4 Ellis County historic farm, ranches honored
AUSTIN – Four Ellis County farms and ranches were among the 102 recognized by Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples and the Texas Department of Agriculture at the 33rd Annual Family Land Heritage ceremony on Friday, April 4 in Austin.
The ceremony was held in the House Chamber at the Texas State Capitol.
The annual event recognizes families who have kept their farms and ranches in continuous agricultural production for more than 100 years.
"For more than a century these families have made agriculture a way of life, establishing Texas as a nationwide leader in an ever-demanding agricultural industry," Commissioner Staples said.
"It’s because of their unwavering dedication that Texas agriculture is the $100 billion powerhouse it is today."
To date, more than 4,300 Texas farms and ranches in 233 counties have been recognized by the Family Land Heritage Program.
Andrews County was added to the list of counties with honored farms and ranches for the recent induction.
Governor Rick Perry, a former agriculture commissioner himself, joined Commissioner Staples at this year’s event to honor and thank the families for their amazing persistence and dedication to the land.
"It is with great pleasure that we celebrate the families whose lineage is as deeply rooted in our soil as it is in Texas history."
TDA honored 14 farms and ranches which have been in operation for at least 150 years in the following counties: Burnet, Collin, Colorado, Ellis, Fannin, Jim Hogg, Lampasas, Panola, Parker, Waller, Williamson and Zapata.
Cowboy poet and entertainer Red Steagall performed at the ceremony. Ron Oliveira, a well-known Texas broadcaster, served as master of ceremonies.
One of the properties, The Ward Farm, owned by James E. Ward and Harold L. Ward and founded in1897 was also accepted into the program.
The owners did not attend the ceremony.
The Texas Department of Agriculture’s Family Land Heritage Program recently honored owners of 102 farms and ranches for maintaining their property in continuous agricultural production within the same family for 100 years or more.
Of those, 14 were recognized for 150 years.
The event was made possible thanks to sponsors including: Capital Farm Credit; Country World News; Sam’s Club; Texas Disposal Systems; Texas Electric Cooperatives; Texas Farm Bureau; Texas Restaurant Association; and Wal-Mart.