Current Progressive Cattle digital edition
advertisement

Price Ranch recognized as environmental stewards

Jackie Fitzgerald Published on 28 July 2014
Frank and Sims Price

Stewardship is the responsibility of overseeing and protecting something considered worth caring for and preserving that valuable content.

This is something Frank Price knows all too well and is proud to be a part of. Along with his son, Sims, Frank operates a cow-calf ranch in Texas.

The Frank and Sims Price Ranch was recognized during the Cattle Industry Convention as the winner of the National Cattle Foundation Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP).

Horses on the Frank and Sims Price Ranch

Frank is a fourth-generation cattleman in central Texas. In 1882, Frank’s great-grandfather, along with his brother, moved into the Sterling County area and established the family’s first operation. Today, the ranch is still a family operation. Sims signed on as full partner in the ranch in 2011.

The ranch was handed down from generation to generation, and the Price family kept the operation profitable despite the environmental challenges.

“Winning this award is an awesome honor and an awesome responsibility,” said Frank. “Being able to network with the other winners is truly a remarkable experience. Everyone has a true love for the land and wants to preserve their land, not only for themselves but for the future too.”

ESAP, now in its 23rd year, was created to recognize beef producers who make environmental stewardship a priority on their farms and ranches while they also improve production and profitability. Frank and Sims Price Ranch was nominated by Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and Isa Cattle Co.

The overall mission at the Frank and Sims Price Ranch is primarily to be a profitable operation. They develop an annual budget each year that helps them focus. Frank says the trick is to treat ranching like a business, set strict guidelines for the operation and stick to them.

Along with financial discipline, Frank has also developed a grazing management rotation that helps the ranch take full advantage of natural resources. Winning an award was never a goal for the Price family.

“It was really the farthest thing from my mind,” said Frank. “In the early ’80s I attended a grazing school but never felt comfortable with the intense complex concept. We do more planning but it works for us.”

The Prices’ mature cow herd survives solely on rangeland grasses. They feed out mineral supplements on a year-round basis but otherwise the land keeps the herd healthy. Cutting processed feed out of the operation saves costs in equipment maintenance, time in labor and having to purchase hay when rainfall limits production, according to Frank.

The average rainfall in the area is 17 inches a year. With this limited moisture, Frank has an intense grazing program to develop the rangeland.

Frank and his son, Sims, put together a careful grazing plan. The healthier grasses help maintain a robust root system, which in turn assists the water cycle. The small rainfall in the area creates a challenge for the ecosystem, but the hearty vegetation helps allow the little moisture to soak into the soil and support future growth.

“You can’t drought-proof the land, but we can improve drought resistance,” said Frank. “It’s not just good for us, on our operation, but for everybody. I’m proud to be part of such an amazing industry.”

Like many ranchers and cattlemen working in the industry, Frank and Sims care strongly for the land they operate on.

Frank says one thing he wants to help people understand is that cattle can be beneficial to the range. He referenced years of wildlife grazing the land and the cycle of fertilizing pastures as similar to the ranch system he now maintains.

“We work with the land on a daily basis,” said Frank. “Animal impact plays a huge role on the quality of the land. We need to work hard to prove to people outside our industry that what we do mimics natural environments. Taking care of the land is a rancher’s responsibility.”

Frank says he works hard on the ranch because he loves it. Working hard to preserve the rangeland’s natural resources is a passion that Frank passed along to Sims. What’s on the horizon for Frank and Sims Price Ranch?

“Hopefully a bright future,” said Frank. “We are working to overcome the drought, to continue our successful operation. Just because this system works for us does not mean it’s right for everybody.”  end mark

Jackie Fitzgerald is a freelancer writer based in South Dakota.

PHOTOS

TOP: The Frank and Sims Price Ranch was recognized during the Cattle Industry Convention as the winner of the National Cattle Foundation Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP). Photo courtesy of Frank Price and his son Sims.

BOTTOM: Stewardship is the responsibility of overseeing and protecting something considered worth caring for and preserving that valuable content.

LATEST BLOG

LATEST NEWS