Our parents grew up in small towns in East Texas during the "depression years". I will always remember Mother commenting her family did not know there was a "depression" - the farm with its garden, orchard and livestock supplied most of their needs, so life went on pretty much as usual.
Jim and I lived and worked most of our adult lives in the "big city". In many ways city life was good, but the city we grew up in had changed and not for the better. Sometimes you just have to step off that "merry-go-round" called city living and ask yourself, "Is this really where I want to be?" For us the answer was no! We wanted a different life style away from the incessant traffic, poor air quality, noise, ever increasing population, and crime. We wanted to move to the "country". Not necessarily to live as our parents had, but certainly to live a healthier life minus many of the negatives synonymous with living in the city.
A search for the "right piece of land" ultimately led us to Crockett, Texas, and what later was to become the "J Bar D Ranch". First came the hay, then honey bees, the garden and fruit trees, and the cattle. We choose to practice sustainable agriculture, not because it is "in fashion", but because it is the right thing to do for the future of our planet, the health of our livestock - and our own health.
We believe on-going education is essential to our business, so we maintain membership in state-wide organizations involving various areas of agriculture.
We have never worked so hard and never felt so proud of our achievements. We have gained an appreciation for the finer things in life - biting into a tomato picked fresh from our own garden, watching a new calf stand for the first time, listening to the wind in the pines, catching the "big one" in our own pond, to name a few.
We now have a deeper appreciation of nature in all its forms and for American farmers and ranchers as a whole! It is easy to walk into a supermarket and purchase a couple of steaks for dinner; raising the animal that produced those steaks takes a lot of planning and hard work with some good luck thrown in the mix.
The journey has been both challenging and interesting - never a "dull moment". Our family and friends have watched us transition from " city folks" to ranchers and are amazed. It just proves if you want something bad enough, work hard at it, it will happen for you!
James and Deborah Rankin, Owners
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