How Did West Texas Ranches Get So Big?

“To be profitable, you have to have really large land holdings in this area.”

By Diana NguyenNovember 1, 2018 9:47 am, ,

From Marfa Public Radio:

In Texas, 95 percent of the land is privately owned, much of it by ranchers. And if you drive out west, the swaths of private land holdings get even bigger.

But how did these parcels of land get to be so huge? That’s what Alpine-listener Ned Allen asked for our “West Texas Wonders” series.

Ranches originally weren’t supposed to get this big. Homestead acts encouraged people to settle western lands, but there were different acts that applied to the country, and to the state of Texas. In both cases, the amount of land a person could claim was limited.

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