Cattle Ranchers of Florida: Keepers of the Last Frontier

Justin Gopher with cracker horse. Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation, July 2007.

“Keepers of the Last Frontier,” that’s one way to describe Florida’s cowboys.  Maintaining the five century old tradition of cattle ranching in the Sunshine State is challenging as rapid growth continues to encroach on what used to be sprawling cattle ranches.  Donna Green-Townsend talks with two people involved in the effort to save this longtime industry for future generations.  In “Cattle Ranching:  Keepers of the Last Frontier,” she talked with Bob Stone, the Outreach Coordinator for the Florida Department of State’s Folklife Program which has had a travelling exhibit dedicated to the lifestyle of Florida’s cowboys.  She also spoke with the Executive Director of the Conservation Trust for Florida, Busy Shires-Byerly, who is reaching out to cattle ranching families with information about how to conserve their family land through various creative conservation strategies.(From Donna’s audio archives  November 22, 2009)(

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The Musicians

West Florida Wrangler -By Maggie and Michael McKinney (Lucky Mud)

Cow Hunter’s Dream – By Benjamin DeHart

I’m Florida – By Bobby Hicks

Cracker Cowman – By Frank Thomas


Florida Cattle Ranching Exhibit

Florida cattle ranching photos

Conservation Trust for Florida 

State Library and Archives of Florida