Higher education a tradition for northeastern New Mexico ranching family

Higher education and ranching go hand-in-hand for the Davis family, who own a 130,000-acre ranch in Colfax County near Cimarron, New Mexico.

“Les felt you had to have an education if you were going to amount to anything,” says Linda Davis ’99 of her late husband. “All six of our children went to college, the boys to New Mexico State and the girls to Sul Ross and the University of New Mexico.”

Linda Davis, matriarch of the CS Cattle Company ranch, recalls her life in ranching.

Attending college was expected of the Davis siblings; their family has a long tradition of higher education beginning with their great-grandparents. Davis’ sons, Warren ’77, Randy ’80, Kirk ’81 and Bruce ’82, who graduated from what was then called the College of Agriculture and Home Economics.

The Davis brothers combine their agricultural degrees in animal science, agronomy, ag mechanics and ag economics to manage the CS Cattle Company, which was founded in 1873 by their father’s grandfather, Frank Springer, a territorial lawyer. Since 2016, the CS Cattle Company has hosted the New Mexico Youth Ranch Management Camp. The program is conducted by NMSU’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences Cooperative Extension Service.

The ranch operation is a family affair, with sisters Julia Davis Stafford sharing her natural resource and water law knowledge from her UNM law degree, and Kim Barmann contributing her knowledge of regenerating the soil, as well as veterinary assistant skills from her days at Sul Ross State University in Texas.

“Being able to work with my brothers and sisters is tremendous,” Randy says. “It takes everybody to keep the ranch going, to make it successful.”

The Aggie tradition continued as four grandchildren attended NMSU. Randy’s sons, Ryan Davis ’05 and Christiaan Davis ’10, and Barmann’s daughter, Leslie Blakney ’10 are graduates.

The Davis family has supported NMSU through the decades with contributions to numerous colleges, programs and scholarships. These include creating a fund to assist with alumni outreach in northeast New Mexico. This fund was established in memory of Les Davis’ commitment to northern New Mexico. They also have established memorial endowed scholarships in honor of Linda’s family. Their commitment to support students and university programs is a true testament to their love for NMSU.

Jane Moorman

Linda and Les Davis’ family owns and runs the CS Cattle Company ranch near Cimarron, New Mexico. All six of their children attended college, and the four boys graduated from NMSU. The family photo includes Randy Davis (standing from left), Bruce Davis, Ryan Davis, Christiaan Davis, Linda M. Davis, Les Davis, Warren Davis, Walt Davis, Kirk Davis, Kimberly Barmann, Sara Davis (seated from left), Trina Davis, Ben Davis, Kelly Barmann, Mary Davis and Leslie Barmann.

Linda Mitchell Davis and Alvy Ray Smith were recipients of honorary doctorates at NMSU’s December 1999 Commencement ceremony.