The life of a cattle rancher isn’t easy. Long hours, unpredictable weather, caring for the herd, and conserving the land are all parts of the job. Efficiency often contributes to success, though, and on this operation in Texas, two Polaris RANGERs help get the work done.
About 10 miles inland, on a swath of coastal prairie between Houston and the Louisiana border, one of the oldest family cattle ranches in southeast Texas is thriving, despite the obstacles that farmers in this region face. With 12,000 acres of flat, marsh-like terrain due to its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, the land can be challenging to navigate on the best of days. When it rains — or worse, is ravaged by hurricanes or tropical storms — it’s even tougher to work due to the boggy soil and excessive heat and humidity.
For Charlie Edwards, 25, a seventh-generation cattle rancher and rice farmer who oversees operations at W.S. Edwards Ranch along with his father, a pair of Polaris RANGER CREW XP 1000s are indispensable tools that he relies on to keep the business going efficiently, no matter what, “They can drive through anything — muddy pastures and rugged terrain.” he says. “I wouldn’t want to farm and ranch without the Polaris RANGER. Regardless of the task, it does the job for us every time.”
Faster Than a Horse
Working alongside his father, Edwards has seen firsthand the difference that owning a RANGER can make. “Before we got the RANGERs, we rode horses to do all of our chores,” he says. “Using the RANGERs has made our operation more efficient. Whether we’re checking fences or feeding cows, their speed alone, plus easy in-and-out accessibility, help us do a whole lot more in less time. It’s a lot quicker than saddling up a horse. You can jump in a RANGER and take off, open a gate, get in and out of a pasture, and continue with your day. It saves your horses and saves you time.”
These efficiencies have helped empower the Edwards family to grow their businesses. “We used to farm 300 acres of rice; now we have 1,000. It’s the same with the cattle. Ten years ago, we had 800 head of mostly Brahman cows. Now we have 1,200.”
With just six cowboys to cover so much territory and manage both the cow-calf operation and rice farming business, time and task management are key to staying on each season’s tight schedule, yet they need to be nimble enough to react when there’s an emergency, like rescuing an injured calf on the other side of the pasture. “We’ve got our hands full, that’s for sure,” he says. “The RANGER makes things easier. It helps us get from one side of the ranch to the other in a hurry for chores and emergencies. It’s faster than a tractor, but also provides the cargo space we need for most chores. We’d miss that with a horse.”
Perfect for Hauling
And chores are plentiful. From 7 a.m. to sunset, Edwards buzzes around the acres in one of the RANGERs to monitor water troughs, spray weeds, check fence lines, make repairs, and more, and he relies on the RANGERs’ 1,000-pound cargo box capacity to handle the necessary equipment and materials. That cargo space alone is a key benefit of using a RANGER instead of a horse. “Whether we’re hauling hay or taking feed somewhere, or loading up fence supplies or wire, we can pretty much fit whatever we need in the back,” he says. “There’s plenty of storage inside the cab, too.”
Because both of his RANGERs are crew cabs and seat up to six people, he doesn’t have to make multiple trips (or take out extra animals and machines) for jobs that require extra hands in the field. This benefit saves time and allows him to get more chores crossed off his list.
Easy on the Land
Because the farm’s location near the Gulf, soggy ground is a reality. “We just got rain,” Edwards says, “and we don’t want to use tractors or a truck because we don’t want to damage the fields. So we use a RANGER.” The RANGER’s light footprint and 13-inch ground clearance get him where he needs to go without getting stuck or disturbing the soil, which is critical for the health of his rice crops and pasture. “It gets pretty wet in the wintertime, and we don’t like to tear up anything when the grass is dead,” he adds. “We use the RANGER to check on things without making a big mess. It’s dry in spots and wet in spots. You never know what you’re getting into.”
Easy to maneuver no matter what the conditions may be, the RANGER’s 82-hp. engine and true On-Demand AWD provide the muscle and agility to keep Edwards moving swiftly and efficiently through his busy days.
Low Maintenance and Long Lasting
Through it all, Edwards says his RANGERs are always up for the task. Unlike the more than a dozen quarter horses he keeps for various farm activities and team roping competitions, the RANGERs require very little upkeep. “They’re easy to maintain, that’s for sure,” he says. “We change the oil, and that’s about it. They definitely get used and they’re reliable. They last for years and years.
“Whether it’s a bumpy road or a rice road, the RANGER makes everything easy,” he adds. “It kind of spoils you a little bit. I can’t imagine running these operations without our RANGERs. It would be like going back in time. You wouldn’t get as much done. I wouldn’t want to do it.”
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