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May 19, 2018

Family Ranching Lives On: Sisters Continuing Their Father’s Legacy

Read about one family ranching story that shows that the ag lifestyle never leaves you.

Ranching is a way of life, and many hope to pass those ranching traditions, and the ranch itself, on to the next generation. Family ranching has deep roots in many corners of the country, with generations going back as far as anyone can remember. They are roots that pull us back no matter what. Sisters Rachel and Rebecca both grew up on their family ranch in central Alabama, and both returned to the ranch and the ag way of life—in addition to other pursuits—after the untimely death of their father, Gary Bearden. Their story was shared in a Southeast FarmPress article—Rebecca is a monthly contributing writer to the publication—and you can read the details below.

Sisters Returning to Family Ranching

The ranch is unofficially referred to as the Blackjack ranch, and it has been in the family since the 1920s. According to the article, the sisters’ grandfather, Joseph Reuben Bearden, cleared the land after returning from World War I and started farming under the tutelage of his wife, the sisters’ grandmother, Mae Bearden. He farmed peaches and raised a variety of livestock, including cows, pigs, and chickens.

Both daughters went to Auburn University, and neither strayed too far from their agriculture roots. Rachel has a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science, and Rebecca has one Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Communications and another in Wildlife Science. Rebecca is currently pursing a doctoral degree in biology from the University of Alabama.

Today, the ranching traditions continue: the ranch is 970 acres total with a 200 head commercial cow-calf operation. Their cattle are primarily Angus, Brangus, Charolais, plus newly added Sim-Angus genetics. Rachel manages it full-time as she has since their father passed three years ago, and Rebecca works it part-time. Rebecca is also a full-time biologist for the Geological Survey of Alabama and a part-time contributor to Southeast FarmPress, writing about the goings-on at the ranch.

“I write because I love to tell people’s stories, particularly people in agriculture. I am biased, but I think those stories are what makes life interesting. There is a sense of purpose and fulfillment in agriculture that is unlike any I have witnessed,” Rebecca said in the article. Both writing and carrying on the ranch are ways to continue their father’s legacy, and to honor his memory. Rachel is expecting a baby in July, adding another member to carry on the traditions of family ranching.

AgAmerica Lending is proud to be a part of helping the traditions of family farms continue into the next generation. We help ag operators big and small to grow and prosper with our custom loan products, contact us today to learn more.


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