We are Kay and Cliff White, owners of Holiday Ranch. We are located in the Panhandle of Florida, just a few miles from the Gulf of Mexico. Kay was a city girl and never had experience with cattle until we established our ranch just a few short years ago. Cliff, "born and raised" on a cotton farm in N.E.Arkansas, previously bred Limousin cattle in the early 80'S when lean beef first became popular. Cattle have always been Cliff's passion and Kay was ready for a new adventure.
Cliff is a retired Senior Special Agent, Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Agriculture. He is Vice President of our County's Cattlemen's Association and a Supervisor for our area Water Conservation District.
We learned about South Poll cattle from a friend. After seeing the South Polls and learning about their wonderful traits, we concluded they were the right cattle for us. We purchased our foundation herd from Bent Tree Farms. The South Polls have exceeded our expectations in every respect. Without a doubt we made the best possible choice for our cattle operation. These South Polls are simply a joy to us.
We feel strongly that South Poll cattle with their grass genetics are the future of cattle ranching in the South. We taught ourselves how to grow quality grass, legumes, and other forages and learned how to grass finish steers. We have learned the importance of healthy soils and working with Mother Nature, not against her. We were honored in 2009 by being named "Conservationists of the Year" for our county and Cattlemen of the Year in 2011.
Our herd quickly outgrew the size of our Florida ranch. We moved a substantial number of our South Polls to the Springfield, Missouri area. The Missouri cattle are managed by Glenn Baxley. Glenn may be contacted at (417) 353-2211.
Conservationist of the Year
Friday, November 20, 2009
Kay and Cliff White purchased 115 acres of the 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. In the 1970s Cliff raised registered Limousin cattle when the low fat, lean beef movement began.
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 5 grandchildren.
The Whites operate a registered cow-calf 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 are active in the South Poll Grass Cattle Association serving on the Board of Directors. South Polls were bred to excel and fatten on grass only with an emphasis on longevity, fertility, disposition, heat tolerance, and tenderness. After several years of struggling in the grass-fed business, their steers are in high demand with beef suppliers competing to obtain their product, some coming over 400 miles to pick up grass-finished steers from the ranch. The Whites have a partnership with a Missouri cattleman and have 125 of their mama cows in Missouri.
Raising grass-fed beef goes hand-in-hand with grass farming. The Whites consider themselves grass farmers first and foremost. Consumers in the local foods movement expect grass-fed beef to be wholesome, tasty, tender and free from hormones, antibiotics and harmful additives. To this end, the Whites raise their beef organically, although they are not certified organic. They do not use growth hormones or antibiotics (except for isolated medical purposes) nor chemicals and commercial fertilizers on the ranch. The Whites also practice rotational grazing using portable solar electric fencing to subdivide paddocks. This helps manage the forages to an ideal grazing height allowing for quick regrowth of pastures. Rotational grazing provides even distribution of manure and urine evenly across the pastures, acting as a natural fertilizer. By switching to Cydectin wormer, they have created a soil microbe, earthworm and dung beetle friendly habitat. The dung beetles can bury a cow patty in two days, incorporating tons of fertilizer (manure) into the soil and their tunnels aerate the soil and increase the water-holding capacity.
The White’s focus on education and attend many cattle and forage seminars offered by Auburn University and 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 the University of Florida for providing invaluable assistance on the production and management of cattle and forages.
Working with NRCS and participating in the EQUIP program, the Whites have improved their pastures and learned to grow a year-round mixture of forages. Using their existing Bahia and Bermuda pastures, the Whites overseed these paddocks with small grains such as oats and rye. They also plant winter ryegrass. Thirty acres have been planted with Red River crabgrass and 10 acres have been planted in a perennial peanut, a warm season perennial legume. Multiple varieties of clover, each with a different growing season, provide a year-round supply of natural nitrogen for the grasses in addition to being a high protein nutritious forage.
NRCS and Orange Hill Soil and Water Conservation District also partnered with the Whites in improving soil and water quality by fencing cattle out of all wetlands.
Organic practices to create healthy soil, careful forage management and rotational grazing, combined with the right breed of cattle that thrive on grass has contributed to the success of Holiday Ranch.
The Whites are continually striving to be good stewards of the land and strive to conserve soil and water through a well thought out management plan.
2011 Cattlemen of the Year
Washington County 2011 Cattlemen of the Year
Cliff and Kay White receive the honor.
Saturday November 19th, 2011
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 cow-calf 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
For sale in late fall:
Weaned heifers, bulls, and steers for grass-fed operations
A selection of open and bred cows and breeding age bulls available intermittantly
Please advise if you would like to be added to our contact list to be notified when we have South Polls available for sale.
Cliff or Kay (850) 535-9059