A Legacy Grows: Fifth-gen Texas ranch family nurtures their land & livestock with a spirit of innovation

The Clark Family, of Brownwood, Texas, are finalists for the state’s Young Farmers & Ranchers award. Known for cultivating a thriving ranching operation across five generations, the current steward, Jay, is doing so with an ever-growing commitment to regenerative practices.

In Brownwood, Texas, The Clark Family is cultivating a thriving ranching operation as well as nurturing a deep commitment to regenerative practices. As finalists in the Texas Outstanding Young Farmer & Rancher Contest, Jay and Francie Clark are sharing their story, which unfolds as a testament to five generations of ranching heritage.

The Clarks have left an indelible mark on the Texas ranching scene since 1903. Jay, born and raised in these pastures, is the current steward of this legacy. As he carries it forward, he is taking their traditional beef cattle operation on a journey that embraces diversification.

For a Dallas native with no agricultural background, the move to Brownwood marked the beginning of a profound connection to ranch life for Jay’s wife, Francie. A month after her arrival to town, the couple met and were married the following year. Together, they manage the ranch and raise their three children.

The Clark Family, known for their innovative spirit, has continued to expand their horizons beyond traditional ranching over the years. Jay has spearheaded this new direction for his family operation with a series of bold moves that have all proved to be success.

In 2020, they opened an event venue on the family ranch, offering a unique blend of overnight stays and special events, providing a source of income and a platform to connect with the wider community. The following year, he transformed their old backgrounding yard into a fully operational feedlot. This expansion reflects a dynamic approach to ranching, adapting to the evolving landscape of agriculture.

Recognizing the importance of sustainable practices, the family also implemented regenerative ranching methods. The positive impact on soil health, forage quality, and livestock well-being became evident, showcasing their commitment to holistic land management.

As the family reflects on the changing landscape of their ranch and the evolving community around them, they acknowledge the growing interest in understanding the sources of food, fiber, and fuel. They see it as their responsibility to be stewards worthy of the land and bridge the gap, helping the community reconnect with agriculture.

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