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June 27, 2019

Life of a Texas Cattle Rancher

John Bezner the cattle rancher behind 3B Farms’ livestock operation shares his story and dreams of creating a future for the next generation.

This past March, we shared the heartwarming story of Lanny and Rita Bezner, owners of 3B Farms in Dalhart, Texas. Their story began in 1969, after purchasing their first parcel of land from a local lawyer in town. With great determination, they have spent the last half of a century working hard and scaling their operation to more than 16,000 acres. Among their many fields, there are plenty of wheat, watermelon, and corn crops thriving on their land, but it’s their remarkable cattle operation with more than 8,500 head of cattle that keeps John Bezner busy from dawn to dusk.

Growing up on the family farm, John Bezner, Lanny and Rita’s son and head of the cattle division, realized early on that his place within the family operation was outside with the livestock. He started his career on the farm at age 11 driving the tractor, and by age 12 he was plowing fields. John is no stranger to what many call “farm strong”. As he explains, “farming, and I hear this a lot when I talk to my friends that are in town, and especially when we’re talking about hiring people and their expectations of hiring people. They really like the kids from the rural environment. The biggest reason is their work ethic. Not that people in town don’t have a work ethic, but people out here in the country don’t have a choice. You don’t go home until all the cattle are fed. The crops have to be watered. There’s just no choice. It has to be done. Whatever time that it takes to get that task accomplished, that’s what you have to do!”

In the second video of The Sandy Country series, John shares his thoughts on cattle ranching and why the nation’s consumers are always at the forefront of his mind when it comes to caring for his livestock. Watch a preview of the video below for a glimpse into the day-to-day operations at 3B Farms and learn how the Bezner family’s cattle operation has adapted to the changing agricultural industry.

Weathering the Obstacles of Farming

As John’s father Lanny says, you must ride the waves of farming. Farmers face some of the largest obstacles in the world, many of which are influenced by uncontrollable factors including climate, government, farm labor shortages, etc. The Bezner family has seen their share of challenges throughout the years. According to John, “there’s always tough times. We’ve been through some rough weather events – hailstorms that have taken ten circles of corn out. You’ve got to have some good partners on your financial side to help you get through those things. For the most part, everything’s worked. We’ve been through some market’s ups and downs. It’s just part of it.”

Weathering through the challenges is something John believes is either in a person or it’s not. Each day he saddles up and hits the ranch because he loves his work and knows that the world’s consumers depend on farmers and ranchers like him.

How Cattle Farmers Are Preparing for the Global Food Demand

“Somebody’s going to have to grow your corn on the cob, and somebody’s going to have to grow your watermelons. Somebody’s going to have to grow your steaks. We’re thinking about that every day, how we’re going to be more efficient, how we’re going to get more production from the same amount of land or less. That’s why we’re out here doing what we’re doing, trying to take care of everybody.”

The growing population has placed a significant demand on farmers and ranchers to become more efficient in their operations. The journal of Bioscience has estimated that food production will need to increase by 25 to 70 percent by 2050 in order to sustain the world’s growing population. John suggests that farmers will need to adopt new agriculture technology that improves forecasting and increases their production rates across the farm. Although, he warns that the biggest obstacle for many farm operators will be making sensible decisions and scaling their farm operations for maximum return on the equipment and technology.

“Part of that efficiency comes in size and scale. For example, a combine that costs $500,000, you can’t put that across 100 acres and expect to ever make any money out of the deal. I mean, you have to put it across thousands of acres to be able to justify that piece of equipment.”

Leaving a Good Legacy in Cattle Ranching

Coming from a multi-generational family farm, John dreams of passing the land he loves on to the next generation of family farmers. For him, farming is more than a job, a business, or an industry, it is a way of life that supports people across the world.

“I hope that they know or at least think that I treated everybody fair and did the best that I could with the resources that we have, that I was hardworking, honest, tended the herd, took care of them when it rained, and took care of them when it snowed.”

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