Deep Roots Meat, LLC – Harold and Troy Platt, Owners/Land Managers
Deep Roots Meat, LLC, is a family owned and operated agricultural business located in Greenville and Madison, Florida. This North Florida ranch has raised Angus cattle for six generations. Harold and Troy Platt are the present managers of this diverse operation. They currently have 3800+ acres on the Greenville property, while the Madison property is 380 acres with 160 acres being used as a hay field. Cattle graze on several forages including: peas, millet, sudan grass, rye, and oats. The ranch is a grass-fed beef operation that uses an all forage label for beef production. This label carries with it a strict adherence for not using supplements, such as soy pellets. Deep Roots Meat also has all natural range fed chickens. These chickens are not only used as part of the nutrient cycle on the ranch, but also produce another source of revenue.
Deep Roots Meat, LLC, has won several other awards for their environmental conservation and ingenuity including, The County Alliance for Responsible Stewardship (CARES) Award for Outstanding Environmental Stewardship. Troy Platt also spoke at the 4th National Conference on Grazing Lands in Reno, NV, in 2009. They are looking forward to the future challenges and rewards associated with agricultural life in Florida.
The Florida Grazing Lands Coalition (FGLC) and the Florida Section of the Society for Range Management (SRM) presented Deep Roots Meat, LLC, with the third annual Grazing Lands Stewardship Award on October 20, 2011. This award recognizes contributions to the ranching community in the areas of grazing and wildlife management
Treasure Hammock Ranch – Sean Sexton, Owner/Land Manager
Sean Sexton, and wife Sharon, manage the family owned and operated Treasure Hammock Ranch near Vero Beach, FL. The Ranch, diversified into a commercial cow-calf and seedstock operation, is home to approximately 300 head of Angus-Brahman cattle. The Ranch sits on 610-acres of land, which consists of open pasture, freshwater wetlands, and hardwoods. In 1957, Treasure Hammock Ranch entered into a Conservation Plan with the Soil Conservation Service and in 2006-2007, the Ranch was nominated and earned the Cooperator of the Year designation from the Natural Resource Conservation Service. It is also the first property in the State of Florida to receive a conservation easement specifically designed to protect agriculture.
Not only does Sean manage the Ranch, but he is also a wonderfully talented artist. Sexton divides his time between painting, writing and taking care of the Ranch. He carries a sketch-journal with him at all times and a friend has described him as “constantly learning, always taking things in”. His work, spans over 25 years and has been included in exhibitions at the Gulf Coast Museum of Art in Largo, Florida and Creadle School of Art in Winter Park, Florida, and the Crisp-Ellert Art Museum at Flagler College, among others. He received a Florida Individual Artists Fellowship in 2000.
Strickland Ranch – Jim Strickland, Owner/Land Manager
A fourth generation Florida cattleman, Jim Strickland started his cattle operation in 1970 in Manatee County and has ranched primarily on leased land since 1973. He and his wife Renee’ currently run a commercial Brangus cow/calf operation and a small herd of “cracker cattle”. In addition to their cattle ranch, the Strickland’s own and operate an international livestock and agricultural products exporting company, Strickland Ranch & Exports, Inc. Jim believes, “We’re going to have to change the way we do business; agriculture is not a dying industry. It’s changing. It may be getting smaller, but in a lot of cases, it’s getting better, a little more intense.”
The Strickland’s ranch is the first in Florida to exchange development rights on owned lands for a long term grazing lease on Water Management District lands.
Jim has been a member of the Florida Cattlemen’s Association (FCA) since 1973 and is presently the President. He also sits on numerous advisory boards related to agriculture in Southwest Florida including the University of Florida/Ona Cattle Research Advisory Board, Farm Bureau Board of Directors for Manatee County, Manatee County Cattlemen’s Association Board of Directors, the Southwest Florida Water Management District Agriculture Advisory Board and the Florida Grazing Lands Coalition. Jim feels that “If all in Florida ranching have the same message, but from different angles, we all win.”
