Michael White – Vernon, Texas
This month’s featured beef producer is Michael White of White Cattle & Farms in Vernon, a “medium” small town at the right-side base of the Texas panhandle. During the last quarter of the 19th century, it’s estimated that seven million head of cattle passed through Vernon on the Great Western Cattle Trail – perhaps that’s how the town motto, “Steer Our Way!,” came to be.
White, a 4th generation rancher/farmer, and his business partners, brother Gene, and nephew Austen, are also doing cattle their way. The trio works together to run a sizeable cow-calf operation with about 600 mother cows in addition to their calves each season. They also produce other agricultural products on the approximate 10k acre property including cotton, wheat and hay.
In 2019, White Cattle & Farms turned 100 years old. Because they have had continuous agricultural operations held within the same family for at least a century, they are eligible for recognition by the Family Land Heritage Program (Tx. Dept. Agriculture).
White Cattle & Farms is proud to be certified by the Global Animal Partnership (GAP), a recognition of having attained a level of management practices that support ranch and farm animal welfare. White says the most rewarding experience of ranching is, “the opportunity to be a good steward of the planet, see how it is all interconnected, and understand fragile it all can be. If we take care of the land it, it takes care of us.”
White and his wife, Susan, have two grown daughters, Betsy, a pediatrician, and Katie, a big-firm CPA. During childhood, the girls helped with their fair share of chores around the ranch and were also involved in ag-related extra-curriculars. However, White fondly refers to them as “strong-headed women who knew what they wanted to do early on,” and he was happy to support each daughter’s dream.
Read on to find out more about Michael White and his life as a Texas rancher and farmer.
Collegiate Rivalry: I went to Texas Tech, graduating with a B.S. in Ag. Education in 1985. However, my wife and two daughters are all Baylor graduates – with the bonus of the oldest daughter graduating from Texas Tech’s medical school. The annual Tech-Baylor shootout is a lively football watching experience with my family.
Favorite Beef Cut: Rib Eye
Favorite Beef Recipe: Pot roast for Sunday lunch.
Best Local Burger Joint: Bevo’s Drive-In in Vernon, Texas. It’s been around for nearly 50 years and serves up delicious, old-school burgers and other made-to-order comfort food.