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Several leagues of their own

Wednesday, January 6, 2016 by Caleb Pritchard

Travis County Commissioners Court heard an uplifting report about nearly 19,000 acres of land in rural North Texas that the county has owned since before statehood. In 1839, the Republic of Texas granted Travis County three leagues of land in Throckmorton County. Later, Travis added another league to the spread, bringing the total to 18,820 acres. The land is managed by an outfit called Spade Ranches, which channels revenue back to Central Texas coffers through grazing and hunting fees as well as a small number of oil wells. All of the money ends up in the Permanent School Fund, where it is then disbursed to school districts within the county. On Tuesday, Madelena Johnson, county director of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, told the court that her trip to the ranch in November convinced her that the property is in good shape. Johnson credited heavy rains throughout 2015 with providing ideal grazing conditions. “As we were touring, I just wanted to make sure we didn’t get stuck, because there was a lot of water,” said Johnson. “But the gentleman assured me he knew exactly what he was doing, and we never got stuck. So that was good.”

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