Martine Ranch Cattle

From Cattle to Cotton


The Lone Star State leads the nation in total numbers of farms, ranches and livestock production. From cattle to cotton, we conserve farmland, water, and wildlife habitat by working closely with ranchers and farmers to protect Texas.

Shade Ranch

Since 1948, the Shade family has gathered at the family ranch, a productive cattle operation, just south of the town of Smithville. Grover and Sue Shade take the management of the Fayette County ranch seriously. Grover spends his days tending to their cattle and miles of electric fence, while Sue manages the vegetable, herb, and butterfly gardens surrounding the homestead.

Over time, some younger generations of the Shade family have moved away, but one thing that always brings them together is coming home to the ranch. The family knew they wanted to do something to ensure that future generations were able to enjoy and work the ranch. The Shade family made the decision to utilize a conservation easement, through a partnership with Colorado River Land Trust to allow the ranch to remain productive and intact as it is today.

In addition to the cattle operations, the Shade family uses the property for extensive recreational and wildlife activities, including fishing, hunting, and bird watching. Quail were once abundant on the ranch and the family continues to implement wildlife habitat improvement projects across the ranch to bring back this declining species. The rolling hills of native grasses and oak trees provide habitat for other native wildlife including the white-tailed deer and Rio Grande wild turkey. The freshwater lakes on the property provide significant habitat for fish and duck species.

As the population in Fayette County increases and open spaces are converted to other uses, Shade Ranch will protect the wildlife and water in the Colorado River valley. By partnering with Colorado River Land Trust, Grover and Sue Shade were able to tailor their conservation easement specifically to their goals for the ranch while ensuring the family property will be there for future generations.

Vacek Farm Water

Vacek Family Farm

Just outside the town of Muldoon sits a historic piece of Texas — the Vacek Family Farm. George and Mary Vacek founded their Fayette County farmstead in 1899, and the family has been actively farming it ever since. 

The original farmhouse was built on the property in the 1930s and still stands at the center of the farm today. The Vaceks were known for growing cotton, peanuts, and hay and raising turkeys and cattle, but today, the family focuses on cattle ranching. Throughout its productive history, from the land the cattle graze to the creeks that feed into the Colorado River, the family saw the need to protect its special piece of Texas. In 2016 the farm was recognized as a Texas Historic Farm by the Texas Department of Agriculture. 

The Vaceks determined the best way to ensure their family farm and its history were protected was through a conservation easement in partnership with Colorado River Land Trust. To the Vacek family, preserving the heritage and legacy of the property meant the farm needed to be permanently protected while ensuring its continued viability for agriculture and enjoyment by the entire family.

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