Meanwhile, back at the ranch ... the quite-sprawling King Ranch,
to be exact. Founded in 1853, King Ranch's operations extend beyond
its original 825,000 Texan cattle-raising acres. The ranch is still
home to cattle and horses, of course, but King Ranch oversees
considerable farming interests in its home state and elsewhere,
including cotton, sorghum, sod, citrus, pecans, vegetables,
and cane sugar. It also has various retail operations, such as
hardware, designer saddles, publishing, and printing. In addition,
King Ranch also beefs up revenues with tourist dollars from
birdwatchers, hunters, and sightseers who visit its Texas ranch
lands. The descendants of founder Richard King own King Ranch.
One of the largest ranches in the world, King Ranch's operations
span properties in South Texas and in Florida. Its operations
comprise 825,000 acres -- larger than the state of Rhode
The company's operations are managed from its Houston corporate
King Ranch has diversified its business into a major
agribusiness. It boasts interests in cattle ranching and feedlot
operations, farming (citrus, cotton, grain, sugar cane, and
turfgrass), pecan processing and sales, commodity marketing and
processing, luxury retail goods, and recreational hunting.
King Ranch Turfgrass produces turfgrass in the US, selling
through some 15 stores. Its sod farms sell between 250,000 and
700,000 sq. ft. of sod daily.
The firm also cultivates about 12,500 acres of sugar cane in
South Florida that ultimately yields about 120,000 pounds of raw
sugar and about 3.5 million gallons of molasses.
King Ranch holds a 78% stake in Consolidated Citrus, L.P., a US
citrus grower with more than a dozen separate grove locations
throughout Florida's southern half that comprise some 40,000
tree-planted acres. More than 90% of the growing operation's
harvest consists of Valencia and other juice varieties.
In addition to its 60,000 cattle, King Ranch has about 300
quarter horses. Its quarter horse and thoroughbred programs can be
traced back to Richard King and his son-in-law, Robert Kleberg
Its nuts business, Young Pecan operates a large shelling
facility in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and maintains corporate offices
and a distribution center in Florence, South Carolina.
The company owns the Kingsville Publishing Company, which offers
printing services and publishes several local newspapers, including
the Kingsville Record and Bishop News. It also owns the Robstown
Hardware Company, the exclusive John Deere dealer for Skid Steer
equipment in the Coastal Bend area.
Considered the birthplace of the American ranching industry,
King Ranch introduced the highly fertile breed of beef
cattle, the King Ranch Santa Cruz, which is one-fourth
Gelbvieh, one-fourth Red Angus, and one-half Santa Gertrudis.
Raising animals isn't the only thing King Ranch cottons to -- this
sprawl of four noncontiguous ranches is also one of the US's
largest cotton producers and a significant producer of shelled