Holiday Ranch
Breeder of South Poll Grass Cattle

Cattlemen of the Year

Kay and Cliff White were pleasantly surprised by the honor of Washington County Cattlemen of the Year bestowed upon them during the Farm City Banquet held in Chipley, Florida on November 17, 2011.

The Whites purchased a portion of the late Coy Dyson farm on Highway 79 five miles South of Vernon in 2003.  They named their farm Holiday Ranch where they built their dream home.

Cliff is a native of Northeast Arkansas.  He spent his childhood years on the family cotton farm and still owns two farms in Arkansas.  Cliff is a graduate of University of Tennessee and is retired from the Office of Inspector General for USDA.   Cliff is a supervisor on the Board of Orange Hill Soil and Water Conservation District.  He is also Vice-President of the Washington County Cattlemen’s Association, Inc.

Kay was a city girl and spent 27 years in custom home building in Columbus, Georgia.  Together Kay and Cliff have two daughters, two sons, and 6 grandchildren, plus 2 more on the way.   Kay is a Washington County Master Gardener volunteer and a member of the Wausau Garden Club in addition to serving as secretary of the Washington County Cattlemen’s Association.  She is an avid organic vegetable gardener and enjoys preparing gourmet meals.

The Whites operate a registered seed-stock operation using a new composite breed of cattle called South Poll.  The South Poll breed was developed by Teddy Gentry from Ft. Payne, Alabama (you may recall that Teddy is a member of the group “Alabama”).  The Whites have been active in the South Poll Grass Cattle Association serving on the Board of Directors.  South Polls were bred to excel and finish on grass with an emphasis on longevity, fertility, disposition, heat tolerance, and tenderness.  In this time of high feed prices, there is a huge demand for their bulls and cows because of their ability to perform on grass.  The South Poll steers are also in high demand with beef suppliers competing to obtain their product and some gourmet chefs use nothing but South Poll grass-fed beef on their menu.  The Whites have about 150 of their mama cows in central Missouri.  They are the largest registered South Poll breeder in the United States.  The Missouri herd is managed by their partner, Dr. Bruce Shanks.

The White’s focus on education and attend many cattle and forage seminars offered by the University of Florida in addition to non-traditional courses such as Graze fests, mob grazing, dung beetle field days, etc. The Whites credit Washington County Extension Agent, Andy Andreasen, and other University of Florida staff for providing invaluable assistance on the production and management of cattle and forages.  Forest Dilmore and Greg Noland of the Natural Resources and Conservation Service have also been extremely helpful to the Whites in the development of numerous conservation practices.

Although the Whites are not certified organic, they incorporate many organic practices on their ranch and the cattle are all-natural, meaning they are never given growth hormones or routine antibiotics.

Cliff and Kay are unlikely crusaders.  In 2006 and 2007 the land adjacent to their ranch and bordering Holmes Creek was rezoned as a planned unit development with approximately 650 houses on 860 acres.  Many of those acres were wetlands.   Although the Whites were not opposed to development in Washington County, they were concerned about its adverse impact on their ranching operation.  They intervened in the developer’s (Skywatch) application process before the Board of County Commissioners and Florida Department of Community Affairs.  Their legal intervention led to a new Florida law, the “Agricultural Nuisance Claim Waiver Act”.  In substance, the purpose of the law is to give notice to an applicant for a local nonagricultural land use permit, building permit, or certificate of occupancy which neighbors existing agricultural land that the adjacent farm operation may not be compatible with the intended use of their property because of discomfort or inconvenience that may come from practices such as noise, insects, burning, dust, etc.  By signing the required waiver, the new owner agrees not to bring any claim against the owner of the farm.  In an effort to help protect Holmes Creek from devastation that may be caused by development, Kay gave a presentation to the Washington County Commissioners regarding its beauty, uniqueness, endangered species and the necessity of protecting this underappreciated natural resource.

The Whites invite you to visit their website at www.holidayranchsouthpolls.com and their blog at www.holidayranch.wordpress.com

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