A youngTexas rancher is using his role in a Hollywood-produced film to tell his story and educate consumers about their food choices.
Imagine this. You’re pulling into your driveway after a long day’s work. Your cell phone rings and it’s a number from someplace you don’t frequent. You answer out of curiosity. The voice on the other end says his name is James. He says he’s a movie producer from Hollywood and he wants you to be a part of a documentary he’s doing about farming and ranching from the perspective of young men and women in the industry.
Enter Brad Bellah of Throckmorton, Texas. He’s a 27-year old earning his living in the cattle industry to provide for his wife and nine-month old twins. And he made his big-screen debut earlier in May.
While the phone call described above really happened for Bellah, it’s the experiences he had growing up on a multi-generational ranch and his personal decision to return home after college to follow in the footsteps of his family members that made that fateful phone call possible in the first place.
Bellah is the sixth generation to live and work on his family’s ranch, the R.A. Brown Ranch. The ranch started in the 1890’s when his great great great great grandfather, R.H. Brown, bought land in Throckmorton County and then in the early 1900s brought the first Hereford cattle to the county. Over the past century, the ranch has grown into a well-respected operation with Angus, Red Angus, SimAngus, Simmental and Hotlander cattle, and Quarter Horse broodmares on approximately 40,000 acres in Texas and Colorado.
After graduating from Texas Tech University with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications, Bellah weighed his career options, which included trading in his spurs for a suit and tie, and heading to Washington, D.C., as well as job offers in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and the Lubbock areas. In the end, he decided it was time to head home.
“As millennials, we were all expecting awesome jobs and top salaries, but when we graduated in 2009, that wasn’t the case,” he says. “At the same time I was looking at my options, my dad was in a spot where he needed help. So I made the decision to start out there for a year and see how things went. Here I am five years later and I don’t see myself doing anything else.”
On a daily basis, Bellah is responsible for looking after a stocker operation as well as a conventional commercial Angus cow-calf herd, a purebred Angus cow-calf herd, and an All-Natural Angus cow-calf herd for his parents, Jody and Betsy Bellah.