On April 27th, we hosted a tour here at the ranch as part of the 5th Annual Bennett Land Trust Stewardship Conference.
The Bennett Trust was established through a posthumous endowment provided by Eskel & Ruth Bennett to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. The endowment supports land stewardship education in the Edwards Plateau to help improve & protect the region’s valuable natural resources. source: Texas A&M AgriLife Extension
The conference was held in Kerrville. It offered landowners the opportunity to learn best
management practices, regardless of enterprise, size of the property, or knowledge level. The conference covered issues such as brush control, prescribed burning, estate planning, water management, & livestock stocking rates. Part of the conference was tours, with Hillingdon Ranch being one of the stops.
While here, participants learned about the land & our livestock. They also heard about the techniques we use in managing our operation in a way that continues to benefit the natural ecology.
The group went on a tour through the pastures to see examples of management practices & realistic approaches that balance the needs of people, livestock production goals, wildlife habitat, rainwater sequestration, soil conservation, ecological preservation, as well as predator management.
On May 4th & 5th, the Texas Wool Handling School was held here at the ranch. This was a wool education opportunity hosted by us, held in conjunction with sponsorship from the American Sheep Industry Association & the Texas Sheep & Goat Raisers Association.
The two day event was led by Dr. Lisa Surber, ASI Raw Wool Services Instructor. Paul & Dawn Brown (http://www.independencefarmsteadfibers.com/) helped organize the event.
Much needed rain kicked the two day event off, knocking out the power for five hours & sending the shearers back home to Rocksprings (unable to shear). We are so thankful for the 2+ inches of rain we received, as well as the positive attitude of the participants! Dr. Surber & the participants switched gears & carried on. They sat in the dark, listening to rain hit the barn’s tin roof & Dr. Surber talk about wool.
The next day was beautiful! Paco Ramirez, our head shearer from Rocksprings, came back & spoke to the group & demonstrated the art of shearing. Participants learned current wool handling practices & procedures & got to handle raw fleeces being shorn right off the rams.
Participants came from a range of backgrounds, from large & small producers to potential new producers to hand spinners. The group was very diverse & enthusiastic about the sheep industry. It was very refreshing to network with this group for two days! We learned so much about the hand spinning aspect of the fiber industry & realized how little we know in that realm!