By CLINT FOSTER
PALO PINTO COUNTY – Farming and ranching has left an indelible mark on the identity and history of the Lone Star State. Whether the Mexican vaqueros of the 1700s or the cowboys of the Chisholm Trail, the men and women of Texas have depended on ranchers for centuries to provide the very backbone, or at least a central part, of the Texas economy and way of life.
In many cases, farms and ranches have been passed down through generations of families, with a select few managing to stay under family operation all that time. The Warren, Ewton and Reed families of Palo Pinto County have done just that.
In November of last year, the three families were honored at the 38th Annual Family Land Heritage ceremony in the State Capitol along with the owners of 113 other farmers and ranchers – spanning 66 Texas counties – who have kept their properties up and running, exclusively by family hands, for at least 100 years.
The Warren's ranch (the McKinney-Warren Place) and the Metcalfe Ranch, belonging to the Ewtons and Reeds, received the state's highest honor from Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples. Their ranches are two of only 11 Texas ranches that have thrived for 150 years.
"Life in agriculture is never easy or simple, yet it's truly a rewarding way of life," Staples said at the event. "We face droughts, fires, floods and pests, but here in Texas, we persevere.
"Today, the land these families have nurtured has turned the Texas agriculture industry into a powerhouse of productivity that generates $100 billion in economic impact for our state. That's an accomplishment that would not be possible without the hard work of our farming and ranching families.
"I congratulate our honorees for persevering their ancestors' dream and making Texas a leader in agriculture."