Description: Photograph of cowboys herding cattle on the Ed Brown Ranch. The Brown family has been in Bee County for several generations. Austin II's great grandfather operated the mercantile store on the square in town. Austin I, his son, was in the bulk fuel business. As a wholesale dealer for Magnolia, which later became Mobil, he delivered kerosene and gasoline to farm families with a wagon and team. Every time he made a dollar or two, Austin Brown I bought a little piece of land. He began putting the ranch together in 1924. The headquarters operation, where their preconditioning facility is located, is in Bee County, but they lease several other ranches in South Texas. Early on, like many South Texans, the Browns ran Brahman cattle. In 1945, Ed bought some registered Hereford cattle from a man in the area. He began crossing these Herefords with the Brahman cattle and ended up with a "tiger stripe-looking animal," Austin says. "My grandfather found out right quick that the first cross (F-1) was one of the best animals ever developed for Texas." Eventually the Browns phased out the Brahman cattle altogether and began building their Hereford program. Today they continue to maintain a base herd of 200 registered Hereford cows.
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