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From the Ground Up: The many disciplines of a Brazos Valley rancher

You need a lot more than a background in agriculture to be successful
Published: Oct. 8, 2020 at 9:44 AM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Spend a little time talking to a rancher, and you’ll realize all the different disciplines needed to be successful. Geography, science, climate, and even a little bit of history helps in the complicated profession of raising grass and the animals that eat it.

“This land, 200 years ago, was, in a lot of ways, similar to what it is now," Bobby Kurten, a rancher in Brazos County says. "It was what they call post oak savannah, it’d be a big thicket of post oak, and then there’d be open grass country all the way around and then another thicket and grass all the way around. That’s the way we’ve kept it; we haven’t destroyed the environment out here.”

Ranching comes with its own unique set of challenges. Kurten has spent most of his life perfecting the formula just for the Brazos Valley.

“We’ve got a different environment a different ecological system than they have 100 miles south of here, down on the coastal plains. You have to adapt your cattle to the spot where you are, geographically," Kurten says.

There are certain breeds that get along a little easier in the Brazos Valley.

“Around here you’ll see a lot of brahmin. [Brahmin] can take the heat and humidity and go with it. Look around in the middle of July or August, a lot of times you’ll see a black bull or Herford bull out in the tank trying to cool off, and the brahmin are mixing around and still out there."

Kurten says the way we prepare and react to the climate and its extremes is crucial for sustaining the ranching industry.

“If you don’t respect and take care of the environment out here, you’re in trouble," Kurten says. "You can’t come out here and just take away all the grass all year during the growing season and expect to have more next year. It doesn’t work that way. You have to take care of the environment that you’re in and make sure it can come back.”

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