Details for Pat Higgins Grass Farms (Atlas Number 5507017535)

Historical Marker — Atlas Number 5507017535


Marker Number 17535
Atlas Number 5507017535
Marker Title Pat Higgins Grass Farms
Index Entry Pat Higgins Grass Farms
Address FM 539
City Sutherland Springs
County Wilson
UTM Zone 14
UTM Easting 592177
UTM Northing 3240114
Subject Codes farms
Marker Year 2013
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark No
Private Property No
Marker Location FM 539 at E. 3rd St.
Marker Condition In Situ
Marker Size 27" x 42" with post
Marker Text Pattillo “Pat” Higgins was born in 1910 in Houston to Pattillo “bud” Higgins, sr. And Annie Jahn Higgins. Bud owned oil properties in Chambers and Bexar Counties and, in 1925, began to purchase land in Sutherland Springs. After a short time at the University of Texas, Pat joined his dad on the Higgins Oil Leases. Continuing his father’s quest for oil, Pat began to drill in Sutherland Springs but, by 1937, he decided to try ranching instead. He purchased land and began to experiment with new forage grasses. In 1941, he consulted with the Wilson County Soil Conservation (C.S.C.) District and worked hard to grow grasses but was unsuccessful. Following six years of failure, in 1949, Pat and the C.S.C. learned to compact the soil and were finally successful. By late August 1949, all the grasses were dead except for one row of buffelgrass. Word began to spread about buffelgrass and, in the next eleven years, over 12,000 visitors were registered at the farm. Pat built a small runway for planes to accommodate visitors from Hawaii, France, Africa and Australia. A variety of native grasses were put into commercial production. Pat employed around 200 men and women to harvest grass seeds by hand prior to inventing a mechanical harvester he named the “bug catcher.” In 1957, Higgins earned the soil conservation award for irrigation water management. By 1958, Pat had 50 varieties and strains under observation. Before his death in 1961, Pat discovered the parent plant to buffelgrass and named it Higgins buffelgrass which produced higher yields and was more persistent. Buffelgrass became a mainstay on the famous King Ranch in Texas and the Parker Ranch in Hawaii. Higgins became known as the “Grass King of the Southwest.”