We are Richard and Cindy Traylor, from New Waverly, Texas. We own 20 acres and raised cattle on it since 1997. I always hated that Richard would take the babies to market. It made me sick, yet this was our life since we moved to the property. In late 2018, one of my favorite momma cows, Honey, hurt her leg badly. This normally would mean being sent to the sale barn. I was really upset and I pleaded with Richard to let me find an alternative. I talked with A&M veterinary services and discussed options with them. It didn’t seem to be the answer, so I started researching sanctuaries as a desperate attempt to extend her life.
Living in Texas, I didn’t hold out much hope, but I found a couple of places and the second call was to Rowdy Girl Sanctuary. Renee was out of the office, so I left my information and hoped that I would get a call back soon. As luck would have it, Renee called back as soon as she got back in. I was frazzled and when Renee sounded so concerned for Honey, I broke down and sobbed. Through my tears, I told my story about how Honey was a tame, gentle cow who loved all the babies. She was bullied by the momma cows, but the babies loved her. She would “babysit” for them often and took care of them. Renee told me she would do her best to find a placement for Honey.
I told Richard afterward and he was skeptical, but agreed to wait to see what Renee could find. She called me back, I think the next day and told me she thought she found a place for Honey. I was ecstatic! However, this placement was not to be, so Renee found another sanctuary that was willing to take her in. We made arrangements for Renee and Tommy to come to our place and help us take Honey in our trailer.
Renee and Tommy came to our home and we talked at length about RGS and what they stood for. During our conversation, Richard had an epiphany. He recognized that being an environmentalist, he was a hypocrite if he took the cows to market! It came out that Honey had a calf names Ginger, and he agreed to let Ginger go with Honey! We traveled to Starlove Ranch, and met Hollie and Dave, who were in the RAP program with RGS.
We continued to talk with Renee and Tommy over the next year, to come up with ideas on what to do with our remaining cattle. We had decided not to ever take another animal to the sale barn, so we needed to come up with a plan. It was finally offered to us that RGS would take in our five remaining cattle; Monty, Minnie, Missy, Cinnie and Sammie! We gradually got them to RGS, where they are happy and carefree with the RGS herd!
Renee had previously asked if we wanted to become a member of their RAP program, and we enthusiastically agreed! Renee set up zoom meetings with the “best of the best’ in agriculture and ranching. Individuals who gave us many ideas on what would suit us. Since we are not youngsters, we needed something that would not be too labor intensive.
Some of the ideas were growing peas, hemp, bamboo, microgreens, mushrooms, olive trees, fava beans and lentils. We have waffled back-and-forth for about a year, and are now zeroing in on the possibility of starting a vertical farming operation. This entire time, Renee and Tommy have always been available to toss ideas back-and-forth and to give us emotional support and links to information that would help us come up with the best possible options. We do not know how they do it, however, this team has boundless energy and we really appreciate all the help that has been offered to us…with no strings attached…completely free.
We are now in the process of talking with a company that provides all the equipment, training and support to start our new venture. We are keeping Renee and Tommy informed and they are helping us by providing links to possible grants and loans, as well as, continuing to look at options for us. We are considering growing microgreens, edible flowers and mushrooms. We are also talking with our alma mater, Sam Houston State University Small Business Center, to possibly come up with a partnership with the Ag Department to help us be the best we can be. We want to provide vegan produce to our community that is healthier and tastier than what can be found in the usual markets.
Without Renee and Tommy’s encouragement and support, we would not have even thought about this endeavor. We will continue to work with them and help educate other ranchers who may not have thought outside the box, and realize that there can be a good career path in agriculture doesn’t have to encompass using animals in a system that is cruel and very stressful for everyone involved.
Thank you, Renee and Tommy for everything you have done for us and for continuing to endlessly creating awareness in the agriculture field! We love y’all!!