Ranch Management for Women, Part 1

Where have I been? It’s been a combination of being really busy doing interesting things, along with having a pretty rotten virus attack me. Let’s concentrate on the first of those!

Sue Ann K and Sue Ann U! Hey Sue Ann! What, Sue Ann? Women with twin unusual names can be silly.

On Monday and Tuesday of this week, I attended the third Bennett Trust Land Stewardship Women’s Conference. I’m glad I signed on to the Texas Parks and Wildlife email list for events, because I didn’t hear about this remarkable opportunity until a couple of weeks before it happened. After talking to my spouse and boss (the outdoorsman), I got pretty excited about the opportunity, even with some sort of sexist language in there. After all, it’s Texas.

The conference was divided into two halves, with one day of classroom work and one day getting out and looking at places. Today I’ll talk about what I learned the first day.

There were 40 or so women in attendance, mostly older, but a lot were young, too. All own ranch property around Texas. Some were very impressive women who’ve been on their land for generations, while others were just starting and even less experienced than me.

Most important, there was another woman there named Sue Ann (shown above), so we hung around a lot, so we could say, “Hey, Sue Ann, what about this?” It made us happy. Of course, I learned a lot about her business working with folks to get appropriate tax advantages form their land. A bonus.

A note about food

If you like to eat, attend this conference the next time it’s offered. Unlike the real estate workshops I go to, where they don’t even provide coffee, these folks had lovely catered breakfast, snacks, lunch, more snacks, and dinner the first day. The second day featured a nice breakfast and an amazing lunch (more on that later). I do wish the virus had let me taste things better! Since the conference fee was really low, I feel very grateful to the Bennett Trust for making these events possible, and so pleasant.

And what did I learn?

The first day had lots and lots of speakers, all of whom focused on how we can most effectively use our ranchland so that we can make money and stay there! The speakers were mostly experts from the AgriLife Extension and Texas Parks and Wildlife, though there were others, like the woman who told us all about how to get loans to make improvements to properties.

These women had some great ranch humor. Here’s a toddler playing pregnancy check on his toy cow. This is REALLY funny if you have cattle.

All the topics, like beekeeping, horses, inheritance of land, small ruminants (goats and sheep), fencing laws, and more, were both fun and informative to all the attendees. I have to say the young woman who talked about using your ranchland for bird watching ecotourism was really hilarious. She knows nothing about birds, but a lot about gathering up birding friends to create a great event that people want to return to again and again. So many ideas in there!

Because I was sick, I didn’t network as much as I normally would, and kept sitting apart from others, but I still got a lot out of listening to the attendees and presenters talk. I did have a glass of wine with a lovely new friend in the evening, though. That filled the whole day.

Here’s the inn, looking up from the creekside sitting area.


I stayed at the Inn on Baron’s Creek in Fredericksburg, next to the conference center. I’m glad I’d just gone there, because my days were so jam packed that I didn’t do any shopping or eating out. There’s also a spa at the Inn, so it’s a nice spot for events. My little suite encouraged lots of sleep, which I needed!

The first day would have been plenty of conference, since I got so many ideas to take back to the Hermits’ Rest. Very thankful to the Bennett Trust for making the learning opportunity possible. But then there was Day 2! Stay tuned for that!

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

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