Adams Ranch – Mike Adams, Owner/Land Manager
Mike Adams is the president of Adams Ranch. The Adams Ranch, founded in 1937, is a fourth generation cattle business. Family ownership has given them the opportunity to operate, manage and improve the ranch with a long-term vision rather than for short-term profit. The family business, headquartered in Fort Pierce, Florida, has grown to be the fifteenth largest cow-calf ranch in the nation. The Adams Ranch is dedicated to a program of total ranch management. They adapt the cattle to fit the land, the climate, the insects, and the feed that are produced on it. Care is taken to preserve the natural habitat for wildlife. Nature’s balance is used to control problems, by doing this the soil, air, and water quality are preserved.
From our Nation’s beginnings, cattle ranches have been a vital and integral part of its economy and ecosystem. They produce food for human consumption, taxes to support roads and schools and government, and a protected refuge for many kinds of wildlife. Their open range provides the greenbelts so essential to balance the pollution and environmental contamination brought by our expanding urban areas. Cattlemen need to maintain a positive relationship with the community at large. Adams Ranch is an industry leader because of their focus on education and their role in protecting the environment.
The Adams Ranch family values and understands the ecological relationship between the natural environment and their livestock enterprise. This total ranch management approach has won numerous awards for environmental stewardship. Farmers and ranchers help to preserve the environment while at the same time guarantee a sustainable food supply. As Alto “Bud” Adams, Jr said, “We have a total program that keeps man, cattle, wildlife, and the land in a relationship that is profitable, productive and can be continued indefinitely.”
Norma Tillman, Owner/Land Manager
Norma Tillman, from White Springs, FL is starting her second career as a goat and herb farmer retiring from a career in education. Norma has quickly become a leader and inspiration to Small Farmers and to the Goat Industry. Ms. Tillman has worked with Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in getting started in a grazing plan and assistance through Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) to improve her farm to provide water, fencing and re-seeding of her pastures.
Ms. Tillman has been an active and inspiring member of Florida Grazing Lands Coalition (FGLC). Ms. Tillman is implementing demonstration/testing area for different cool season and warm season perennial/annual forages. These demonstration and field days will help small farmers utilize and maintain a sustainable grazing system. It is through the dedication of farmers like Ms. Tillman who contributes to the success in various communities by ensuring that all land users are informed and given the opportunities to succeed. “With small farmers, everything is possible.”
Buzz & Becce Eaves, Owners/Land Managers
Buzz & Becce Eaves operate a cow-calf operation in Saint Lucie County, FL. Becce’s family came to the county in late 1800’s and were cattlemen long before there were fences. Buzz spent his business career restructuring and building businesses throughout North America. They returned to Florida in 2002 and set about to build a cow-calf operation that met their criteria.
- The operation must be environmentally friendly.
- It must conform to the land.
- It must require minimum labor.
- It must be run as a “low cost producer”
- Finally and most importantly it must provide a safe, low stress, and healthy environment for the animals.
With help from UF/IFAS and USDA and a lot of research they were able to meet all of the criteria.
Pat Pfeil, Owner/Land Manager
Pat Pfeil wears many hats, loving wife, mother, grandmother, cattle manager, and leader in grazing management and environmental issues. Pat is the cattle manager, supporter of rangelands and science and through her leadership the 2×4 Ranch is a past winner of the Region II Environmental Stewardship Award from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
Pat has developed a reputation of her management style for diversification and environmental stewardship. She has been successful in balancing three things: economic viability, wildlife and regulatory obligations. Her attention to detail is seen in her grazing management.
Pat has learned that maximum production in a cow herd may not mean maximum profit and that “more is not always better”. She has found that being a low-input producer means “finding the balance that your natural resources will support”
Pat and her husband Brady have managed Carlton Family properties over the past 25 years with long-term economic and environmental sustainability as their goal. Wildlife, citrus groves and cattle flourish on these lands dispelling public perception that you can’t have production agriculture and a healthy wildlife population. She finds every opportunity to interact and covey her message, that sound grazing management enhances the lands environmental sustainability and the land owner’s financial sustainability.
Pat’s work does not stop with professionals, she is also involved with projects to educate children (the future) on agricultural. Her efforts have resulted in the improvement of AG in the Classroom activities in Florida. She is also underway with a grazing competition program with high school students to compete at a state level. A project through FGLC‘s goal for education and outreach.
Pat is on the National steering committee of the Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative (GLCI). In this Pat ensures the needs of Florida’s Grazing Land managers are considered by the committee. Through her efforts and the efforts of FGLC additional specialists have been provided through NRCS to help with technical assistance to private grazing landowners throughout the state.