Land is important to Texans, and it always has been. Private property rights are always high on the list of important issues named by residents of this state. Those who own land take pride in that fact, and those who don’t aspire to that status.

In pioneer times, real estate ownership was directly related to wealth, so it’s understandable why settlers in new American territory considered land so important. Wealth can be built in various other ways in today’s society, but those who do accumulate it invariably want to use the money they earn to buy a farm or ranch — somewhere to get away from it all for rest or relaxation. And quite often, it’s for investment. The work of an agricultural producer can be difficult and challenging, and often less than rewarding financially. But a relative handful of families persist nevertheless.

Three Brown County families will be honored June 8 as the Texas Department of Agriculture recognizes 126 farms and ranches at the 32nd annual Family Land Heritage ceremony. The event will recognize families who have kept their farms and ranches in continuous agricultural production for 100, 150 and 200 years.

The properties being honored here are the Damron Ranch currently held by Robert and Jo (Levisay) Damron, and the Means Farm operated by William Woodrow “Buck” and Frances Allene (Walters) Means, both founded in 1906; and the Smith Ranch, founded in 1876 and owned by Ruth Smith, Thomas Jerome and Bonnie Ruth (Springfield) Smith.

Numerous other farms and ranches in the counties surrounding Brown will also be recognized at the ceremony.

This program by the Texas Department of Agriculture is public acknowledgment of important milestones in the lives of the families that have struggled through generations to work the land, raise their families and pass along an important tradition to future generations. The fact that this acreage has remained in the same hands through the years — despite all the setbacks that weather and the markets can throw at them — is a tribute to them and their ancestors. Congratulations are in order.

Brownwood Bulletin