TSCRA Mission and History
Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association – protecting the stewards of land and livestock in the Southwest.
A Brief History of Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association
Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association was founded by 40 cattlemen in 1877 in Graham, Texas, under the name of the Stock-Raisers’ Association of North-West Texas. These cattlemen created the association to fight cattle theft in the region.
In 1893, cattlemen dropped the regional name for the more appropriate title—Cattle Raisers Association of Texas. In so doing, it brought in cattlemen from other small, regional associations to strengthen the original northwest group.
In March 1921, the cattlemen adopted the name of TSCRA when the association merged with Panhandle and Southwestern Stockmen’s Association, a group formed in 1880 by Charles Goodnight to protect the Texas Panhandle during the days of the big trail fights. The bigger, stronger association boasted members from throughout the southwestern United States, as well as from Mexico, Haiti, New York, Michigan and other outlying states. Today, TSCRA has more than 15,000 members ranching in Texas, Oklahoma and surrounding states.
TSCRA has gained worldwide respect through the vigilance of its special rangers, who became peace officers in 1893. With more than a century of law enforcement behind them, the special rangers remain the backbone of TSCRA.
TSCRA maintains a staff of more than 25 special rangers stationed strategically in multiple-county districts throughout Texas and Oklahoma. The number of cattle, number of members and the square miles of area involved determine the size of each district.
TSCRA special rangers, who the late cowman-author J. Frank Dobie compared favorably with the Texas Rangers, Scotland Yard and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, remain in the forefront of beating back the ever-present threat of cattle theft. The special rangers in Texas are commissioned as peace officers by the Texas Department of Public Safety. In Oklahoma they are commissioned by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
They are charged with the primary responsibility of assisting with the investigation of livestock thefts and other ranch-related property losses. The special rangers may also inspect some cattle shipments from individual ranches, when requested, before movement to other ranches or feedlots in or out of state. Investigations and inspections of shipments are performed without regard to whether an individual is a TSCRA member.
In Texas, special rangers also supervise TSCRA market inspectors, who conduct inspections of cattle at the state’s auction markets. TSCRA’s market inspectors inspect more than 5 million head of cattle annually and record a complete description of each animal, including, color, sex, age, class and horn information, in addition to earmarks and brands. This information, including the name of the consignor, is entered into the association’s database.
Many cattle thefts are solved and thieves apprehended through the use of TSCRA’s brand inspection program and database.
TSCRA maintains a website available to law enforcement officials worldwide. It includes information on stolen or strayed cattle and horses, stolen saddles, tractors, trailers and other miscellaneous ranch property.
TSCRA also maintains a file of more than 100,000 recorded brands in Texas.
As the association has grown, so have the challenges to cattlemen beyond cattle theft. TSCRA is recognized as a spokesman for the Texas cattle industry statewide and nationally on legislation, animal care, regulatory matters and other things which might affect the best interests of cattlemen.
TSCRA works closely with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, the U.S. Meat Export Federation and the Texas Beef Council, all of which it helped found, as well as other livestock groups, on issues of mutual interest.
Cattle Raisers Insurance offers health, life and dental insurance to members, their families and employees. Recent additions include a Medicare supplement plan and supplement plans offering accident, cancer and life policies for members. Cattle Raisers Insurance also provides assistance to members in obtaining all lines of property, casualty, business, automobile, homeowners, animal mortality, and long-term care coverage, as well as workers’ compensation insurance, through the TSCRA group purchase program.
TSCRA also offers valuable discount programs with leading companies in the automotive, computer hardware and software, ranch equipment and credit card industries.
The association publishes the daily e-mail The Cattleman News Update and, since 1914, has published The Cattleman magazine, one of the nation’s most respected and quoted livestock trade journals.