The R.A. Brown Ranch has been a family business since 1895 and continues to be a leader in raising top quality registered Quarter Horses and registered and commercial cattle. The ranch has received both the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Cattle Business of the Century Award and the American Quarter Horse Association / Bayer Best Remuda Award. This progressive ranch utilizes some 40,000 acres in Texas and Colorado.
A Century of Heritage
Robert Alexander Brown was a native of Virginia, born in Culpepper County, near Brandywine Station, February 22, 1833. He grew up working with cotton, cattle, horses and mules. Upon coming to Texas at age 17 he located in Galveston and was employed as a salesman in a mercantile business.
When the Civil War broke out, he returned to the family plantation in his native state and county and volunteered defending the cause of the Confederate States. He was a member of the famous Black-Horse Cavalry of Virginia under Jeb Stuart and as a soldier served with distinguished bravery in various battles defending the Confederate capitol until his capture in the Valley of the Potomac in 1864.
After the Civil War, he was released and returned to Galveston where he entered the cotton export business and became a commission merchant. These ancestors farmed cotton and traded mules back and forth from Missouri.
They later moved to Calvert, Texas where Robert Herndon (R.H.) Brown, the oldest son, was in the cattle business. Records show he sold Angus bulls in the 1890s and even sent a boat load of cattle to Cuba in 1895. R.H. Brown moved to Jack County, Texas where he had a small ranch and his son R. A. Brown was born in 1902. When the Fort Worth Stockyards opened in 1903, R.H. Brown sold the ranch and bought an interest in a cattle commission company there. That same year he started buying land in Throckmorton County.
1906 — R.H. Brown brought the first registered Hereford cattle to Throckmorton County and started selling bulls there. R.A. Brown grew up working at the Fort Worth Stockyards and during the summers worked at the ranch in Throckmorton.
1917 — At the age of 15, R. A. Brown enrolled in school at Woodson, TX so that he could stay and help at the ranch through the severe drought. Feed was scarce and cows were thin going into that extremely cold winter and cows began to die. R. A. helped skin cows (instead of going to school) and hauled wagon loads of hides to Abilene, some 60 miles away, trading them for cotton seed cake to feed the remaining cattle.
1922 — R. A. Brown, a student at Texas A&M, was a member of the collegiate polo team. He quit school to return to the ranch due to his father’s declining health and economic hardships.
1929 — R.H. Brown dies from a long bout with cancer. The Great Depression hits. The family advises R. A. to give up the ranch. Instead he got his mother and his sisters to deed their parts of the ranch to him so he could borrow enough money to save it. (He managed to get the debt paid off in the 1940’s and deeded their land back to them.)
1931 — R. A. Brown marries the former Valda Thomas whose parents were also ranchers, Mr. and Mrs. D.B. Thomas.
1934 — D. B. Thomas dies and R. A. Brown assumes management of the Thomas Ranch as well as the Brown Ranch raising commercial as well as registered Hereford cattle and selling Hereford bulls.
1936 — R. A. Brown Jr. (Rob) was born and grew up working on the ranch.
1950-57 — Ranch destocks from 900 to 125 head of cattle on 18,000 acres because of severe drought.
1957 — R. A. (Rob) Brown Jr. and Peggy Donnell marry. The Donnells, a long time ranching family, settled in neighboring Young County in 1876.
1958 — After graduating from Texas Tech Rob and Peggy return to Throckmorton to work with his parents on the ranch. Their first daughter, Betsy, was born.
1960 — Rob A. Brown was born. Rob had the foresight to start a mesquite woodchip company in Throckmorton and started marketing it for cooking to give that unique mesquite flavor.
1965 — Rob & R. A. agreed to start crossbreeding the commercial Hereford cows with Brown Swiss. A week later R. A. died from a sudden heart attack. Rob closed the wood company and took over management of the ranch.
1967 & 1969 — Marianne & Donnell Brown were born. The crossbred calves were 100 pounds heavier at weaning, but were discounted in the market place because of the brindle, gray and dun color.
1970 — Simmental took the place of Brown Swiss in the crossbreeding program which cured the color and marketing problems, while keeping the 100 pounds of additional weaning weight and also improving percentage calf crop. The herd was bred up to purebred Simmental and started selling Simmental & Simmental Hybrid bulls.
1974 — Rob serves as the 4th President of American Simmental Association.
1975 — First Bull Sale - 115 bulls averaged $578/bull. Top selling bull brought $1175.
