Bulletin Staff Report

AUSTIN — Three Brown County families will be honored next month as the Texas Department of Agriculture recognizes 126 farms and ranches at the 32nd annual Family Land Heritage ceremony.

The ceremony will be held June 8 in the Senate Chamber at the Texas Capitol, Commissioner Todd Staples announced Thursday. The event recognizes families who have kept their farms and ranches in continuous agricultural production for 100, 150 and 200 years.

Two Brown County farms and ranches to be recognized are celebrating 100 years in the family, and one is marking 150 years.

They are the Damron Ranch, 1906, Robert and Jo (Levisay) Damron; the Means Farm, 1906, William Woodrow “Buck” and Frances Allene (Walters) Means; and the Smith Ranch, 1876, Ruth Smith, Thomas Jerome and Bonnie Ruth (Springfield) Smith.

Several farms and ranches in the Brownwood area are also included, as follows:

Callahan County — The Randy and Judy Foster Farm, 1904, Randy and Judy Foster. Coleman County — The Beck Ranch, 1898, Cheryl “Cherry” (Beck) Wells, Cynthia “Cindy” (Beck) Maedgen and Hal Zane Beck. San Saba County — The Lange Cook Ranch, 1906, Cliffa Gene and Ezra Cook; the Hawkins Ranch, 1888, Imogene and Wallace F. Hawkins; and the Robert H. Lewis Farm, 1899, Loveta F. and Robert H. Lewis.

To date, more than 4,200 Texas farms and ranches in 232 counties have been recognized by the Family Land Heritage Program.

“The farm and ranch owners we are honoring have an incredible agricultural legacy to share, one that has spanned generations and seen dramatic changes over the last century,” Staples said. “These families have faced challenges head on and persevered to make Texas agriculture what it is today — an $85 billion economic engine.”

This marks the sixth year the Texas Department of Agriculture will honor farms and ranches in the 150-year category. TDA will recognize 12 properties that were established between 1827 and 1856, including the Smith Ranch in Brown County.

Cowboy poet and entertainer Red Steagall will perform at the ceremony.

The Family Land Heritage ceremony gold sponsors include Texas Farm Bureau, Heartland Alliance of America, Capital Farm Credit, Heritage Land Bank ACA, Texas Association of Dairymen, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, Blue Bell Creameries, Country World and Ag Workers Mutual Auto Insurance.

For more information, visit TDA’s Web site at www.tda.state.tx.us.