John Hollis knows a thing or two about Texas land and livestock. He’s a seventh-generation rancher and carries on the family business at The Diamond I Ranch in Apple Springs, a small town in East Texas. The ranch was founded in 1889 and has been awarded the Texas Department of Agriculture’s “Family Land Heritage” designation. This is a special honor, open only to Texas farmers and ranchers who have kept their land in continuous agricultural production for at least 100 years.
The ranch currently operates as a cow/calf operation and sells hay and timber. Since 1966, the family has also been involved in the Houston Rodeo and raising, training and competing on American Quarter Horses.
John, who earned a B.S. in Agricultural Development from Texas A&M University, puts in about 30 hours of work a week at the ranch. “The hardest part about being a rancher are the factors outside of my control,” he notes. “Like volatile markets and unpredictable weather.”
However, he reinforces how dedicating your life to agriculture and furthering a generational tradition on the original land makes it well worth any unforeseen obstacle.
As John likes to say, “People don’t own ranches, ranches own people. It is the duty of those people to leave the woodpile higher and the fences strung tighter for the next generation.”
When it comes to enjoying beef on the dinner table, John’s top pick is a Filet Steak, preferably grilled. If he’s in the mood to grab a burger, he heads over to County Seat Cafe in nearby Groveton, Texas.