When you think of the Texas Panhandle, you probably imagine something very similar to the ranch of Texas Beef Grass to Grill in Wheeler. Trent and Annie Cadra (pronounced: Sodra), and their three daughters, live and work on a ranch that has been in Trent’s family since 1905. “I really wanted to honor my heritage so there are pieces everywhere that pay tribute to my family’s legacy.”
Here in Wheeler County, you will find many families with a similar history of generations before them who came from overseas to find land out in Texas. “My great, great grandfather came from Czechoslovakia in 1905 and brought his family in 1907.” Trent says proudly as he shows me an antique table made by his great-great-grandfather with a ‘C’ burned all over it that sits in the center of a recreational room. “They tried to grow wine originally because that’s what they knew to grow back in Czechoslovakia. They quickly realized this was not the right place for that and eventually, they moved on to raising cattle.” The table is not the only heirloom residing in this recreational room. Another table features part of an old bull board and cattle pins his father built on the property. The tin adorning the room is from some old buildings and a stove his grandfather used to keep their own home warm in those Panhandle winters. “Even the trailer out there is originally from my grandfather. It took a while to restore, but I am glad to still have it.”
You could have guessed that this farm and raising cattle is a passion shared in the Cadra blood. After the tour of all of Trent’s family history, he wasted no time explaining his castling practices. Every precaution and detail is accounted for under Trent’s watchful and skilled eye. He has devoted a lot of energy, time, and brainstorming to making his ranch run smoothly. He has even rigged his gates to work as a one-man operation. The gates were also designed to encourage cattle to follow their instinct without too much resistance. “Cattle want to move back from where they came, and this gating system gives them a dead end so they have to move forward,” Trent explains as he moves around some of the gates to show me. “I am always open to learning more, which we did when designing this system. We had to move some pieces up because in practice there was too much room for the cattle to turn around and that was messy.”
One of his methods that has gone against the status quo of ranching is the selection of steers. “I try to look at the steers mother’s heritage. Babies are mostly 60% their mother’s genetics and only 40% their father’s genetics.” Trent says pointing out one of the many red cows that crowded the Gator as we drove around the pasture. “You can see this one is shorter, but the middle is much wider. That, to me, is important when breeding a cow for beef as the middle is where all the good stuff is.” Trent and his business partners are in line with how he likes to breed cows and trust Trent’s undoubtable love and understanding of these cattle. When talking to his wife, Annie, earlier she warned me that he may ‘geek out’ about cattle.
You can admire Trent’s knowledge as he uses it to make sure his cows stay efficiently grass-fed with only top-tier quality ingredients. This means making sure the soil is tip-top and the dusty ground is covered with grass. He focuses on a cow’s digestion and reproductive qualities and weeds out cattle that can’t stay fat foraging themselves. NO hormones. NO antibiotics. NO growth stimulants. 100% grass-fed.
He pointed out some bright pink tags on a few cows. “Those are my daughters. They don’t know it but I am raising those specifically for them to inherit. Even if they don’t want to go into ranching, that is okay. I want to make sure to leave something behind.” Trent is determined to keep investing back into his family, just like his father’s father’s father did before him.
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Did you know?
Trent shared a short history of a nearby road called ‘Pakan Road’ as it was the main route in and out of town for a group of people who used to be called the ‘Pakan Community’. This was a small community of people settled in the area and only one person could speak English. His name was Mr. Pakan, and he was a spokesperson in town for the community, doing business, and selling for his neighbors. Hence why the people were in the ‘Pakan Community’ and why it’s called ‘Pakan Road’ today.