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Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller Honors Texas Farm and Ranch Families at 44th Annual Family Land Heritage Ceremony (10/30/2019)

AUSTIN – In a celebration of agriculture and family heritage, Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller and the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) honored 58 farms and ranches spanning 38 Texas counties at the 44th Annual Family Land Heritage (FLH) ceremony at the 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 renowned rodeo announcer Terry Starnes 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 the Callendar Ranch was founded in 1835 by Ignatius Simes. 

Simes came to Texas in the early 1820’s from Louisiana and was granted a league of land prior to 1828. Ignatius obtained clear title to holdings in 1835. He and his wife, Nancy Early, had seven children: Richard, Nancy, Mary Anne, Mary Jane, Adiline, William and John. The family raised cotton and cattle until Ignatius’ passing in 1856.

Ignatius sold a parcel of land to his son-in-law, Jeremiah B. Callender, who was married to Mary Anne. J.B. and Mary Anne had four daughters and two sons. J.B. was a successful farmer and raiser of livestock until his death in 1870.

One of J.B. and Mary Anne’s son, John I., limited his education and took on a big part of responsibility due to the passing of his father at an early age. John married Camilla Pyle in November 1892 and they had five children. The family raised cattle and farmed in the community that had become known as “Stone.” John also started a store in the community. John passed away January 1931.

John and Camilla’s son, Joe Eagle, was born in 1896 and married Maria Midkoff on Christmas Eve 1916. They had one son, Richard Lynn, and continued to farm and raise livestock. Richard Lynn preceded his parent’s death in December 1969. The Callender farm was then passed to Richard’s son, Roger Lee, upon the death of his grandpa, Joe Eagle, in 1971. Roger continues to raise horses, cattle and hay to this day.

Among the families honored today are seven who represent properties that have been in continuous agricultural production for 150 years or more, including:
Cooke Farms in Ellis County (Founded 1856)

Albrecht Ranch in Goliad County (Founded 1868)

BJR Cattle Company in Goliad County (Founded 1868)

F. Wayne Albrecht Ranch in Goliad County (Founded 1868)

Callender Ranch in Grimes County (Founded 1835)

Schumacher Ranch in Kerr County (Founded 1864)

Reuben & Doris Geistweidt Ranch in Mason County (Founded 1866)

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

The Scotts Company

Capital Farm Credit

Earthmoving Contractors Association

McCoy's Building Supply

Texas and Southwest Cattle Raisers Association

Texas Farm Bureau

AgWorkers Insurance

Texas Poultry Federation

Ranching Heritage Association

South Texans' Property Rights Association

Texas Corn Producers

Texas Cotton Producers, Inc.
TFP Nutrition

Austin County Historical Commission

Blue Bell

Freytag's Florist

For updated lists and maps of this year's properties, please visit our Family Land Heritage page.

For those interested in applying for recognition in the 2020 Family Land Heritage program, please contact the Texas Department of Agriculture or visit our website at 



Contact: Maddison Jaureguito

(512) 463-7899


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


More TDA press releases are available at

Media Contacts

Director, Communications
Maddison Jaureguito

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