Ranching in the American West – The Chapman Ranch
Nestled deep within southern Oklahoma’s Arbuckle Mountains, the Chapman Ranch has not only survived, but also thrived through the decades by a willingness to invest in the next generation.
Founded in the quiet town of Mannsville, Oklahoma, by Fred Chapman Sr. in 1917, the Ranch was recently awarded the Centennial Ranch Award, presented to a property owned by a family member for at least 100 years and is currently occupied by a family member over age 65.
Although the agricultural industry had its ups and downs throughout the past century, the Chapman family found a way to sustain and grow its family-run operation in an ever-changing industry by adapting and leaning on family through the good times and the bad.
“I’m thankful to the generations before to give me the opportunity to come back,” Eric Chapman said. “It means great pride to have the opportunity to come and try to carry on the legacy of what our forefathers have put together.”
Like many families in the American West, the Chapman’s will tell you that agriculture is not what it once was. Technology, new techniques, and changes in climate led the family to stretch their resources and leave no stone unturned.
“Things are more modernized and everything is so much simpler and better now,” Fred Chapman said. “You can do more with less because that’s the way times are moving. This land is getting smaller because people are moving farther out, so we’re having to figure out how to do more with less.”
The Chapman family continues relying on hunting, real estate opportunities, and other forms of diversification to keep the entire family involved and the business running strong.
Family is the glue that held the business together for all these decades, and the ability to adapt continues to be the secret to the ranch’s longevity.
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