Category: Success Stories
Graham Land and Cattle has operated in Gonzales, Texas since 1987 when Dr. Charles W. Graham bought the Harrell Cattle Co., feedyard. Since then, Graham Land and Cattle has been a mainstay of the community, serving cattle feeders across south Texas and increasing their capacity to be able to feed 30,000 head and background another 15,000 head. Believing that each rancher or cattleman should have the opportunity to feed his own cattle, they provide solutions that work for individual owners. In addition, a consulting nutritionist, Gary Holcomb of NSA, formulates their rations for the best results.
We spoke with Josh Gray of Graham Land and Cattle about why the company has chosen to grow in Gonzales and the regional advantages that make it easier for them to do so. “One of the biggest advantages to this area, for our business, is how easy it is for trucks to get in and out of our facility. That’s important for our business since we have around twenty trucks moving cattle and commodities in and out on a daily basis. And our business does just a portion of the transportation that the nearby poultry industry does to feed and transport their 6 million chickens. Still – there are no traffic jams that slow down operations because the infrastructure here works quite well,” said Gray.
Graham Land and Cattle is not alone in their need for easy transportation routes. Manufacturing, agriculture and distribution businesses throughout the Guadalupe Valley require easy access to major thoroughfares and wide roads – two things the area is known for. Interstates 10, in addition to local roads, provide good options for truck traffic moving throughout Texas and the rest of the country.
Access to labor is another advantage of locating in the Guadalupe Valley. In the cattle and food industry, businesses can struggle to obtain labor due to the remoteness of their location. That is not the case in Gonzales, Texas. “We hear of companies in other areas struggling to find labor. We don’t have that problem because Gonzales and Seguin have plenty to offer families, in addition to the jobs we and other companies provide,” said Gray. Josh Gray should know. He grew up in the area, left for college and chose to return home because he enjoys living in Gonzales over living in a larger city where there is congestion and traffic to contend with.
Beyond a robust infrastructure and access to the right labor force, there is another reason Graham Land and Cattle has been able to grow in Guadalupe Valley – access to land. “As a company, we have taken raw land and turned it into something productive. As we have grown access to land and the isolation of the area has helped. Our business relies on a lot of space and not a lot of neighbors. We don’t have a lot of encroachment by local government or by residential real estate developers like we would if closer to a major metro. I foresee that continuing which is important for our business,” said Gray.
The availability of land has been important for all industry growth in the Guadalupe Valley. There is a strong business ecosystem with the food, agriculture and manufacturing industries complementing each other. For example, “The availability of feedstuff through the agriculture helps our business. Other agriculture industry attracts feed and grain which attracts other positives that help our business. The businesses here are intertwined so it is hard to talk about the growth and staying power of our business without talking about what’s happening in the county and south-central Texas,” said Gray.
When asked about the future of Graham Land and Cattle, Gray sees increased opportunities and the potential for industry-wide improvements. “The feedyard business is relatively young. There’s been a tremendous amount of growth and expansion in the food industry with things becoming more efficient and safer. People consume food differently now and so we work closely with researchers and universities to improve ourselves and add value to the consumer. We are going to keep improving,” he said. Fortunately, Gonzales has everything they need to continue doing so.
With the world’s largest pecan being located in Seguin, TX, it’s not too nutty to believe that Seguin also claims its very own Texas Vanilla Seguin Pecan flavor of Creamy Creations Ice Cream produced by major Texas grocer H.E.B. The grocer has opened several new locations in the Guadalupe Valley in recent years.
Adams Extract made the Red Velvet Cake a household name across America in the 1920’s when it first served consumers its red dye for this infamous recipe. In the 1950’s, they had another first introducing the 4-pack of food coloring. After 125 years, this major manufacturer operates out of a 90,000 square foot facility in Gonzales, TX and continues to serve up sweet and spicy goodness to families under over 13 brand names.
Gonzales County, located on the eastern side of GVEC’s service territory, is currently ranked as the 11th largest calf and cattle producing county in the nation. Just one example of the quality operations continually growing here is Graham Cattle Company located in Gonzales, TX. Graham boasts the capacity to handle 45,000 head of cattle.
Shiner, Texas is probably best known for the Spoetzl Brewery, Texas’s oldest independent brewery and home to world famous Shiner Bock Beer. Shiner also has a reputation as Texas’s “cleanest little city” and is known for its charm and character, along with its rich heritage. In October 2018, GVEC helped put Shiner “on the map” yet again by launching Fiber Internet, powered by the world’s fastest internet technology. With speeds of up to 1 Gbps, Fiber opens a whole new window onto the world for this hamlet of 2,069.
Take a Spring drive in Cuero, Yorktown, Yoakum and all the little towns in between and experience why the Texas Legislature passed HR 769 on May 4, 1999 designating DeWitt County as the Wildflower Capital of Texas. The area becomes “an ocean of color” as the wildflowers begin to bloom and visitors come far and wide for this naturally beautiful Texas landscape.
In July 2017, GVEC broke ground on the SunHub Generation Station, the Co-op’s first ever generation asset and community solar project. The two-megawatt facility, located on Highway 90A between Seguin and Gonzales, was one of only seven distribution-scale solar projects underway as of that time in Texas. The facility will deliver more than 4 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of clean energy thanks to its 6,500 solar panels powered by the South Texas sunshine.
Gonzales Healthcare Systems has set the gold standard as the first rural hospital in Texas, and only the second in the nation, to feature a state-of-the-art 3-D mammography machine in its Jane Johnson Women’s Imaging Center. The service attracts patients from Gonzales and surrounding counties, as well as close metropolitan cities such as Austin, seeking the benefits of this top notch technology.
Shiner, TX: it’s the self-proclaimed “Cleanest Little City in Texas” known for its robust brewing abilities! Located in the Guadalupe Valley roughly between San Antonio and Houston, Shiner is home to about 2,100 people and the Spoetzel Brewery where they ship more than 6 million cases of custom-labeled Shiner beer across the country each year!
DeWitt and Gonzales Counties, both located in the GVEC service area, are among the top five oil producing counties of the Eagle Ford Shale. Major producers with established operations in the area include Enterprise Products, EOG Resources, and Kinder Morgan among others.
ZDT Amusement Park in Seguin debuted the Switchback roller coaster in October 2015. Premiered as the world’s only wooden shuttle rollercoaster, this ride is a highlight of the 10-acre indoor and outdoor park working to attract thousands of thrill-seeking visitors each year to the Guadalupe Valley.
Gonzales, TX is home to the infamous and historically significant “Come and Take It” cannon and flag. On October 2, 1835, the little cannon fired the first artillery shot for Texas Independence which led to the annexation of more land to the United States than all the shots fired during the American Revolution.
Texas Lutheran University, located in Seguin, TX, has been ranked for multiple consecutive years as a Top Ten Baccalaureate School by Washington Monthly magazine. The school offers diverse disciplines including the Arts, Business, Communications, Humanities and Health, Natural, and Social Sciences.
Some of the largest players in the shell egg, broiler and breeding industries are located in the Guadalupe Valley including Holmes Foods, Inc., Tyson Foods, Inc. and Cal-maine Foods, Inc. Millions of dollars in assets flow through these major operations day and night which include large hatcheries, feed mills, and processing plants dependent upon reliable electricity.