Skip to Content

Strategies for Sustainability at the Ranch

 |  2022 Symposium, Symposium
Panelists discuss their approach to the industry’s hottest buzzword: sustainability.

Implementing a sustainable beef production system isn’t as straightforward as following a one-size-fits-all playbook. Dr. Clay Mathis, director of the King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, led a panel of thought leaders as they discussed what sustainability means to beef producers during the 2022 Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) Symposium June 2 in Las Cruces, New Mexico.


Trey Patterson, Padlock Ranch Company president and CEO, defines five elements of purpose to achieve perpetuity on the Padlock Ranch. These elements, as defined by the company’s board of directors, include financial excellence, maintaining excellent people, natural resource sustainability, being a positive community member and serving as an emblem for the family. By applying these elements in a holistic manner to decision making, and telling the story through marketing of cattle and beef, Padlock Ranch is able to navigate the business for perpetual success.


“And I just think there’s so much leverage in our industry, to be able to tell our sustainability story through programs like that,” Patterson says.

Likewise, Deseret Ranches’ comprehensive sustainability program stands on four pillars: environment, animal health and welfare, worker communities, and economics. Erik Jacobsen, who oversees cattle operations for Deseret, says that through identifying useful metrics and refining other metrics to create a relevant program over time, they have developed comprehensive standard operating procedures that align with the four pillars on all levels of their business.


“We want to be profitable, we want to take care of our people, we want to take care of our cattle, we want to take care of our properties. And we figure if we can do that we can operate sustainably,” Jacobsen explains.


Rounding out the panel was Decky Spiller with Silver Spur Ranches. Goals at Silver Spur Ranches are focused around preservation and conservation of natural resources while building a viable food business by converting natural resources biomass into consumable beef that can be marketed economically. To achieve this, Silver Spur implemented an integrated beef cattle production program to utilize and manage for the future of those resources.


“So our effort going forward has been, we have these resources that we are tasked with managing, and being good stewards of the cattle are a tool to help us do that,” Spiller says.


To watch the full presentation, visit For more information about this year’s Symposium and the Beef Improvement Federation, including additional presentations and award winners, visit





Back to top