UP Close and Personal
My granddad, Will O'Brien, rode his horse into the Texas Panhandle from Missouri in the 1890s. He hired on as a cowboy on the historic XIT Ranch. Faced with the job of fencing a million acres, Will soon struck out on his own and developed varied interests in farming, cattle ranching, and banking in all parts of the Panhandle. His son and my dad, John O'Brien, developed a reputation cattle breeding herd and established the practice of grazing the calves from this herd on the strong grass country of the Texas Panhandle. My brother manages one of the largest breeding operations in Texas today. Beef production is in our blood.
After graduating from Vanderbilt in 1964, I returned to join others in building a commercial feeding industry in the Panhandle based on mild weather and close proximity to both cattle and grain. Before the advent of packing plants, I traded fed cattle to beef plants in the southeastern areas of the country. In 1967, we built our first feedyard and over the years added a second feedyard and various ranching and farming operations that complement our base beef production model.
I am joined today by my children who participate in various aspects of the business but all support the overall objective of sustainable high quality beef. Producing high quality beef demands superior feed ingredients and Texas Beef now raises many of those ingredients on farms in close proximity to the two feedyards. Those farms allow manure from the feedyards to provide natural fertilizer for the farm crops. Many of the crops like winter wheat provide forage for winter grazing of cattle.
My son, Blake, manages the LIT Ranch and other ranching operations. Blake graduated from Davidson College with a liberal arts degree. Blake has experience in all aspect of beef production and is committed to delivering a quality beef product to the consumer. Alex, my other son, is President of the Bank of Commerce -- a family owned bank emphasizing new technologies that deliver lower interest rates to borrowers and higher rates to depositors. Alex graduated from Stanford University and majored in American Studies. We don't rely on the bricks and mortal operation but bring banking to your desktop.