Meet the Future Monday: Landry Murdock of Lincoln County

By Justin Young, TCA Intern

Landry Murdock and Murdock Farms are the subjects of this week’s “Meet the Future Monday.” Murdock Farms is in Lincoln County, Tennessee, in the small town of Petersburg. Landry operates a 300-acre diversified livestock operation. Landry is a Senior at MTSU, majoring in Agribusiness. He is actively involved in Alpha Gamma Rho, and he volunteers often at the Lincoln County Animal shelter. Landry is a very lively and energetic, respectful and passionate person. While being an active community member, he is a constant advocate of agriculture, using any opportunities he gets to educate others about agriculture and the beef industry. Landry participates in Ag Literacy Week, where he reads agricultural books to young children in schools. Landry is a great example of hard work and determination for other aspiring farmers. Landry Murdock and Murdock Farms is another great display of Tennessee’s great generation of up and coming, young farmers. Get to know him below!

murdock 2Q: How long has your family been farming?

A: I am the fourth-generation farmer; my family raised 100 head of dairy cattle through 1997, and then transitioned to 100 head of beef until 2005. Between 2005 and 2007, we did not farm, but in late 2007 my grandad gave me 2 Angus bottle heifers and that is where my original herd started. When my grandfather, who I love and respect greatly, passed away from cancer in 2009, I received 15 head of his beef herd and have continued from there.

Q: What have you enjoyed most about growing up on the farm?

A: The lessons learned, the hard work, and the relationships have all been the most enjoyable. I have been raising some sort of animal since I was 4 years old; having these experiences have made me a better person and has helped me in all walks of life. Additionally, anyone who knows me probably knows that I love animals. I have raised goats, chickens, sheep, and beef, and have always had dogs on the farm, and that is certainly one of my favorite parts of farming.

Q: Who has been your biggest role model in pursuing your farming aspirations?

A: Both of my grandfathers have been instrumental in my passion for agriculture and farming. I can’t say enough to describe how much they have impacted and enabled me to do what I love. They were both big-time farmers in Petersburg, and I look to continue the same tradition.

murdock.jpgQ: Describe your operation…

A: I have a commercial herd of 42 beef cows made up of Angus cross, Saler, and Charolais. I also have 50 head of Khatadin/Dorper ewes, and around 30 chickens.

Q: What are you most passionate about in your operation?

A: I am most passionate about keeping my farm going for years to come, as it means a lot to me to be able to farm this land. I am an avid outdoorsman and enjoy the lifestyle that accompanies farming as well.

Q: What are some of the greatest challenges that you face as a young farmer?

A: Right now, and for the last 3 years I have been balancing school, a job, and the farm; that has been a challenge itself. Being so young and in this phase of life, finances can be tricky, but the hardest part is farming alone and running back and forth from Murfreesboro and Petersburg.

Q: Where do you see yourself and your operation in 10 years?

A: In 10 years, I would like to see my beef herd at 100 cows and 300 ewes. I will be in my early 30’s after 10 years, and I hope to farm full-time by then.

Q: How will you continue to improve and grow your operation?

A: I look to improve both my commercial beef and sheep operation through genetic selection and further education. I would like to see myself able to maximize the efficiency of my pastures, develop better marketing strategies, and add acres to my farm, reaching 1,000 acres eventually.

murdock-3.pngQ: How do you intend to leave your footprint on the beef industry in Tennessee?

A: I would like to have my farm established and prepared to leave to my children someday; continuing this farm would mean so much to me. Additionally, I would like to continue my advocacy of the beef industry, but also farming. I enjoy informing others and teaching them about the value of agriculture, hopefully debunking a lot of silly misinformation and myths about the industry.

Q: What could the existing farmers do most to help young farmers such as yourself?

A: The older generation of producers could mentor, teach, and develop relationships with the younger generation of farmers to further educate them. Simply inviting someone to your farm to explain the operation can be very valuable to a young farmer. Personally, I really enjoy when the older generation wants to help me, because frankly since I am young, I do not always know everything.

Q: What is your favorite beef dish?

A: Filet Mignon cooked medium-rare!

