Jim has six decades of ranching experience and comes from a family that has been ranching in Florida since the Civil War. Jim grew up ranching with his father along the west coast of Florida. When his father died in the 1960’s Jim took over the family cattle operations at the age of 17, primarily leasing land for cattle. His passion for conservation began at a young age, as increasing development pushed him farther and farther inland. Jim is the owner of Strickland Ranch and managing partner of Big Red Cattle Company and Blackbeard’s Ranch, Ranch, a 4,530 acre cow/calf operation that borders Myakka State Park and contains slough systems that feed the Myakka River and drinking water downstream. He is pursuing state and federal conservation easements on Blackbeard’s Ranch and is involved in local food initiatives. Jim’s goal is to develop Blackbeard’s as a model for sustainable agriculture and conservation. Jim is a leader in the local food movement.
His beef is sold at the award-winning Ulele Restaurant, and the ranch also supplies wildflower honey to Ulele Spring Brewery. He’s also one of 13 owners of Florida Cattle Ranchers Inc. a Fresh from Florida company that produces local beef for Florida. Jim is a passionate advocate for Florida agriculture and conservation, and is a spokesperson for ranchers across the state on the need for conservation funding to protect Florida. He served as president of the FL Cattleman’s Association, past chairman of the FL Cattleman’s Foundation, chairman of the National Cattleman’s Beef Association PAC and he currently sits on the board of the Florida Agriculture Center and Horse Park, Archbold Biological Station, Florida Conservation Group and numerous other positions.