Running the Ranch

Thomas Glascock at his family's cattle ranch

Thomas Glascock has always had a natural way with animals. He found his calling at 4 years old as he proudly stood next to his older sister and showed his first calf. By the age of 6 he had joined the American Junior Red Angus Association and the Texas Junior Red Angus Association and officially showed his first registered Red Angus heifer. He’s never looked back.

“I had a special bond with the young calves,” says Thomas, who was the first person to win the Reserve Supreme heifer at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo with the Red Angus breed. “I like the cattle, and they like me.”

Today, he has translated that passion and gift into his education and career. He runs a successful cattle and forage business that has won two national FFA proficiency awards, and he is in school at Tarleton State in Stephenville, Texas, studying animal science. Thomas has also served as president of the Texas Red Angus Association and a director of the National Junior Red Angus Association.

“Showing cattle is in my genes. This has always been what I want to do,” he says.

A Family Tradition

Growing up in Pilot Point, Texas, Thomas credits his grandfather for getting him started raising cattle.

“Pop watched me show the calf at side for my sister and saw the bond between us. A few months later, he bought me a registered Red Angus heifer calf and gave it to me for my birthday.”

That would be the first registered heifer of many that Thomas showed, and at just 6 years old, he became an important part of his family’s working cattle ranch.

“After that first show, Thomas was hooked,” says his mother and FFA advisor, Tammy Glascock. “He rode in the truck side by side with his Pop as he tended to his cattle, helping out as much as he could. And he helped us with his sister’s cattle.”

His grandparents continued buying him a heifer or cow for a few years, and with their guidance and the help of his parents – both FFA advisors and agricultural science teachers – Thomas was able to start saving money from the calves he sold and increased his herd size.

“Without my family, I would never have been able to achieve my successes,” Thomas says.

Thomas Glascock at his family's cattle ranch

FFA at an Early Age

Being the son of two agricultural science teachers and the younger brother of an award-winning FFA member sister had its advantages.

“I was always tagging along with my parents, going to shows, meetings, contests and conventions just like the high school FFA members, and always dreaming about the day when I would be old enough to join FFA and participate,” Thomas says.

Following in the footsteps of his sister, Rachel, Thomas developed his supervised agricultural experience (SAE) program as a freshman in high school with the advice and assistance of his parents. He started out with registered Red Angus cattle, a show heifer, market pig, market steer and 60 acres of forage utilized for the production of hay for his cattle. The market pig and steer were used to generate additional revenue to support his beef cattle herd.

As he made money from the sales of cattle, market animals, surplus hay and loans, Thomas had the opportunity to grow and expand his herd. Today, his SAE consists of 109 registered Red Angus cattle and six registered Simmental cattle that he raises on 515 acres, as well as 310 acres of native and improved grass pastures for forage production.

“As a sophomore in high school, one day Thomas told me, ‘the harder you work, the luckier you get,’” Tammy says. “I am proud of the young man that he has become in regard to his work ethic, his determination to succeed, his desire to gain knowledge and the fact that he never meets a stranger.”

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Ranching Challenges

Raising cattle may be in his blood, but maintaining and running a cattle ranch as a busy high school student is no easy feat.

“Time management has been one of my greatest challenges,” Thomas says. “Things were especially difficult before I had a driver’s license and had to rely on my family to take me back and forth to my land, which was 45 minutes from my house.”

As a high school student balancing high academic standards, participation in FFA events, his leadership responsibilities on the local and district levels, and other school activities, Thomas had to learn to manage his time wisely in order to stay on top and in control. Now that he attends college two hours from home, he’s had to reevaluate those time constraints and balance his commitment to his cattle operation as well as his classes and part-time work with the Meat Science Lab.

To help with daily management, feeding and calving, Thomas has hired a part-time employee while he is in school.

Future Focused

Thomas’s hero and role model has always been his grandfather, who recently passed away.

“Pop taught high school agriculture for 10 years and agriculture at the college level for 39 years,” Tammy says. “Before he started kindergarten, Thomas spent many a day with his Pop at college. Having both parents and grandparents as public educators, Thomas has always known the value of education. He knows that his success in the beef cattle industry will depend on his education.”

Thomas aims to earn his American FFA Degree and use his college education to better his herd.

“When I first created my SAE, I developed a set of goals that will allow me to grow and expand my operation into a herd of reputable cattle that would be marketable to meet the demands of a purebred breeder, the commercial cattleman and consumer demand,” Thomas says.

He is currently working to improve his herd genetically and phenotypically through artificially inseminated sires, embryo transfer and genetics. He hopes to one day operate a nationally known purebred cattle operation and to serve as a consultant managing and marketing commercial and purebred Red Angus cattle.

“The thing that impresses me so much about Thomas is that he has known since the ninth grade what he wants out of life,” Tammy says. “He and his sister both have set goals, and they work diligently to achieve them. It’s impressive to see the wheels turning in his mind.”

Rachel Glascock helps her brother Thomas eartag a calf. Both Rachel and Thomas have been very successful in their beef cattle and FFA experiences.

– Blair Thomas