Farming and ranching is a family affair for the Howard family, of Headrick. Renee’s father was a cotton farmer and Bob has continued his family’s agricultural legacy. They raise wheat and cattle on their 2,500 acre farm in Jackson county, in close proximity to where Bob’s great-grandfather homesteaded prior to statehood in 1884.
Bob takes a lot of pride in caring for his livestock. His wheat production is strictly to feed his cattle, and feed them well. His cow-calf operation includes about 200 momma cows, and when the weather permits, he runs up to 1,200 head of stockers. Due to the continuing severe drought in southwestern Oklahoma, he has only been able to take in stockers one out of the last four years. With a lack of rain, the pasture often burns up quickly, leaving little forage for the cattle to graze.
Like many of Oklahoma’s farmers and ranchers, you won’t hear him complain.
“I am lucky that I have some very good wells and most of my property lies along the river, so the cattle have continued to have access to clean water.” Bob said. “There is something so peaceful about sitting and watching them graze along the river bottom.”
The couple’s three children were raised on the family farm, and while Bob and Renee always hoped they would come back and continue production on the Howard family farm, they encouraged them to get an education and some life experience first.
“We always told them to go to college, get good jobs and then if they still wanted to come back, they would bring some good life experiences back with them. Our farm and our community benefit from their education and experience.” said Bob.
Their advice was well-received. All three of the Howards’ children graduated college and went on to become attorneys. Their two sons have now moved home to continue their legal practice, and help with the farm and ranch operations.
Bob and Renee attribute the success of their family’s farm to generations of hard work, good financial decisions, the Lord’s blessings, and some good luck along the way. And because caring for their land and cattle has been their priority, the next generation will have an opportunity to produce as well.
“This is my country and I want to make it better for the next generation and generations after that.” Bob said.
Bob recently talked with Oklahoma Farm Bureau’s Director of Corporate Communications Sam Knipp about the opportunity to expand his cattle herd. Listen here.