Congratulations to this month’s Farm and Ranch Family, the Smiths! In order for their business, Smith Cattle Company & Smith Livestock Transport, to be successful, Lyle and Jody work alongside their four children—Paige (18), Ansley (16), Will (14) and Walker (14). The Smith kids are the 5th generation of ranchers in the family!
The Smith’s home base is located in Bedias, Texas (Region 9). Their ranch functions as a commercial cow/calf and calf backgrounding operation. The entire family works together to make the company a success! “I like to think all of them contribute in some way,” said Lyle. “It takes all of us to help get things done – from the household work, office work, to the barn, it is a lot. Everyone pitches in and tries to make sure all the cattle, horses and business are tended to.”
The everyday work for the Smiths varies based on the season. During the fall and winter, the feed has to be mixed twice a day for the weaned calves. Additionally, the pasture cows have to be fed. In the spring months, all of the pasture care takes place. Finally, the summer months hold lots of hay baling. In the early fall, the weaning starts all over again.
All four children are vital parts of the operation, helping out during each season. “Of course, the kids love the spring cow work, as well as the weaning season, but they also put in many hours helping me check calves, keep water troughs clean and working the chutes and gates,” said Lyle. In addition, they all help cutting, raking and moving the hay during hay season.
The Smiths chose a ranch lifestyle for their family because they wanted to raise their kids as they work alongside them. “There are so many values to be taught from being responsible for animals who depend on you daily,” said Lyle. “There is a lot of not so glamourous jobs that go into our business and a lot of hours, but I hope by doing it together they are learning a few things that might help them persevere in their own future.”
Both Lyle and Jody believe that the ranching lifestyle has taught their kids the importance and power of hard work. They hope they have taught their kids that “you get out of something what you put into it” and that you “cannot replace hard work.”
When the family is not working on the ranch, their favorite thing to do as a family is head to rodeos. They love the atmosphere there and the kids especially love getting to be around other rodeo kids. Paige currently competes in barrels and breakaway in THSRA. Ansley also competes in THSRA, but in barrels and poles. The twins team rope in TJHRA. “Being involved in THSRA has given us the opportunity to be involved in a sport we can practice at the house in the evenings, help each other in, and compete on the weekends as a family,” said Lyle. Lyle and Jody love that rodeo has “always provided our kids an opportunity to meet others and learn to be competitive.”
When asked about his thoughts on the commercialization of the farm and ranch industry, Lyle commented that there have been a lot of changes in his families lifetime, from his great granddad to his father, and that it continues to be a task for family ranches to be successful and stay together. “The commercialization of the agriculture industry is on the rise, but there has been a real spotlight on small farming and ranching producers during the pandemic. There is still a lot of us left, and like them, we do it because it is what we’ve always done and love it,” said Lyle.
The Smiths have a McCoys located about 40 miles from them and they shop there when they can. At McCoys, they usually buy materials to fix fences and Priefert equipment. “It is an honor to be recognized by Region IX and McCoys,” said Lyle. “There are a lot of hard-working ranch families in our region and we are humbled to have been selected.”