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AUSTIN –In a celebration of agriculture and family heritage, Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller and the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) honored 54 farms and ranches spanning 46 Texas counties at the 46th Annual Family Land Heritage (FLH) ceremony at the State Capitol on November 3, 2021. 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.”
Commissioner Miller was joined by 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.
Among the families honored, we have three families from Jim Hogg County who trace their heritage back to the same founder and who have been in continuous agricultural production for 200 years or more.

These three historic ranches were once part of a large 17,713-acre Mexican land grant named “El Peyote”, which was founded by Santiago Vela Cuellar in 1820. Santiago’s descendants showed great courage, perseverance, and determination when faced with the challenges of land ownership in the new Texas Republic during the 1800's. Their ability to endure difficult conditions allowed the family to continue the ranching tradition that is proudly enjoyed by the family today. Seven generations of Vela descendants continue to work on the land and honor the proud family legacy and ranching heritage.

With the generous support of our sponsors, no taxpayer dollars were used for the Family Land Heritage event. Sponsors include:
• Cavender's
• Kreuz Market
• The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company
• Cornerstone Government Affairs
• Hargrove Insurance
• Capital Farm Credit
• Earthmoving Contractors Association of Texas
• McCoy's Building Supply
• Texas and Southwest Cattle Raisers Association
• Texas Farm Bureau
• Ranching Heritage Association
• Texas Pecan Growers
• Wild Hive
• Superior Livestock Auction
• Texas Ag Workers Insurance
• Texas Poultry Federation
• Texas Peanut Producers Board
• The Cowboy Perspective
• Bamert Seed
• Blue Bell

This year, Commissioner Miller recognized the 2020 “Texas Sunset” quilt block competition winners at the Family Land Heritage Ceremony. Participating quilters created patterns from a selection of natural fibers and the Texas Department of Agriculture asked quilters to include one special piece of cotton fabric that personally represents family, history, or heritage. The winning blocks have been pieced together into a beautiful quilt.

“Each year we host the quilt competition, the submissions continue to amaze me,” Commissioner Miller said. “These folks spend countless hours hand-crafting beautiful quilt blocks showcasing Texas agriculture and just when you think the designs can’t get any better- they do!”

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 2022 Family Land Heritage program, please contact the Texas Department of Agriculture.

Media Contacts
Communications Director
Reb Wayne

(512) 475-1669

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