Not long ago a fellow I know said, “I can’t understand why people around here refer to their fifty acre properties as ranches.” To which I replied, “Because that’s what the word actually means.”
For example, the Apache had settlements the Spanish called Rancherias and that name is still used in parts of Mexico for agrarian farming settlements. In fact, the term “ranch” as applied today is a distortion of the original meaning of the word which was a small farm. In South Texas the term ranch is employed in its traditional sense and families refer to their rural homesteads as ranches.
Here’s an interesting site on the Native Peoples of South Texas. You can read more about Apache Rancherias at this site.