooke Heritage Farm, Ellis County*
Francis Carthel Home Place, Floyd County
Rodney and Sharon Kott Ranch, Gillespie County
BJR Cattle Company, Goliad County
4 Gunn Ranch, Gonzales County
Smith Family Farms, Gray County
Stout Ranch, Grimes County
J.H. Ward Farm & Ranch, Henderson County
Carter-Ives-Howard-Williams Farm, Hood County
Halls Ranches, Kerr County
“The Old Place” GGGG Ranch, Live Oak County
Reuben and Doris Geistweidt Ranch, Mason County*
Deans Farm, McCulloch County
Rejcek Farms, McLennan County
Kent and Faye Cartrite Farms, Sherman County
Bryan’s Prospect, Washington County
Hughes Ranch, Washington County
Drastata Farm, Wharton County
Kaechele Ranch, Wharton County
Taylor Hill, Wilbarger County
*Indicates the property was honored for TDA’s 150-year designation.