From the Ground Up: Seven generations of ranching and counting

Published: Feb. 11, 2022 at 11:04 AM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - When it comes to a family business, you may or may not have a choice to continue in your parents’ footsteps. Nowhere is that more true than in agriculture. But when a child chooses to follow their parents, that bond can be as strong as ever.

For more than six generations, a ranch in Walker County has been a family affair. Ann Morgan Christian grew to love the family business.

“We knew when you got woke up in the morning what your day was going to be. Was it going to be working cattle, or in the hay field, or checking on cattle, or feeding. I don’t guess I was ever given a choice, but if I had been, this would’ve been my choice,” said Ann Morgan in an interview in 2012.

“I kind of look at this old land like a family heirloom. You know you keep it, you treasure it, and hope the next generation does the same. It’s pretty emotional, bit it’s a struggle,” she remarked on the future, expressing uncertainty and a little concern about what her legacy would be.

“Mother Nature can be really be an old biddy sometimes, and not be good to us,” she said.

“Mother Nature is a biddy, as my mom used to say,” Kelsey Christian echoes the words of her mother from years back. “You take the swings with the punches, the ups with the downs, and just keep going.”

Kelsey and Colt, Ann Morgan’s children, have assumed leadership at the family ranch.

“We didn’t know anything else,” says Colt. “Our friends played baseball, soccer, we played with cows. we didn’t know anything else, it was the greatest thing ever. They had to go to work, and we got to go to the ranch.”

A strong work ethic - instilled by their mother and grandparents - helped take their family ranch into modern times.

“Colt and I have incorporated a lot of modern technology into the operation, and continue to grow cow/calf based on genetics,” says Kelsey. The two have even thought ahead to the next generation, establishing their own foundation. “[We] educate youth in urban agriculture, and try to give them an opportunity to come and see a live working ranch and grow that legacy for generations to come, even after we’re gone.”

The two expressed the same concern of leaving a legacy, and ensuring their love of agriculture would live on to the next generation.

“Mom said she wasn’t given a choice,” says Kelsey. “I feel like colt and I were always given a choice, because education was very important to mom. She gave us every opportunity to get the education, and a world of experiences to make that choice, and go somewhere else. But I wouldn’t change a thing. This is life as we know it.”

Ann Morgan’s words still echo in her children’s minds in their every day work.

“Looking out that front window, seeing those cows, that’ll put a smile on my face every day,” Ann Morgan said back in 2012.

A smile seven generations old, and counting.

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