Farmer and rancher Dean Myers got an early education in the business growing up on this family’s farm in Knox County, near Gilliand, Texas, during the Great Depression. He learned how to work hard and the benefits of caring for the land and treating its resources carefully.

As a young six-year-old boy, Myers would drive a team of horses plowing wheat and cotton fields, and dream of one day owning his own place. After serving in the U.S. Army in Germany, he returned home and made that dream a reality. He started his first farming and ranching operation in 1965 with his eldest brother.  The partnership managed about 700 acres of wheat and they ran around 400 head of stocker feeder cattle and 50 pairs of cows and calves on permanent pasture.

The land was thick with brush, primarily mesquite and shinnery.  Myers grubbed the invasive brush and literally wore out a bulldozer.  The acres of cleared brush and newly sprigged grass promoted the green, healthy pastures he had envisioned for his land. It was some of the best improvement efforts Myers would accomplish over the next 48 years.

By 1973, Myers owned and managed his own farming and ranching operation in Baylor County near Seymour, Texas. The Walking M Ranch had upwards of 900 acres and almost 400 head of stocker cattle.

 

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With a desire to make the land better than he found it, he applied quality conservation practices on sandy land to improve grasses, grazing and water sources.  Myers initially requested technical and financial assistance from the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), known at the time as the Soil Conservation Service, to install livestock pipelines and water storage facilities and to establish Coastal Bermuda grass, all through the agency’s Great Plains Conservation Program.

Between 1991 and 2011, the Walking M Ranch transitioned to a cow/calf operation and upgraded its crossbred cattle, breeding black crossbred cows with registered Black Angus bulls. With the conservation practices he had implemented, he was also capitalizing on increased wildlife from improved habitat.