by Emme Troendle |
Editor’s Note: This is the seventh article in a series highlighting significant women in the Simmental industry.
Jane Travis, Pine Ridge Ranch, is one of many influential women in the Simmental industry
Strong support of ASA and the beef industry have been hallmarks of the Travis legacy. Jane Travis and her husband Bill, are the owners of Pine Ridge Ranch (PRR), an operation that has been producing heat-tolerant, efficient, high-quality Simbrah seedstock in Athens, Texas, for the last 40 years.
Over the last four decades, Jane and Bill have participated in numerous cattle events and have thrown their support behind research, development, and youth programs. The couple has served as ASA’s representatives to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and they have been intimately involved in the World Simmental-Fleckvieh Federation and numerous international events.
Pine Ridge Ranch started out as a commercial operation. They outlined a specification for producing the optimal beef animal, containing 35 characteristics identified as “opportunity loss”. Frustrated by their inability to find any animals that met their rigid specifications, they determined to create their own specified cattle and settled on a pathway of crossbreeding registered Brahman and Simmental.
Since that time, they stayed true to their original vision to develop a Simbrah herd for an exceptionally tender, healthy beef for the consumer. The PRR goal is to help their customers produce a 1,350-1,450 pound steer at 14-16 months without the use of growth . Because their cattle tend to marble later, they do not gain excess back fat. The PRR program takes pride in consistently collecting ultrasound and carcass data to track the most information possible on their herd. Bill and Jane, whose primary residence is in Dallas, roughly 90 miles northwest of the ranch, have been married over 60 years and are the parents of four grown children. Their daughter, Diane Jolly, is active in their cattle business and serves on the board of the Texas Simmental Simbrah Association.
“I was born in Illinois, but my family moved right after World War II to Fort Worth, where I spent the rest of my childhood. We didn’t own a ranch until after Bill and I were married and had kids. We found a nice piece of property — it was a great investment. It’s not the usual story because I didn’t grow up on a ranch. We had to learn a lot in those first years.
“We attended all the extension service offerings we could find and learned about growing grass and hay relevant for our area. We learned we can be creative and to stay connected to the industry.
“Since 1988, we have attended the World Simmental-Fleckvieh Federation every chance we have gotten. It really opened our eyes to the Simmental history, and what they were doing in Europe to improve milk and meat.
“You can learn from everybody in the world — local and international breeders, state extension, and breed associations. We have been to Australia, Africa, and a number of the WSFF events while refining our heat tolerant cattle at home and selling elsewhere in the world such as South Africa, South Central, and South America.
“We used to have two annual sales a year, but we have been selling private treaty since 2003. We sell live animals, semen, and embryos — most embryos are sold to South Africa. We are lucky that there is a local IVF center that can handle flushing. Bulls and replacement females are sold by 18-months of age, and we can sell all-year-round since we have a spring and fall calving herd.
“By selling private treaty, we can meet local and international buyers individually and show them around — you can’t do that during a large sale.
“We get to spend time learning about their program, where they are located, and what their needs are. It might take more time to do private treaty sales, but it’s more enjoyable to know that we are serving them and their operation the best we can.”