Five generations later, the Davenport family is continuing the ranching tradition. This generation, the ranch that originated in West Texas has moved to Oklahoma. While the ranch operations may look vastly different, the passion for the lifestyle has stayed the same.
Jason and Misty Davenport both have a ranching background. Misty is from a five-generation ranching family that originated in Texas and Jason is a third-generation rancher.
“My grandpa was an army liaison and was sent to agricultural schools in England. Through the army, he was able to help bring the Corriedale sheep to the United States. This started our family heritage. I was born and raised in West Texas on a sheep and goat ranch. I loved working on ranches and learning different approaches working with cattle. I just craved it. It was hard work, but it never felt like it because I was having fun,” said Jason.
Misty’s great-great-grandfather started on a ranch in West Texas raising sheep, goats, and cattle. The tradition continued and both of her parents come from a ranching background. Misty knew from an early age she was going to end up in agriculture.
“I did things a little “backwards.” I completed the Texas Christian University Ranch Management School, which was awesome. At that time my father had a cattle operation in Argentina and that influenced me to complete my International Agriculture Marketing Economics degree from Oklahoma State University in 2005,” shared Misty.
To complete this degree, Misty was driving from the ranch in West Texas to OSU quite frequently. She spent countless hours traveling the roads of Oklahoma.
"I just fell in love with Oklahoma. I saw all of the wheat and cattle, and realized cattle was where I wanted to focus my expertise. We got married and purchased our ranch in Wapanucka, Oklahoma in 2009, and we’ve been here ever since." - Misty Davenport
Jason and Misty originally brought sheep to Oklahoma, but quickly realized it truly was “cow country” and began to incorporate and shift their focus to cattle. Currently, the main focus on their ranch is Red Angus.
The apps on smartphones allow us to have all of our information in our hands while we are in the pasture. We utilize the acreage mapping app to calculate pounds of animal per acre for stocking rates and the sale apps allow us to get almost real-time marketing reports. Also, I never thought I would like drones, but I have ended up loving them. We use them to monitor any damage caused by hogs and water drainage. I don’t think all of the uses for drones have been discovered yet.
Our mornings are filled with breakfast, chores, a general meeting with our office manager and school. My role is to make sure everything is getting done. In the afternoon, the boys and I run errands for Jason, or whatever “the boss” needs us to do!
That is a tough question because everybody loves marketing, even me. If there is a pretty package, you want it. The type of beef that we raise doesn’t end up as a pretty package at the grocery store; it comes in a package that just says “Beef” on it. The difference is I know exactly what goes into our cattle and how hard we all work. We care about our product and the welfare of the animal. I’m a mother of two boys and it’s what I feed them. If I weren’t able to get beef out of my own freezer, I would buy the beef at the meat counter.
Sustainability. It’s a word that is used a lot, but I’m not sure everyone has a full grasp on what it is. Our definition is maintaining or improving what we have been given. Our ranch sustained itself long before we were here. It has supported a lot of animals and has changed with its environment to make itself better. Today, we are putting more pressure on it than ever and we need to make sure it is maintaining or improving. We do that by monitoring what we believe is the main ingredient: soil. It doesn’t matter what type of livestock you own; if you can’t keep the soil healthy, you can’t make the soil produce and you won’t be sustainable. We have been blessed with wonderful resources and we want to improve them as much as we can; that’s one way we feel we can leave this place better for the next generation.
One of the challenges for us involving sustainability is with labor. The oil and gas industry pay top dollar, and we lose a lot of the young labor force to that career path. Ranching requires long hours, sometimes seven days a week, and at a lower pay rate than the oil and gas industry. I don’t blame them, but it makes it difficult for family-owned ranches, like us; we can’t compete financially.
We both enjoy chef’s choice ribeye cooked medium rare. We like to cook ours similar to how they cook in South America, on the Argentine parillas.