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At Home On The Range With Minnie Lou Bradley

COWGIRL LIFE

At Home On The Range With Minnie Lou Bradley

Minnie Lou Bradley Cowgirl Magazine

Minnie Lou Bradley on her Bradley 3 Ranch in Texas.

It has been said that there’s no force equal to that of a determined woman. No one proves out that idea more than the legendary Texas cattlewoman, Minnie Lou Bradley. As owner of the Bradley 3 Ranch in Memphis, Texas, Minnie is one of the most innovative and progressive cattlewomen to be found in the world.  Her family was producing branded beef before the rest of the country knew what it was.  The Bradleys are leaders in performance testing, organic beef and Certified Black Angus Beef.

Minnie Lou and her husband Bill started the ranch in 1955 with the purchase of twenty cows and 3,300 acres in Childress County, Texas. They concentrated on breeding problem free cattle and practiced feeding their livestock all natural products which resulted in a higher quality type of beef.

As a good steward of the land, Minnie later developed a brush control program; a rotational grazing system using a single herd of cattle rotated throughout the pastures depending on grass and water availability.

The matriarch of the Bradley family has enjoyed a number of firsts in her life.  She was the first woman to study animal husbandry at Oklahoma State University, the first woman to compete on the nationally renowned OSU Livestock Judging Team and the first woman to be named the President of the American Angus Association Board.

Minnie pioneered an approach to marketing too. Born from the days when she sold beef directly from her freezer to supermarkets, Minnie believed you could get a better idea of what people liked by talking to consumers about the product.  She realized the importance of keeping consumers happy and letting them know all that Bradley 3 Ranch was doing to raise top grade beef.

At a time in history when many women were treated like survivors of their environment, Minnie Lou rose as one who thrived within it.  After more than sixty years in the livestock industry, and growing the Bradley 3 Ranch to a sprawling 10,000 acre spread, Minnie Lou embodies the adage that it takes courage to learn new things and risk possible failure. “It’s been an exciting adventure,” Minnie Lou said, reflecting on her life and career.  “We’re ranchers and we enjoy what we do. I couldn’t imagine any other way of life.”

What do you think?

Chris Enss is a New York Times Bestselling author who writes about women of the Old West.

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