“Ranching in Texas has thrived as a major industry for more than three centuries,” says the Texas Hill Country Trail, “from the Ojo de Agua and Las Mesteas ranches of pre-statehood colonial Texas to the sprawling King, XIT, and Rocking Chair spreads of our Anglo settlers.” Texas ranching has given rise to some of the state’s most enduring icons, including the cowboy, the longhorn, barbed-wire fencing, and the 10-gallon hat.
Throughout the region, ranchers have seen range conditions, water supplies, cattle breeds, and livelihoods fluctuate dramatically, all a part of the mercurial temperament of both natural and market forces. Cattle may have been king but nature, combined with the vagaries of supply and demand, ruled as emperor.
Weather and economy aside, cattle-ranching also gave us a diversity of related industries including slaughterhouses, commercial feedlots, meat-packing facilities, organic beef farms, chili cook-offs, and beef jerky.
Then there is the King Ranch, all 825,000 acres of it. Founded in 1853, Texas’ largest and most storied spread was not a foregone conclusion. When Captain Richard King founded the ranch, he knew almost nothing about cattle ranching; he was a New York jeweler’s apprentice who stowed away on a ship to Alabama. But he made up for his inexperience by making smart decisions, like buying land with the area’s only source of fresh water and coaxing an entire Mexican town (whose population included vaqueros) to move to Texas and work for him.
There is a lesson here about how much experience is needed for ranching.
When you visit Austin, San Antonio and the other towns in the Hill Country, you will notice this is barbeque country. Readers of MentalFloss rated Austin as the best city in America for BBQ. In ,Texas, you can find multiple styles of barbecue, but Austin has some of Texas’s absolute best beef brisket and ribs.
If you’ve been hankering for a ranch for farming, raising livestock, or just recreating, we can help! Through superior client service, technology, and knowledge, we can find the perfect ranch for you.