Monday, March 09, 2009

Is family ranching a thing of the past?

The future of family ranching is bleak in the eyes of one Catron County rancher who recently told me he foresees the day that such ranching will end. "The days of family ranching are over," said Ace McPhaul, 32, while sitting at the home headquarters of the Southern Cross Ranch, a ranch he's managed for three years with his wife, Timber, and two small children. Instead of belonging to families, Ace said he foresees the day when the land is taken over as investment property and "as an afterthought, put cattle on it. We'll see more and more of incorporations becoming somehow involved." "It's only by passing on ranches" that the familial history of ranching will survive, he added. "We will never be able to pay for a cattle ranch with cows," he said. Those aren't very encouraging words to hear from a man whose 3-1/2 year-old daughter, Denim Bleu, and son, Blazen Trails, 1 1/2, will be the fifth generation McPhauls in Pie Town. McPhaul's great-grandfather and his three brothers drove their cattle herd out of Texas after a bad winter, said Ace. "They wanted more trees and a little more protection," he said. They headed west and stopped in Pie Town. "When they got to Pie Town, heaven only knows why they stopped," he laughed. "We've been here ever since." The Southern Cross Ranch, a 40,000-acre or 60 section ranch, runs approximately 250 to 300 head of mostly Black Angus beef cattle. The terrain of the ranch makes it difficult to run much more then that, said Ace...Silver City Sun-News

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