Williamson Cattle Company
Williamson Cattle Company is a diverse family agricultural operation running approximately 8,000 head of cattle with calves on acreage in Okeechobee, Florida, Alabama and Texas, along with citrus in Florida and catfish in Alabama. Rural Okeechobee County, with a population of 40,000 people and 150,000 cattle is located within 150 miles of 15 million people in densely populated south Florida. Uniquely, South Florida is also home to approximately 1/4 of the cattle ranches in the US with herds exceeding 2500 head. WCC was the first cattle ranch east of the Mississippi to win the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Environmental Stewardship Award in 2004.
History of Williams Cattle Company
History of the Business Frank Williamson Senior’s father, John Williamson, came to Florida in 1896. Frank Williamson Sr. came to Okeechobee in 1941 from Pinellas County and purchased the land, which came to be known as Williamson Cattle Company in the late 1940s. Frank “Sonny” Williamson Jr. and his son Frank “Wes” Williamson III currently run the 9,000-acre Okeechobee ranch. Wes’ son John Williamson, the fourth generation cattleman of the family, runs the Alabama ranch and his daughter Heather Williamson-Rucks is also active in the business.
The Oak of Compassion by Robert Butler At some later time he divided the property into two parts: the Caloosa Ranch to the east of the old railroad grade, and the Williamson Ranch to the west, which I think he retained as personal property.
2003 Ag-Environmental: Williamson Cattle Company
Agriculture-Environmental Leadership Award
Frank “Sonny” Williamson Jr, President, Williamson Cattle Company: Dad and I talked about the idea that we did not want to destroy the wonderful environmental qualities that we saw all around us. We wanted to keep most of that beauty and I’m talking about the, the swamp lands and the hammock lands and some of the pine forests and the palmetto areas have been kept also. So we just developed that area that for cattle it was the best for that forage and for citrus it was just the very best for growing citrus trees. And we left a large part of the ranch in its natural environmental condition.
Using technology, the company is able to track each commodity, helping it remain economically viable. To reduce production costs without decreasing production, the ranch uses computer programs to follow trends in the marketplace.
About the Founder
FRANK WESLEY WILLIAMSON, SR. was very good at seeing things as they could be, rather than as they were. I have no idea of the number of people he helped behind the scenes. I can name several that owe their education to him. I am one of them. He was embarrassed when people would thank him for the help. He’d shrug it off like it was a part of a bigger plan. Most of them have paid him back, some could not. It didn’t matter to him either way. He advised, “Cast a little bread on the waters, but look downstream to see who gets it.” I told him once that I would never be able to pay him back for all that he had done for me. He said he didn’t expect it. He said, “When you get a chance, just pass it on.”
The following is an excerpt from a book entitled The Green Jeep by Howard S. Jones, step-son of Frank Wesley Williamson, Sr. granddaddy.