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Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller Honors Texas Farm and Ranch Families at 42nd Annual Family Land Heritage Ceremony (11/7/2017)

64 historic farms and ranches from 51 counties honored for their agricultural heritage

AUSTIN – In a celebration of agriculture and family heritage, Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller and the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) honored 64 farms and ranches spanning 51 Texas counties at the 42nd Annual Family Land Heritage (FLH) ceremony at the Texas State Capitol today. The ceremony, held in the historic House Chamber, recognizes Texas families who have kept their farms and ranches in continuous agricultural production for 100 years or more.


“Every Texan living today owes a debt of gratitude to the generations of Texas farmers and ranchers who have kept our agricultural heritage alive,” Commissioner Miller said. “Today, we honor these hard-working men and women and their families as the true heroes of Texas agriculture. For a century or more, these families have raised the livestock, plowed the land and harvested the crops that make the Lone Star State what it is today. It is because of them that Texas is the last best place. May God continue to bless them and the wonderful legacy they leave behind.”


Joining Commissioner Miller today was legendary rodeo announcer Bob Tallman as master of ceremonies. Cowboy poet and entertainer Red Steagall provided his trademark wit and musical accompaniment.


With each historic farm or ranch comes a story about its establishment and how the land has passed through the generations. For example, Dave Young, founder of the Dave Young Estate in Van Zandt County, was a freed slave who arrived in the United States on a slave ship. His son and grandson grew corn, cotton and sugar cane on the land he purchased. Today, the agricultural mainstay of the property is cattle and corn.


Joseph Smith, an Irish immigrant who served for the Texas 3rd Cavalry in the Confederacy during the War Between the States, purchased his ranch in 1889; he grew corn, cotton, sorghum and sugar cane.  


Friedric Pantermuehl sailed to America from Germany in 1850, arriving in Indianola. He purchased 480 acres and raised cotton, corn, oats, cattle and horses.  The ranch passed to his youngest daughter, Pauline, and her husband, Hugo Halm. Today, the Halm Ranch produces cattle and hay.


Among the families honored today are four who represent properties that have been in continuous agricultural production for 150 years or more, including:

  • Halm Ranch in Comal County (Founded 1865)
  • Der Arnold Platz in Dewitt County (Founded 1867)
  • Spring Ranch in Gonzalez County (Founded 1867)
  • Brown Ranch in Lavaca County (Founded 1855)


With the generous support of our sponsors, no taxpayer dollars were used for the Family Land Heritage event. Sponsors include:

  • Ag Workers Insurance
  • McCoy’s Building Supply
  • Capital Farm Credit
  • Brookshire Brothers
  • Texas Corn Producers
  • Texas Cotton Producers, Inc
  • Ranching Heritage Association
  • EarthMoving Contractors Association of Texas
  • Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association
  • Texas Poultry Federation
  • Austin County Historical Association
  • Blue Bell Ice Cream
  • Texas Tea
  • Freytag’s Florist


For those interested in applying for recognition in next year's Family Land Heritage program, please contact the Texas Department of Agriculture or visit our website at 



Contact: Mark Dallas Loeffler

(512) 475-1669


*Videos and photographs from this year’s event are available on request.


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