This month’s featured producer is Coleman Locke, a 5th generation rancher and President of J.D. Hudgins, Inc., a sizeable yet still family-run operation that’s been around for more than 110 years! The ranch specializes in registered Brahman, a popular breed able to tolerate heat and repel insects, making the cattle a good fit for the hot, humid conditions of Hungerford, Texas, a town located 50 miles southwest of Houston. The ranch runs up to 1850 head of cattle at any given time, selling live breeding animals domestically and internationally along with semen and embryos overseas.
Ranching life is good and Coleman says that some of the rewards include providing a quality product for consumers, developing lifelong friendships he cherishes, and meeting people from all over the world. But the best perk has been being able to raise a family, along with his wife Regina, in the wholesome, outdoor, hard-working atmosphere that ranch life offers – they have four grown children and 12 grandchildren today. In fact, one son, John Locke, manages day-to-day operations and Coleman, now in his 70s, jokes that “… at my age, I normally pass the heavy work off to him.”
Still laughing, Coleman, also mentions that there is always something funny happening on the ranch. “One story from years ago comes to mind,” he says. “No more than eight years old, my cousin and I were each riding horseback helping our fathers drive cows. Occasionally a horse will stop and shake just like a dog shakes when he gets out of water. My cousin’s horse did exactly that and shook him completely off and onto the ground.” “He wasn’t hurt and we got a good, long chuckle out of that,” he remembers, “and, to this day, it reminds me that hard-work can still be fun.”
Coleman mentions that it’s not always fun and games, some of the hardest aspects of ranch life can be finding enough balance between work and relaxation. Additionally, being on the Colorado River in the Gulf Coast region can pose flooding and other weather-related problems. “It is imperative that we take care of our livestock and our land, and I can honestly say that both get better each year,” says Coleman.
Read on to learn more this hard-working, long-time member of the beef community in his own words:
Education: I have a BS in Marketing from Abilene Christian University but on-the-job training is the best teacher.
Work Week: I don’t put in nearly as many as I once did, but my son, John, probably puts in 60 hours most weeks.
Leadership: I currently serve as Chairman of the Texas Animal Health Commission representing the beef cattle industry. I am a past president of the Texas Brahman Association and also the American Brahman Breeders Association. I am a director of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association and a former director of the Texas Beef Council.
Favorite Cuts of Beef: Filet, rib-eye, and flat-iron
Favorite Cooking Method: Outdoors on the grill
Favorite Burger Place: Smashburger, but I also like Wendy’s and McDonalds!
Hobbies: I am currently principal tuba for the Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra.