The Powell Ranching Operation began in the late 1800’s when Leonidas Polk Powell, the grandfather of James L. Powell, moved to Texas from Tennessee as a teenager. Leonidas began to homestead ranches in the Texas panhandle and New Mexico to make a living. In 1918, he was homesteading near Roswell, NM. That year brought the coldest winter on record that endangered his flock of Rambouillet Sheep, so Leonidas decided to make a permanent move back to Texas.
Leonidas left his teenage son, Virgil Powell, in charge of his livestock while travelling to Texas to buy land. Virgil received by wire his father’s message to ship the flock to Big Lake, Texas, where Leonidas purchased a ranch in Crockett County south of the town. From Crockett County, the Powell family spread their operation into Schleicher, Sutton, Menard, Reagan, and Tom Green Counties, and Cherry County Nebraska.
When Jimmie married Nancy Hunt, from Sonora, Texas, their operation incorporated parts of the Bryan Hunt cattle, Angora Goat, and Rambouillet Sheep operation in Sutton and Edwards Counties.
Today, Jimmie and Nancy's family operate ranches in Schleicher, Tom Green, Sutton, and Menard Counties. Jimmie and his father, Virgil, began raising Registered Hereford Cattle in the 1950s, and Jimmie instituted a bull sale in 1997. Today, in addition to Registered Hereford Cattle, the Powell Operation includes a seedstock herd of purebred Angus Cattle, a commercial herd of Angus/ Hereford cross cattle, and a flock of Rambouillet Sheep. The headquarters are located on the Six Mile Ranch in Schleicher County, where the bull sale occurs each October. The operation is overseen by Jimmie, his children and grandchildren and a capable staff managed by ranch manager David Neal.