These Ranchers and Farmers May Bend,
But They Won’t Break
The very heart and soul of America and what makes our country great has been on display in rural Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and Colorado since early March of this year.
That’s when a massive series of wildfires swept through more than 1,000 square miles of ranchlands and farmlands, leaving devastation that to those on the ground must have appeared a lot like the blast of a nuclear bomb.
“I’ve never seen anything like it. It was throwing fireballs. It was mean, ugly. It was loud,” Gena Kirk, owner of the Kirk Ranch in Clark County, Kansas, told Harvest Public Media.
In Clark County alone, 85% of the land was scorched. The fire spread so rapidly, by some estimates consuming everything in its path at speeds of as much as 70 miles an hour, that ranchers had little opportunity to save any of their livestock and only by divine providence did all but seven people manage to save their own lives.
If Money Were No Object….
Whether your ranch is 100 acres on the outskirts of Austin or 100,000 acres in the Texas Panhandle, chances are good you value the land and all the lifestyle blessings that it provides.
When it comes to the love of ranching, size truly doesn’t matter. Many of the ranch owners I know tell me the most important characteristic of their estate is not its number of acres; it is the heritage and the legacy they can pass forward to future generations.
The H.W. Lewis Ranch, which has been in the Lewis family since the late 1920s, is about 5,000 acres – pretty much average in size by Texas standards. But the central role that the ranch has played in our extended family for nearly 90 years is HUGE. Our ranch isn’t the largest, it isn’t the most scenic, it doesn’t have the best hunting or wildlife, and its market value isn’t at the top of the charts in Texas. But me, my wife, my kids, my parents, and all my aunts, uncles, and cousins couldn’t love it more.
What recently started me thinking about all of this is an article I read last month by Elizabeth Abrahamsen on the website, Wide Open Country, titled, “10 Biggest Ranches in Texas.”
Jay and Janet Gubert Run a ‘Silicon Valley’ Tech
Company From Their Ranch in Southeast Texas
It’s nearly 1,900 miles from Silicon Valley to rural East Bernard, Texas – population 2,272 …. not counting cattle.
Just a few miles from East Bernard is where you’ll find ranchers Jay and Janet Gubert, who like their neighbors, tend to the animals, pack hay, fix fences, and raise their children. Jay is a 3rd-generation Texan with a family history of hay farming and raising Brahma cattle. Janet, who was born in Pasadena, Texas, is a 4th generation rodeo participant, who grew up doing barrel racing, calf roping, and other rodeo events.
There is something, however, about Jay and Janet that is more common to Northern California high-tech incubators than it is to residents of East Bernard, which sits at the intersection of Texas State Highway 60 and U.S. Highway 90 Alternate, about 125 miles to the southeast of Austin.
Together, Janet and Jay own and are the top executives at VirtualTone – a cloud-based nationwide commercial business enterprise call center that offers communications solutions for business of all sizes – both urban and rural.
VirtualTone handles more than two million calls a month, serving clients in a variety of industries, including insurance, legal, construction, government, and health care.