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King Ranch® Institute for Ranch Management and Texas A&M University Kingsville Foundation Receive H.R. Smith Ranch

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Artist rendering of the Spanish-style main house of the H.R. Smith Ranch.

Artist rendering of the Spanish-style main house of the H.R. Smith Ranch.

KINGSVILLE (April 19, 2023) – The historic H.R. Smith Ranch near Campbellton, Texas, has been gifted to the Texas A&M University-Kingsville Foundation for the benefit of and to be managed by the King Ranch® Institute for Ranch Management (KRIRM). Gifted through the estate of Mary Carroll Sheets Gregory, H.R. Smith’s only child, the ranch and the accompanying monetary gift are the largest in the University’s history, valued at over $30 million.

The ranch was established in the 1930s by legendary South Texas oilman H.R. Smith and named Hacienda de la Tordilla, or Land/Estate of the Dapple-Grey, for the surrounding hills that resembled the spotted horse at sunset. Spread out over approximately 8,000 acres, H.R. and his family never lived at the ranch full-time but enjoyed it as a retreat, even raising Palomino horses and hosting guests in the meticulously designed Spanish-style main house, which is surrounded by oak trees and sprawling views.

The gift of the H.R. Smith Ranch allows KRIRM to vertically integrate many of its ongoing efforts and will provide a foundation for applied research to support teaching and offer ranch managers the tools and information to successfully create and maintain environmentally sound, socially responsible, and economically viable ranches.

“This is a unique opportunity for KRIRM students to have the ability to conduct applied research on a ranch managed by the Institute,” said Clay Mathis, Ph.D., Director of KRIRM. “This is what we do and what we train them for. Adding this valuable component to their education will not only strengthen their skills, but also set them apart from other ranch management students.”

Through best practices of strategically managing the ranch’s natural resources and various agricultural enterprises, KRIRM will not only ensure the history of the family and the ranch are preserved but will also fulfill its mission to sustain our ranching heritage.


The King Ranch® Institute for Ranch Management (KRIRM) was created in 2003 to educate the next generation of ranch managers and remains the premier Master of Science in Ranch Management program in the world. KRIRM teaches graduate students using a multi-disciplinary, systems approach to ranch management and offers the highest quality lectureships and symposia in the ranching industry. We serve the ranching industry by empowering graduate students and outreach attendees with skills that will enable them to strategically manage complex ranching operations and successfully lead our industry.

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