OWNER, STRICKLAND RANCH, MYAKKA CITY
“I’ve been a rancher my whole life, and it’s all I ever wanted to do. I love the cows, the woods and the wildlife,” says Jim Strickland. A Manatee County native, Strickland comes from a family that has been ranching in Florida since before the Civil War. He took over his family’s ranch when he was still a teenager, following the death of his father. “Ranchers need to constantly evolve and adapt to outside pressures that affect our ability to do our job,” he says. “Balancing these growth and development pressures with our sustainable food production and natural resource conservation is a constant challenge.”
Today, Strickland owns Strickland Ranch and is managing partner of Big Red Cattle and Blackbeard’s Ranch, a 4,530-acre cow-calf operation that borders Myakka River State Park.
A vice chairman of the Florida Conservation Group, Strickland is seeking to protect Blackbeard’s Ranch from future development by seeking conservation easements for land. “Many folks don’t realize that profitable cow-calf ranches are critical to keeping an open and wild landscape,” he says. “These ranches are largely natural; they provide wildlife habitat and drinking water for urbanized areas.”