Akaushi Members Jamie and Jane Layssard Receive "2017 Rancher of the Year Award" from
Jim Wells County Soil & Water Conservation District- Alice, Texas

James W “Jamie” Layssard, and his wife Jane, operate their ranch on approximately 130 acres north and west of Alice with an 8 pasture rotational grazing system, plus an annual forage production field for his beef cattle operation.   

Mr. Layssard land is composed of clay, loamy and shallow ridge soils with buffelgrass and other grass species present.  He uses one pasture primarily for forage sorghum production, with the remaining eight pastures used for his grazing rotation. 

Mr. Layssard is very aggressive in his management approach on the pastures –if it doesn’t benefit his cows, it HAS TO GO!  Even brush species that would be beneficial to the area’s white tailed deer have little place on his operation – Hogplum: It has to die!  Thus, he is in active contact with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and several chemical companies and is involved in several experiments on several less often treated species to figure out what works and at what rate.  So much effort is being taken to figure the treatments out that the experts are taking note of what he is working on.

Mr. Layssard also has an active wildlife and recreation program – he trains/works hunting dogs to have them ready to go for dove and quail season.  He also has built a cabin for the hunters to stay in – it’s NICE!  He recently expanded a low lying area and pumps water to it to provide a small fishing pond where he raises catfish – there are some nice ones in the pond!  He would like to have a few ducks nesting on the pond, but the area hawks have prevented him from keeping any. 

The Layssard’s have a fenced garden to keep all the animals out – and use a rainwater catchment system to provide most of the water for the garden. 

Recently, he built a nice pen and small shed for his backyard poultry.

Mr. Layssard actively attends area beef cattle production workshops and also reads quite a few publications on herd management.  After some thought, he recently added a Certified Akaushi Beef bull to his herd.  Akaushi beef contains a higher concentration of monounsaturated fat relative to saturated fat, and has intense marbling, which creates a beef that has a rich buttery flavor as well as juiciness and tenderness throughout.  Marketing is a little different – you don’t just take them to the local sale barn - after DNA testing your animals for sale to document that they truly have Akaushi genetics, the animals can be sold for a premium at select locations.  These DNA tests take a few weeks, so you would need test them well in advance of when you actually want to take them to market.

Mr. Layssard has a nice set of corrals and has recently added a squeeze chute with a digital weight scale so he can accurately track each animal’s rate of growth. 

For his efforts on grazing management, active brush control, community involvement and other innovative approaches, the Jim Wells County Soil and Water Conservation District would like to take this opportunity to recognize James W Layssard as the 2017 Rancher of the Year.