Near the mountains of Rosedale, Va., sits Stuart Land and Cattle Company, the oldest operating cattle ranch in the country.
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Sixteen thousand acres of grass and timberland make up the 1774-established family ranch run by a board of directors, ranch hands and —the glue holding it all together — Lynda Stuart.
Rewind to the 1950s and Stuart was growing up in the California sunshine on her father’s dairy farm.
“My father was a veterinarian in California,” she recalls. “When I was about 6 years old, he sold his practice and went into the dairy business, producing milk and shipping bred dairy heifers to Hawaii. I grew up at his side. Where he would go, I would follow.”