1976 — Simbrah was added to the herd for more heat tolerance and hybrid vigor to help customers in areas needing that factor.
1981 — Betsy Brown Bellah & her husband Jody come home to the ranch to manage the accounting, the commercial cow herd and expand the wheat farming division of the family business to 5,000 acres to be used in developing the growing bulls and replacment heifers from weaning to yearling.
1987 — Red Angus was added to the program with the purchase of Roy Beeby’s entire crop of Replacement heifers. An airplane load of Senepol cattle were imported from the Virgin Islands to be used in a planned crossbreeding program to bring heat tolerance and hybrid vigor without Brahman influence. Added benefits were better dispositions, quality grade and tenderness.
1988 — The entire Greenway Angus herd (400 cows) was purchased under the advisement of Dr. Bob Long who had been consulting for them to build the Dynamo based herd. Big cows were in demand and after bringing the cows to Texas the 100 daughters of Pine Drive Big Sky were sold which almost paid for the entire herd.
1989—The composite Hotlander™ herd was started under the advisement of Dr. Keith Gregory at the Meat Animal Research Center (MARC) & Dr. Ronnie Green at Texas Tech. Angus (red & black), Simmental, Brahman and Senepol were blended to create the ultimate hybrid for hot environments.
1990 — Rob A. Brown with his wife Talley in partnership with Rob & Jody Bellah bought an interest in a commercial feedyard where feedlot and carcass data was gathered in testing of the ranch’s top sires.
1993 — R A Brown Ranch honored as the Seedstock Producer of the Year by the Beef Improvement Federation. Donnell & Kelli Brown graduate from college and come back to the ranch to help manage the seedstock business.
1995 — Rob Brown serves as President of American Quarter Horse Association. Mariane Brown McCartney and her husband Todd return to the ranch to manage one of the seedstock cow herds.
1997 — The Ranchers Renaisance (RR) alliance was born and became one of the most successful alliances throughout the next decade. RR started with a meeting at the ranch when Rob & Donnell unveiled their vision to a group of people invited from all segments of the beef industry.
1997 — Cooperator Herd program started in order to fill the growing demand for more bulls. The Brown Gardiner Angus partnership was formed to add a franchise herd of Gardiner Angus Genetics. That same year a trade was made with Jim Leachman for our pick of 17 females from his Elite Nucleus Red Angus herd in exchange for his pick of 17 head from our Quarter Horse mares and foals.
1998 — An intensive Embryo Transfer program was started to help multiply the superior RAB genetics.
1998-2000 — All cows on the ranch were dry-lotted and fed all winter, due to severe drought conditions.
1999 — R. A. Brown Ranch is one of nine ranches to be named NCBA Cattle Business of the Century and later that year, Rob was honored as the nation’s top rancher with the Golden Spur Award.
2000 — 75% of the ranch was unusable because of drought drying up drinking water supplies.
2001 — Just before the drought breaks, R. A. Brown Ranch has a mature cow herd dispersal of their Angus and Red Angus cow herds. Embryos were implanted in commercial cows to rebuild the elite nucleus herd. The new AI and Bull Development Center was also constructed.
2002 — Browns continue their intensive embryo transfer program and start selling every 3 year old 1A Red Angus female every year.
2006 — Bull sale cancelled. Over 500 bulls were sent to slaughter. All of the registered Angus cow herd was sold to Three Trees Ranch in GA. Bred heifers, weaned heifers and embryos were kept to rebuild the Angus herd.
2007 — Rob Brown honored with the Beef Improvement Federation’s Pioneer Breeder Award. The Brown family continues to pray and persevere with steadfast commitment to their customers and to do what is right continuing the legacy of the R. A. Brown Ranch.
2008 - 2010 — After six years on the National Board, Kelli Brown was elected to serve as the National President for the Red Angus Association of America.
July 5, 2009 — Casey Zboril was hired to take the reins as Ranch Foreman continuing the heritage of managing over 1000 seedstock cows at the RAB.
October 12, 2011 — The 37th Annual Bull, Female and Quarter Horse Sale was held at the ranch near Throckmorton, TX. The offering includes over 550 Bulls, 100 Registered Females and 21 Quarter Horses.
|Thank you for your interest in R.A. Brown Ranch. If you would like additional information please contact us at 940-849-0611. We love to hear from our customers, and we will be happy to help however we can.|