The West Texas A&M University Nance Ranch proudly continues to fulfill the purpose intended by owner Lucille Nance Jones, who conveyed the Ranch to West Texas State University on January 1, 1971, "...for the education of the young people of the Golden Spread." The Ranch further supports the West Texas A&M University mission by providing a variety of unique resources and educational experiences characterized by a dedication to responsible stewardship, multidisciplinary programs, and total resource utilization.
The mission of the West Texas A&M University Nance Ranch is to create and sustain high plains livestock, range, and crop agroecosystems and associated enterprises in order to identify, demonstrate, and improve management practices for the betterment of WTAMU's teaching program, the research community, and the people and industries of our multi-state service region.
The WTAMU Nance Ranch is specifically dedicated to teaching, research and service as demonstrated by our commitment to:
- Serve as an excellent teaching center providing land, livestock, crops, facilities, personnel, and other resources which are used by faculty and students to further knowledge and experience in livestock, cropland, range, and wildlife
management and in related agricultural, biological, and
- Provide land, livestock, crops, modern facilities and other resources for public and industry service functions such as youth education events, field days, sales, instructional meetings, and social events.
The historic Nance Ranch was founded in 1921 by George E. Nance. The ranch consisted of 6,000 acres by 1925 and was primarily a commercial cattle ranch. During the early 1930's, the ranch also maintained a flock of sheep and produced a variety of crops including watermelons.
In 1936, Mr. Nance purchased twenty registered Hereford cattle and started a purebred herd. Throughout the 1940's and 1950's the Nance Ranch produced many champion Herefords and became nationally prominent in the U.S. beef industry. The herd grew to 1,300 head by 1951, and sold over 1,200 head registered Herefords in the dispersal sale following George Nance's death in 1953.
Mrs. Lucille Nance leased the ranch for several years after her husband's death, but continued her love for the ranch and the cattle business. In January, 1970, Lucille Nance Jones and her husband donated 2,393 acres, including the headquarters, to West Texas State University, to be used "for education of the young people of the Golden Spread". The "Nance Ranch Project" was organized after the announcement of the gift, and successfully raised money which allowed for stocking the ranch, initial operating capital, and construction of teaching and research facilities. This was largely completed by 1974.
The Nance Ranch has served the students of West Texas State University and WTAMU, and the people of the Panhandle for over 25 years. The Nance Ranch continues its proud tradition of excellence today, providing educational opportunities for over 1,000 people each year.
For more information, please refer to A History of the Nance Hereford Ranch, by Jim W. Kuhlman.
The WTAMU Ranch offers employment opportunities to students throughout the year. Typically, 2 to 4 students will be employed during the school year and 1-2 students will work throughout the summer. However, employment opportunities vary according to seasonal activities and projects, so openings may be available at any time of year.
All openings will be posted with WTAMU Student Employment Services and students must apply through the office located in the Jack B. Kelley Student Center, just outside of the University Bookstore. Student Employment Services can be contacted at 806-651-2397 for current listings and application information.
Contact Dr. David Lust for detailed information regarding work at the ranch and potential openings.
Ranch employee duties vary widely and include general maintenance, farm work, livestock chores and clerical tasks. Emphasis is placed on providing unique educational opportunities tailored to the individual student’s skills and interests. Students of all backgrounds, majors, and experience levels are encouraged to apply.
West Texas A&M University offers all of its educational opportunities and extracurricular advantages to students without regard to race, creed, national origin, gender, age or handicap, except where gender, age or handicap is a bona fide occupational qualification.