First American Ranch, National Resource Director for the Seminole Tribe of Florida Inc.
Founding Member, Alex Johns has the longest ranching history of any FCR Founding Member, dating back to 1521. With a ranching heritage almost 500 years old, it is no wonder he is not sure how many generations of his family have been involved in it. Alex says that his ancestors poached their first cow from the Spanish in 1521, or shortly thereafter. “We were nomadic, free grazing our cattle across Florida until 1957.”
Alex has worked in ranching his entire life. In 1995, Alex inherited the family ranch called First American Ranch. He says it is unique because “it’s Indian owned and part of the oldest cooperative in the United States.” Alex not only works on his own ranch but also manages a ranch for the Seminole Tribe.
Alex is married to Liz, who works with him on the ranch. “Alex is the hardest working man I know,” says Liz… ”his hard work and dedication are very evident in the cattle he produces…he pours his heart and soul into it.” Alex believes that you produce better cattle when you raise them with less stress and in an environment suited to the breed.
He follows the Beef Quality Assurance program standards when raising his cows. Alex says that as cattlemen “we love our cattle.” “My cows’ DNA is my DNA…I take extreme care of their daily needs and wants and always treat them humanely,” he says. His favorite thing about ranching is the calving season, and “seeing new life – the cattle, wildlife, green grass – it’s everywhere you look.”
When it comes to the environment, First American Ranch follows BMPs (Best Management Practices) to protect the Florida water supply and other natural resources. “My father taught me that we must appreciate the responsibility that God gave us to take care of the land.” No doubt this helped form Alex’s personal creed, “Sustainability Defined.”
Alex says that his father also taught him that if he enjoys ranching, it would never be work. Liz feels the same way. “I love everything about it, whether feeding cattle, working them, or riding through to check on them…it’s our way of life.”
“My cows’ DNA is my DNA…I take extreme care of their daily needs and wants and always treat them humanely,”
– Alex Johns