September Rancher Spotlight: Taylor-Made Ranch
This month’s Spotlight should have been titled, “Ahead of the Curve.” We visit with Stacy and Tammy Taylor of Taylor-Made Ranch, located near the big little town of Wolfe City in Hunt County, Texas. Bet you didn’t know that Hunt County is made up of over 5 % water. I learned that when I had to MapQuest, Wolfe City. The 1.5 square mile town is just north of Greenville, Texas at the intersections of state highways 34 and 11. Tammy states they used their last name to spin off the phrase “tailor-made”, and since they started the ranch themselves she says the ranch really is “Taylor-Made” for them.
The ranch was started in May of 2000 when the Taylor’s were looking for land and found their paradise in that little northeast corner of Texas. They fell in love with an original 1880’s barn that was still standing (the Taylor’s add “barely”) on the property. They refurbished the exterior, leaving the exterior wood to age a year before sealing to retain that old-age “patina” style. They left the interior untouched and it adds to the barn’s grandiose appearance, but still remains as an integral part of the ranch operations today.
Around the makings of the barn, the Taylor’s built an extraordinary Hereford cow-calf operation that averages 25-30 mama cows at any given time, plus a few extra’s when they are flush with spring grass. The original ranch was founded on ninety-one acres, but through the years has expanded to one-hundred and fifty acres today.
Stacy and Tammy are the only workers on the ranch. (Who gets the blame when a gate gets left opened?) Ranching small-scale enables them to be very hands on with their animals. The Taylor’s are able to walk among their animals daily, which allows for the animals to know and trust them as their caregivers.
When the Taylor’s started the ranch, they did something that very few of us in our industry do, and that’s find a mentor! Bravo to them for thinking outside the box. Taylor-Made knew they liked the look of Hereford cattle and with the help of their mentor they soon bought their first registered pairs from a local breeder. Plus, Stacy liked the “old-time” look of those beautiful Herefords seen in the old western movies. Taylor-Made is also our first ranch that we’ve featured who blogs about their adventures. You can read about their first Hereford pairs they bought at http://taylormaderanch.com/blog/the-story-of-taylor-made-ranch/.
Taylor-Made love their Hereford’s mothering instincts and ability to produce nice stocky calves that are desired by their customers. But, their most favorable reason to raise Hereford’s is their calm demeanor, especially being a 2 person outfit! Tammy adds, “We have no place for highly-excitable animals which are bound to hurt themselves or their handlers, and can be damaging to equipment and fences. Hereford’s are typically very calm animals-I like that!”
What has the ranch learned in its 14 year history? You can find the answer in Tammy’s blog http://taylormaderanch.com/blog/why-not-do-it-right-the-first-time/ . I think it’s a lesson we all learn at some point in time. The Taylor’s believe, “Good immunizations are a MUST and when we bring an animal onto our ranch, even if the previous owner tells us the dates of administration and the name of the immunization, we’ll still immunize ourselves.” Taylor-Made lost a couple of calves that they had purchased and were assured by the previous owner to be vaccinated, only to find out after an onsite expensive veterinarian necropsy of the dead calves that they were not properly vaccinated. Again, I think its commendable how they learned from their mistake, and are willing to share it so that others may not suffer the same fate.
Taylor-Made Ranch raises registered Herefords for private treaty sale. They strive to perfect their genetics like any good seed-stock producer, and do so by their own registered Hereford bull, “TMR Pride”. In addition, they introduce favorable traits from leading sires by utilizing artificial insemination (AI). The ranch also helps out their neighbors and other local ranches by performing AI services as Stacy is a certified AI technician.
If the Taylor’s could make a point to someone with a non-agricultural background, it would be to, “Go Slow!” Tammy says, “The most important thing to remember-GO SLOW, and learn from your mistakes because mistakes are not bad, they’re an opportunity to learn and grow.” Stacy and Tammy started the ranch as individuals from non-agricultural backgrounds. They used their corporate salaries in those first days starting out to help them through the learning curve. The full time income enabled them to take it slow and ease into their operations as they built fences, obtained equipment and tractors, and bought cattle.
The ranch’s biggest fear is the weather. (Stated like true cattlemen.) Taylor-Made Ranch survived three years of consecutive drought while a lot of other ranches went out of business. The Taylor’s know there is nothing you can do about Mother Nature, but it doesn’t mean you still can’t be prepared. Again, they show their maturity by incorporating rotational grazing to utilize more of their grass, planting winter grasses for cold foraging, and always knowing their proper stocking rate.
However, the trials are worth the tribulations especially during calving season. The Taylor’s get their greatest joy from the births of the new calves and experiencing them taking their very first breaths of life. Tammy says, “Man, there’s nothing like witnessing that!”
Tammy shares their life on the ranch in her blog: www.taylormaderanch.com/blog. We seriously suggest you peruse her take on ranching endeavors, home cooking, gardening, and how they look at life on this Earth.
Like we said, the Taylor’s are truly a 21st century operation with old-school appeal. From thinking outside the box, to sharing their mistakes, and helping others learn best practices they are the epitome of how to lead by example. The Taylor’s in their own way are helping to make an already fantastic breed of cattle to be even better by being “Taylor-Made!”
You can also find Taylor-Made Ranch at the following links:
Until the next time our paths cross, may your waters be clear and cool and your grasses belly high!