Meredith Ellis – G Bar C Ranch, Rosston, Texas

Meredith Ellis of G Bar C Ranch, a cow-calf operation located in Rosston, Texas, is a hard-working single mom with a passion for helping the planet through regenerative ranching practices. Along with long-time ranch manager, Micheal Knabe (who’s been on the job for 35 years), she handles day-to-day operations on this North Texas ranch that was founded in 1980 and is owned by her parents, GC and Mary Ellis.

G Bar C Ranch was named the national winner of the 2023 Environmental Stewardship Award Program for its exemplary stewardship practices and conservation achievements.  

“For our operation, this was a lifetime achievement award, and a moment I will remember for the rest of my life,” says Meredith. “It took me going far away to college and coming home to realize just how special ranching is and how I want to be just like my greatest mentor, my father.”

Meredith’s college days were at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, where she earned an undergraduate degree in business focusing on entrepreneurship and a graduate degree in landscape architecture.

“It was away at college where I realized how important my dad’s ranch was to ecological health, species conservation, and water quality and availability,” Meredith explains. “Through my studies, I studied land use patterns on a regional scale, never-ending urban sprawl, the truncation of migratory patterns, urban water runoff, and more. This is when I came to understand the significance and responsibility of coming home to the ranch to provide care for it over another generation.”

Meredith explains how the planet is in dire need of help, describing how Texas alone loses 650 acres a day that could be used for farming and ranching. This is attributed to population growth and economic expansion. The global population keeps growing at a rapid pace. More and more food needs to be produced, yet the climate is becoming unpredictable and the available land to provide for these human needs is shrinking.  

But according to Meredith, the impact of regenerative cattle ranching can help heal the land by working the ecosystem to rebuild soil for future generations. Regenerative ranching is a principle-driven mindset that looks holistically at the relationship between the soil, plants, water, animals, and the rancher to improve soil health so that it better supports the ecosystem, feeding people, and creating a sustainable and resilient food system. 

Meredith explains how the ranch’s regenerative management style helps to sequester carbon, according to measurements by research projects she has participated in. This is the equivalent of taking many cars off the road each year.

“Additionally, the G Bar C Ranch provides a home to many native species.  We have documented over 660 native species on our property, with some of them with a threatened or endangered status. Recently, researchers at University of North Texas found a Bobwhite Quail on our ranch which was so exciting for the family to hear.” 

 “These days, my dad is semi-retired,” says Meridith. “But we still consider him the boss.” 

Mary, Meredith’s mother, helps in numerous ways to keep operations and morale going. One much-appreciated way is through a large vegetable garden she tends and then harvests to cook fresh meals for the family. 

“Throughout the growing season we enjoy ranch-raised beef with grilled veggies, potatoes, fresh greens salad, and more,” Meredith continues. “Mom likes to say, ‘Everything you’re eating came straight from the ranch except the salt and olive oil’! I love that I was raised like that, and my son is experiencing this too.”

Marinated skirt steak is one of Meredith’s preferred beef cuts. She likes to marinate in lime juice and flash grill, then serve sliced thinly on a bed of fresh greens with a homemade garlic, lemon, and olive oil dressing. 

“In cooler months, a roast beef stew is hard to beat,” she adds. “And, my nine-year-old son loves smash burgers any time of year. I have to agree that that perfect char on the edge of the burger is just so delicious.”

When she has some downtime, this active mom likes to take her son exploring on the ranch, checking out creeks or going for hikes where they discover things like neat bugs, feathers, fossils, and other natural treasures. 

 “I also enjoy traveling,” says Meredith. “Although it was work related, I recently traveled to Dubai to speak at an event about beef’s role in solving climate change. I made a trip out of it and visited Cambodia, Vietnam, and South Korea afterward. I met many agricultural colleagues from around the world and found that, despite being in vastly different climates and situations, we shared the same passions, challenges, and goals. It was pretty amazing and encouraging.”