Jay O’Brien of Amarillo, who owns a ranch northeast of Clarendon, TX, with his children and grandkids, is the 2013 Stocker Award Winner. O'Brien also manages ranches in Texas and Colorado and says the thing he’s proudest of is that all the partnerships he’s formed over the years have continued. He credits the longevity of those relationships to everyone sharing “the same motives and incentives for the long haul.”
Until the 1990s, the cattle inventory on O’Brien’s ranch and those he manages was virtually all stocker cattle. In the mid-’90s, buying some cows made countercyclical sense to him. The decision proved more than wise the last couple of years amid the historic drought in the Southwest. Stocker cattle provided the necessary shock absorber to maintain their cow herds.