Mason County News
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Commissioner Todd Staples Honors 78 Historic Farms and Ranches
Wednesday, July 1, 2009 • Posted July 1, 2009

Ceremony recognizes Texans who have held land in the family for generations

AUSTIN – Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples and the Texas Department of Agriculture today recognized 78 farms and ranches in 60 Texas counties at the 34th annual Family Land Heritage (FLH) ceremony. The ceremony was held in the House Chamber at the Texas State Capitol. The annual event recognizes families who have kept their farms and ranches in continuous agricultural production for more than 100 years.

“Today, these families are the breath of life for their ancestors’ dreams,” Commissioner Staples said. “The land they have nurtured, loved and cared for will forever be a part of the past, present and future of this great state.”

To date, TDA has recognized more than 4,300 properties in 235 counties across Texas. Fayette County has the most honorees to date with 145 recognized family operations. This is the first year the FLH program has recognized landowners in Parmer and Randall counties.

TDA honored one family ranch in Duval County for being in continuous agricultural production for 200 years. Ten other family operations were cited for 150 years of agricultural service in Austin, Burnet, Fannin, Guadalupe, Henderson, Hopkins, Mason, Navarro and Red River counties.

Governor Rick Perry, a former agriculture commissioner himself, joined Commissioner Staples at this year’s event to honor and thank the families for their amazing persistence and dedication to the land.

“There is nothing quite like the family farm or ranch, especially in Texas,” Governor Perry said. “These places connect us to the land, to our heritage, and to God’s creation in a way that can be hard to explain, and we are grateful to count so many sons and daughters of the land in our state’s 24 million people. I congratulate all of today’s honorees for representing the most enduring values of our state and commend you for your longevity. Congratulations on your heritage and thank you for all you do to feed our state, our nation and our world.”

Cowboy poet and entertainer Red Steagall performed at the ceremony. Ron Oliveira, KEYE TV news anchor, served as master of ceremonies.

The event was made possible thanks to sponsors including: Blue Bell Creameries; Country World News; Frito-Lay North America, Inc.; Monsanto; Sam’s Club; Texas Deer Association Foundation; Texas Disposal Systems; Texas Electric Cooperatives; Texas Farm Bureau; Texas Oil and Gas Association; Texas Restaurant Association; Time Warner Cable; XTO Energy Inc.; and Walmart.

To view the complete list of FLH properties honored this year, visit and click on the Family Land Heritage link.

Mason County

Broken S Ranch, 1883

Stephen Mutschink

Joyce Mutschink

Harold J. Geistweidt Ranch, 1858 (150-year designation)

Harold J. Geistweidt

SKT Ranch, 1882

Karen Toone

Steven Toone

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