Florida family’s century-long journey in cattle ranching is a special story of sustainability

Sustaining a legacy for over a century, the Kempfer family stands as the guardians of Florida’s resources, cattle, and consumer trust in the realm of sustainable ranching.

As the anticipation builds for the National Beef Cattlemen’s Association (NCBA) CattleCon24, we turn our spotlight to the Kempfer Family, of Florida, who have been stalwarts of the state’s beef industry for over a century.

The Kempfers have been the epitome of sustainability since they homesteaded in 1898, embarking upon a legacy that transcends generations thanks to their ability to evolve with the times in the realm of ranching. In the face of Florida’s growing population, the Kempfer Cattle Company is as much a ranch operation as it is a steward of vital resources and rural landscape —spanning 25,000 acres nestled at the headwaters of the St. John’s River.

To the operation’s current leader, Henry Kempfer, sustainability is not just a buzzword—it is simply part of his way of life.

“Sustainability means to me... staying in business and being able to keep doing what we’re doing in agriculture or any business you’re in,” reflected Kempfer.

Efficiency is the key to their lifestyle as well as their management of a 600-acre retention area, a strategic storage area for excess water for times of drought. This reservoir not only safeguards nutrients and cleans the water before it flows downstream but also reflects their conscientious approach to environmental stewardship.

“It’s our goal — that it’s actually cleaner when it leaves here if it’s coming through us or surface water coming off,” he explained.

In its 100 years of raising commercial cattle and purebred Brahman for the last 45 of those years, The Kempfer Cattle Company not only prioritizes the right breed for Florida’s unique environment but also emphasizes consumer satisfaction. Understanding the importance of consumers in their journey, they aim not only for beef that tastes good but is also raised humanely and in a way that minimally impacts the environment.

In navigating the challenges of a changing landscape, the Kemp family acknowledges the significance of alliances like the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). Facing concerns about population and regulation, they recognize the NCBA as a crucial ally in championing their rights and preserving the essence of their ranching practices.

Agriculture Shows
From soil to harvest. Top Crop is an all-new series about four of the best farmers in the world—Dan Luepkes, of Oregan, Illinois; Cory Atley, of Cedarville, Ohio; Shelby Fite, of Jackson Center, Ohio; Russell Hedrick, of Hickory, North Carolina—reveals what it takes for them to make a profitable crop. It all starts with good soil, patience, and a strong planter setup.
Champions of Rural America is a half-hour dive into the legislative priorities for Rural America. Join us as we interview members of the Congressional Western Caucus to learn about efforts in Washington to preserve agriculture and tackles the most important topics in the ag industry on Champions of Rural America!
Farm Traveler is for people who want to connect with their food and those who grow it. Thanks to direct-to-consumer businesses, agritourism, and social media, it’s now easier than ever to learn how our food is made and support local farmers. Here on the Farm Traveler, we want to connect you with businesses offering direct-to-consumer products you can try at home, agritourism sites you can visit with your family, and exciting new technologies that are changing how your food is being grown.
Featuring members of Congress, federal and state officials, ag and food leaders, farmers, and roundtable panelists for debates and discussions.
Host Ben Bailey hops in the tractor cab, giving farmers 10 minutes to answer as many questions and grab as much cash as they can for their local FFA chapter.