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Family Land Heritage Program Recognizes Madison County Rancher

Family Land Heritage Program Recognizes Madison County Rancher

Story by Beverly Moseley

For more than a century, generations of Floyd Nauls Jr.�s family has owned and worked land in Madison County in what locals call the Island Community. The fertile land has grown crops and cattle and sustained the family during good times and bad.

Nauls� N Bar and Z6 Ranch was recognized recently by the Texas Department of Agriculture�s Family Land Heritage program. The program honors farms and ranches which have been in continuous agricultural production for 100 years or more by the same family.

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples recognized each recipient during the 35th Annual Family Land Heritage ceremony held at the Texas state Capitol in Austin. More than ninety farms and ranches took part in the ceremony.

�It really, really hit home because it was something that we had both strived for a long time, me and my dad both - to accept that 100 year acknowledgement of the Land Heritage Family award,� said Nauls. �It was a tremendous honor accepting that award and I felt like I was accepting on behalf of my father and my ancestors that actually gave blood, sweat and tears to make sure that the property stayed in the Nauls and the Price families.�

Nauls also is a district conservationist in Madison County with the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Life on the Island

Mother Nature has been good this year to the Island Community. Rains have fallen in the area and Nauls� cattle herd grazes on abundant grasses. The area became known as the Island Community decades ago when flooding from the Bedias Creek and the Trinity River, which is about a mile east of N Bar and Z6 ranch, floods and creates a peninsula of land.

Nauls is the fifth generation of his family to farm and ranch on some of the original land granted in 1903 to his descendents, Imogene and Henry Barrett, who were ex-slaves.
�My dad [Floyd Nauls Sr.] inherited 15 acres from his grandparents and from that point he started purchasing other relatives land that they wanted to sell. Then from that, he just kept expanding and expanding on family land,� Nauls said.

His father, who is deceased, grew up on the Madison County land with his grandparents. He later went to Houston and obtained a degree at Texas Southern University. It was there that he met his wife Delores, who also is deceased, and started a construction company. Nauls said he strives to live his life by the example his parents set for him.
Despite living in Houston, Nauls� father continued to travel to Madison County to work the land and raise cattle. At a young age, Nauls became part of the fabric of the land.
�As a young kid, when others were going to Astroworld and dances, I was fixing fence, changing flats and feeding cattle,� Nauls said.

Ranching and farming today

Working side-by-side, father and son grew the cattle operation, which began with a few head of cattle in 1967. Today, Nauls owns 140 acres of the 500 acres that he manages. The ranch�s commercial cattle herd consists of 130 cow-calf pairs, along with Charolais and black Simmental breeding bulls. He also has 48 acres of land in Loblolly Pine timber production.

�The main thing I learned from my dad was determination and hard work. With those two things, basically you can achieve whatever you strive to do,� he said.

Nauls, his wife Tiffany and their 4-year-old daughter, Morgan, live on the ranch. From the house, he is within walking distance of the red barn that sits on the site where his grandparents lived. He can see the stock tank that he designed and built with his dad.

In 1994, while attending Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Nauls began working as an intern for the Soil Conservation Service whose name was changed to the Natural Resources Conservation Service. That is when he began his boots-on-the-ground resources conservation career that brought him to Madison County in 2000.

He utilizes forage and land management techniques he�s learned through NRCS. A strong forage base is a key to optimizing pounds of beef produced per acre. Some management practices he uses include rotational grazing.

�By rotating the cattle you are taking everything out of that field and moving the cow to somewhere else. You are maximizing the production of what those cattle are consuming. There is nothing wasted,� he said.

He also incorporates nutrient, pest and weed management into his forage base and management systems.

�One thing that a lot of producers respect, I think about me, is that I�m not just a program person. I�m not just sitting behind a desk and talking about this Farm or that Farm Bill program,� Nauls said. � I�m out in the field raising cattle and I know what problems can occur and what situations can occur. I think they respect that.�

The fabric of the future

Young Morgan Nauls is now a piece of the fabric of the ranch�s past and future. She�s a part of the Island Community. She treads the paths and can cast her eyes on the same sweeps of land her family members have for more than 100 years.

Nauls is proud of the generational role his family has played in helping make Texas agriculture a leader in the nation. He said he intends to raise Morgan with an appreciation of the land and how it has sustained the family over the decades.

�In my mind, I believe I�m carrying on with the legacy and what my forefathers, as well as my dad, would have liked to have seen happen with the property and the ranch,� Nauls said.

Floyd Nauls Sr., (left), deceased, and Floyd Nauls Jr., stand at a pond that Nauls Jr. designed on the N Bar and Z6 Ranch in Madison County.

An estimated 48 acres of production land is planted in Loblolly Pine. Floyd Nauls Jr. said he expects to have his first culling and thinning done on the pine plantation within two years.

Floyd Nauls Jr.�s ranch was recently recognized by the Texas Department of Agriculture through its Family Land Heritage Program at the 35th Annual Family Land Heritage ceremony. The program honors farms and ranches which have been in continuous agricultural production for 100 years or more by the same family.

Floyd Nauls Jr. uses Charolais and black Simmental breeding bulls on his commercial cow herd. The ranch�s commercial cattle herd consists of 130 cow-calf pairs.