Each year, Audubon honors a rancher who has demonstrated exemplary environmentally-sustainable ranching practices and makes efforts to conserve native wildlife habitat. Audubon is honored to be able to present this award to Jim Strickland this year.
Jim Strickland grew up ranching with his father along the west coast of Florida in the 1950s and 1960s. Jim took over the family cattle operations at the age of 17 when his father passed away.
Jim is the owner of Strickland Ranch and managing partner of Big Red Cattle Company and Blackbeard’s Ranch, a 4,530-acre cow/calf operation that borders Myakka State Park. Blackbeard’s Ranch is located just east of the Sarasota-Bradenton Metro Area—one of the fastest growing regions in the country; large intact ranches are becoming increasingly rare in this part of Florida. The ranch provides an important buffer to the Myakka River State Park protects the headwaters to two significant slough systems that drain into the river and helps maintain water quality and quantity downstream in the Myakka River and Charlotte Harbor Estuary.