This past week, we witnessed the conclusion of the eight-year Obama Administration and the beginning of the Trump Administration.
It will take time for the legacy of former President Obama to congeal – as current and future historians will evaluate the man, his impact during his time in office, and his enduring influence on America.
In time, the Barack H. Obama Presidential Library and Museum will be built; statues will be erected; books and textbooks will be written, and President Obama’s place in history – both for better and worse – will be cemented.
Many people and institutions will be responsible for molding President Obama’s place in history.
Most of us, on the other hand – especially ranchers – will solely be responsible for creating our legacies – if we are to have one.
The majority of ranchers, unfortunately, toil for years, even decades, to successfully guide their properties, manage their wildlife, host family and guests, and carry on family traditions, only to have all of their efforts lost to the abyss of time and so-called “progress.”
On a macro scale, the heritage of independently owned ranching in the U.S. risks a slow slide into obscurity. Each year, we lose tens of thousands of acres of prime ranchland to encroaching urban development. The economics of scale continue to consume and consolidate independent ranches into corporate conglomerate ranches. Children who grow up on ranches move away, leaving no family members to carry on in our bootsteps.
I, for one, however, remain optimistic that while very few of us will ever have a library and museum built to honor our contributions to the American way of life, we can preserve and protect what we’ve built – individually and collectively – for many future generations.
Your Ranch Legacy
I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately to legacy. I am blessed to be a fourth-generation Texas rancher* and to be raising my children to take help take the reins of our family’s H.W. Lewis Ranch in Leakey, Texas, when they are old enough.
But even after almost 90 years in our family, I realize that the future and ongoing legacy of the H.W. Lewis Ranch needs to be carefully planned and administered, so that our family members and guests will have it to enjoy and share in 90 more years.
Some ranchers are satisfied to buy or inherit a property, work it and own it during their lifetimes, and sell it to whoever wants it, for whatever reason. I understand this and have helped many, many ranch owners find suitable buyers at an excellent price.
But other ranch owners – given the choice – would like to see their ranches and their ranching legacies outlive them for many generations to come.
I’m one of these ranchers.
If you are, too, I hope to explore with you the question of how to build a successful, enduring ranching legacy.
[Even if you are not interested in creating a ranching legacy, some of the steps that legacy-builders must take, such as creating a known “brand” for their ranches, will benefit you in your lifetime – increasing the enjoyment of your property now, and the value of your property when it comes time to sell it.]
There is a lot that I already know about ranching legacies and plenty that I still aim to discover by meeting with and questioning other experts.
In the weeks and months to come, both on this blog and on my RANCHCAST with LEM LEWIS podcast, I intend to delve into the various “bricks” that are necessary to lay a strong legacy foundation. Topics I cover will include: inheritance, trusts and foundations, taxes, regulatory, marketing, recording family histories, and – as mentioned above – marketing and promotion.
I invite you to share your experiences and questions about legacy ranching with me. Write me at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone me at 210-275-3551.
* It turns out, though I am a fourth-generation Texas rancher, I recently discovered ranching ancestors in other states, which actually makes me a sixth-generation rancher, and my children, the seventh generation. I’ll share more with you about this discovery soon.
Follow me on Twitter @theranchbroker and be sure to catch our ongoing “99 Reasons to Love Ranching” series. What are your reasons?
I have already posted two “preview” editions of my new podcast, RANCHCAST with LEM LEWIS.
Dr. Charles E. Gilliland is a noted economist with Texas A&M University’s Real Estate Center. Dr. Gilliland and I discuss what’s likely to happen to ranch land prices in 2017. Listen now at: http://tinyurl.com/RANCHCAST-01.
In another episode, Paul Francis, a successful inventor and CEO of OYO Fitness, discusses his passion for his BlackHat Ranch, located in Northeastern, Kansas. Listen now at: http://tinyurl.com/RANCHCAST-02.
Download a free digital PDF of my “Ask Lem” special report: Cedar Management in the Texas Hill Country. The 20-page, easy-to-read pamphlet addresses many of the questions ranchers face when trying to decide the best way to deal with the cedar trees that dot their properties. To get your report, simply fill out the 15-second form at http://tinyurl.com/LemLewisForm. You’ll instantly receive a link to read or download the free report.