Terry Stuart Forst to be inducted into the Oklahoma Ag Hall of Fame

On April 16, Terry Stuart Forst of the 7S Stuart Ranch will be inducted into the Oklahoma Agriculture Hall of Fame at the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry in Oklahoma City. The Stuart Ranch, which was established in 1868, is located near Waurika, Oklahoma. It is the oldest and most continuous family-operated ranch in the state.

Terry Stuart Forst. (Photo courtesy Aaron Davis.)

Forst, a fifth-generation rancher, took over management of the 45,000-acre cattle and horse operation in 1992.

“Being honored by the agricultural community means a great deal to me, especially in this state,” Forst said. “There are so many good things in the agricultural community that I could not even begin to list.”

Forst earned her bachelor’s degree in animal science from Oklahoma State University in 1976 before her father, R. T. “Bob” Stuart Jr., offered her the manager position at the Stuart Ranch. He began the Quarter Horse division of the ranch in 1949, and he died in 2001. Forst was one of few women at the time to manage an operation like the Stuart Ranch, but she said gender has never been a factor in her career.

“I am very honored to be a woman in this industry,” Forst said. “I had to earn everything I’ve ever expected to achieve, and I set the bar pretty high for myself. I was not entitled to anything, and I had to work hard for everything that I have received. I know that our industry has been predominantly male in the past, but I never felt like success had anything to do with whether you were a man or woman.”

Forst was named as the Oklahoma Cattleman of the Year and inducted into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame in 2007. In 2014, she was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame. Under her management, the Stuart Ranch has received multiple honors as well, including AQHA Best Remuda Award in 1995. The ranch was inducted into the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2012. Additionally, two horses bred by Forst have been named AQHA World Show Superhorse. The awards and honors she has received are a reflection of the hard work it has taken to maintain and expand the Stuart Ranch during changing times.

“As far as putting this ranch on the right track, my main goal was to make this family operation sustainable for the future,” Forst said. “I wanted my kids and grandkids to partake in the family legacy. That was my mission from the beginning, and I knew I would have to work very hard to accomplish that.”

Forst advises anyone with a multi-generational farm or ranch to invest time in family operations because, although they can be challenging, they are rewarding and worth the work.

“God has blessed me abundantly,” she said. “I mean, my whole family is here—my kids and grandkids. We all work together, but we’ve had some rough patches.”

She said the most important tools for ranch work are a good sense of humor, faith in God and to believe in what you are doing.

Lacey Vilhauer can be reached at 620-227-1871 or [email protected].

Terry Stuart Forst (center), along with her two sons, Clay and Robert. (Photo courtesy Jordan Advertising.)