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Welcome to Ranch & Rural Living

Protecting Private Property Locally

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Photo by Griffin Chure of Jensen, Utah, was a Youth division entry in the 2005 Ranch & Rural Living Photo Contest.

By Dan Byfield

Published May 2010

In 2007, five courageous mayors in eastern Bell County, Texas formed the very first sub-regional planning commission utilizing Section 391 of the Texas Local Government Code as their basis to fight and stop the Tran-Texas Corridor through their five school districts.

It worked and now, the entire TTC project is flickering out like a shooting star.  

That’s the real story behind the demise of the TTC.  Through a strategy only promoted by American Stewards of Liberty, a non-profit private property rights organization located in Taylor, Texas, those five mayors initiated a process that today is revitalizing and protecting the rights of citizens in our State through an effective local control process called Coordination.

Coordination is a simple word with an extraordinarily powerful legal meaning found in both federal and state statutes that requires government agencies to “coordinate” with local government in developing and implementing plans, policies and management actions.

Photo by Kylene Harvey was an Animals and Nature category entry in the 2009 Ranch & Rural Living Photo Contest. American Stewards showed the five mayors where the important language was found in the Texas Local Government Code and they immediately formed a planning commission to take advantage of the coordination strategy.  The first meeting they called was with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDoT) to begin “coordinating” their state plans to build the Trans-Texas Corridor through their jurisdiction.  

TxDoT was not prepared for what happened next.  The five mayors, through the Eastern Central Texas Sub-Regional Planning Commission, adopted a policy that stated “No Trans-Texas Corridor shall be allowed through our jurisdiction.”  From that point, they demanded TxDoT begin coordinating their plans with their policy.  It was that simple.

Through the three coordination meetings that followed with TxDoT, the mayors discovered that TxDoT had not followed the federal environmental statutes properly.  So, they began demanding the federal agencies in charge of enforcing the federal laws force TxDoT to follow the law.  Naturally, TxDoT resisted, but the more they resisted, the more the five mayors pushed back.


Clinton Hodges Believes in Potential of Hair Sheep

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By Gary Cutrer

Wesley, left, and Clinton Hodges survey one group of their hair sheep just east of Sterling City, Texas, on a cool December day. Photos by Gary Cutrer.

Clinton Hodges believes the future of the U.S. sheep industry lies primarily in raising and marketing hair sheep. As co-founder and manager of Lamb Marketing Specialties, a cooperative involving 10 West Texas lamb producers, Hodges, based in Sterling City, Texas, has developed links to retail markets for the co-op’s lambs by forging relationships with several outlets including a slaughter plant in Fort Worth--Belgian-owned Frontier Meats.
However, because of the difficulty the cooperative has had getting a foothold in retail with their relatively small but steady supply of pooled lambs, interest from other co-op members has waned considerably.

Scott McGregor of Christoval, president of LMS, said the group has not been able to get much traction with the big retailers and distributors.

“We’ve worked diligently—I know Clinton has—he’s worked really hard,” McGregor said in a recent telephone interview. “But, if you can’t kill ‘X’ amount of meat and deliver it to HEB you can’t compete.”

Hodges’ commecial sheep are White Dorper crossed with St. Croix. Some have a little Rambouillet in them for more size. Photos by Gary Cutrer.

Though the LMS cooperative will be put in a “holding pattern,” according to McGregor, Hodges carries on. He plans to continue marketing lamb under the coop’s trade name, “Sterling Lamb,” and, provided the other members consent, will take that trade name as his own. He plans to resign as the coop’s manager and make the business part of his Hodges Ranch operation.

The Sterling brand was not chosen because of his hometown of Sterling City, Hodges says, but because the name rings with quality. He says quality is what will continue to differentiate his lamb products from competitors, especially imported lamb from Australia and New Zealand. Lamb producers down under certainly have a big supply but their lower priced lamb that floods the market and that many U.S. outlets purchase is of inferior quality, Hodges says.


Fort Concho -- Past, Present and Future

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Cory Robinson, left, and Cindy Bishop stand in front of the row of restored officers’ quarters at Fort Concho National Historic Landmark in San Angelo, Texas. Photo by Gary Cutrer. By Robert Bluthardt
Director, Fort Concho
National Historic Landmark

Published November 2009

To the many people who drive by daily on South Oakes Street just south of downtown San Angelo, Fort Concho has been here forever, and in a way, they are right. The two dozen limestone buildings that surround the currently lush Parade Ground date from the late 1860s and 1870s, and they represented the first permanent structures and settlement in the region. In the years that followed, “Santa Angela” established itself as a “whiskey and sin” village across the Concho River to separate the soldiers from their monthly pay. Over the next 22 years, the fort and the town grew and prospered together, and both underwent many changes when the U. S. Army marched away fron Fort Concho forever in June 1889.

The arrival of a railroad connection in 1888 and a second, direct rail line in 1909, helped San Angelo grow into an agricultural and ranching trade center. The old post had new occupants as civilians took up the homes that the soldiers abandoned.

The Santa Rita oil boom to the west in 1923 brought vast wealth to the city and soon the community had a new city hall, county courthouse, movie theater, hotels, office buildings, churches and a new neighborhood, appropriately named Santa Rita. Much of modern San Angelo stems from that 1923 oil strike. Meanwhile, historic preservation of Fort Concho starts in the 1920s, with the dreams and vision of Mrs. Ginevra Wood Carson, an effort that continues today nearly 90 years later.

Today, Fort Concho is considered among the best preserved frontier forts west of the Mississippi, and the long effort to save and restore it is as old as those of nationally known sites like Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia and Greenfield Village near Detroit. The fort board and staff have been guided by a simple premise to physically restore the post to its 1870s appearance, but make it serve the widest possible audience within the broadest level of public service and education. That expanded mission within the heart of a major West Texas city justifies the motto, “Not Just a Frontier Fort.”


Decent Bids Offered at TAGRA Sale

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Angora ranchers bid on fullblood hair goats at the annual Texas Angora Goat Raisers Association Sale in July. At the Texas Angora Goat Raisers Association 90th Annual Show and Sale held July 24–25 in Junction, Texas, Angora goat ranchers gathered to show their best and buy new genetics for flock improvement. The sale was dedicated to longtime Angora raiser Jack Groff. Auctioneer Mark Tillman wielded the hammer.

Champion Sale Buck, sold by Triple S Angoras, was purchased by the Pfluger Ranch, Eden , Texas, for $600.  Champion Sale Doe, owned by Bonnie and Dale Naumann, was sold to Cerulean Farm, Harrah, Okla., for $650.    

High selling doe of the sale was offered by Bonnie and Dale Naumann and sold to Alan Stieler, Rocksprings, Texas, for $700.
High selling buck of the sale was offered by Ted Smith and sold to Seco Mayfield for $625.    

The day of the TAGRA sale in Junction, Pat and Tracy Ross from Harper had for sale mohair products including knitted products and yarns. They were selling these Angora goat dolls made with mohair locks.The day of the TAGRA sale in Junction, Pat and Tracy Ross from Harper had for sale mohair products including knitted products and yarns. They were selling these Angora goat dolls made with mohair locks. In the show on Friday, July 24, the “finale class”,  Annie Auld and Bob Davis Special Award $1000 winner-take-all went to Dale and Bonnie Naumann of Spicewood, Texas. The descendants of Bob and Annie Auld Davis have sponsored this event for 10 years. The previous winners are1999—Triple S Angoras, 2000—Triple S Angoras, 2001—Cindy Sites, 2002—Cindy Sites, 2003—Dale and Bonnie Naumann, 2004—Triple S Angoras, 2005—Dale and Bonnie Naumann, 2006—Bo Evans, 2007—Dale and Bonnie Naumann, and 2008—Kim and Bonnie Turner.    

TAGRA members expressed appreciation for the Davis family support and dedication to the Angora industry as well as their show. Show and sale organizers said they would like to thank all the buyers who attended the sale and said they look forward to seeing everyone again next year.           

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 September 2009 14:56

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