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Farm Feature Friday: Dwight & Cheri Watson of Giles County, Tennessee

By Justin Young, TCA Intern

Dwight and Cheri Watson run a commercial beef operation on their farm, “Ridgeway,” in the Giles County community of Bunker Hill. Dwight and Cheri are full-time farmers who have made their farm their business. Dwight is a long-established, quality beef producer and serves as a wonderful example to other producers and aspiring producers; there is much to learn from a man like Dwight. I am very confident to say that Watson is easily one of Giles County’s best. Dwight is actively involved in his community, serving on the FSA committee, and in the past has been on the Giles County Cattlemen’s Association board. Take some time to get to know Dwight below!

watson 2Q: How long have you and your family been involved in raising cattle? Tell us about how it got started.

A: My family has been directly involved in beef production dating back to the 1930’s.

I was raised on and have been on the farm and actively involved in production agriculture my whole life.

Q: Tell us about your farm today. 

A: My wife and I run 120 commercial beef cattle, made up of mainly Angus, but also some Simmental mixed in there. We sell grouped, preconditioned and backgrounded calves in an alliance formed by some other Giles County producers (*They will host a heifer sale on the first Saturday of October this coming fall*). Land and community improvement is what I am most proud of in my operation. I have been able to covert some old/abandoned farms, and turn them into nice looking, productive lands that help my operation, while also helping the aesthetics of the community.

Q: What was your favorite part about growing up on the farm?

A: Looking back, my favorite part about growing up on the farm was going out with my grandad and helping him move cattle around to different pastures. He was using rotational grazing methods far before it became a popular practice.

Q: What have been some of the trials you or your family has had to overcome?

A: We encountered quite a bit of dry weather in 2007, and of course the low commodity prices due to the economic downturn around that time. However, things have improved from there.

watson 1Q: What is one thing you wish more people knew about life on the farm?

A: While the lifestyle is very rewarding and enjoyable, people also must realize that it isn’t all fun and games all the time; this is your livelihood when you farm full-time. Your day on the farm doesn’t consist of petting baby calves, but instead, it involves pasture management, fixing fences and equipment etc. You must understand that the farm is a production business, but you also get to enjoy the many aspects of farm life while making a living.

Q: What is your favorite aspect of farming?

A: I really enjoy weighing, weaning/backgrounding, because that essentially is your scorecard for the year. When they step on the scale, you see what you have done well, or what you may be to improve; it is very rewarding to see your final product.

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges that producers like yourself face day-to-day?

A: The daily “odds and ins” of the operation can be challenging sometimes. Specifically, managing weeds has been a challenge for me at times, but I am starting to see drastic improvements through further management. Your pastures are the main source of nutrients for your product, so it is imperative that they are maintained well, and it takes some significant time and effort.

watson 3Q: What are you most passionate about in the beef industry?

A: I am a strong advocate of improving the quality of our calf crops through backgrounding and preconditioning our calves. Aside from that, being good stewards of the land is something I pride myself on. I like to say, “leave it better than you found it,” so that’s something I try to live by. Implementing conservation practice is very important to the longevity of your land and operation itself.

Q: Do you have any advice for young Tennessee cattle producers about the business?

A: I would encourage any young producer, or even current producer to emphasize the importance and efficiency of their grasses, nutritional programs, and genetic programs. In addition to that, I would also encourage producers to stay actively learning about new conservation practices so that we are constantly improving the land, and in turn our final product.

Q: What’s your favorite beef dish?

A: New York Strip medium-rare

UT Schedules Beef Heifer Development School for March 22

Tennessee Beef Heifer Development CenterThe University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture will conduct a Beef Heifer Development School on Thursday, March 22. The event kicks off at 10 a.m. CDT. The school will be conducted at the Tennessee Beef Heifer Development Center located at the UT AgResearch and Education Center in Lewisburg, and the cost to attend the one-day event is $15 per participant.
“Replacement heifers are critical to the future of any beef herd. This event will hit on some topics that will definitely benefit beef producers and their herds. Plus this will be an excellent opportunity for producers to see the center’s facilities and learn more about our efforts to improve the state’s beef herds and help Tennessee producers prosper,” says Matthew Webb, UT Extension director and agriculture agent in Marshall County.
The Tennessee Beef Heifer Development Center, which opened in October 2015, was built specifically to develop and breed heifers. In addition, UTIA researchers have been evaluating intensive management practices in an effort to educate producers on the best ways to improve the replacement heifer process.
The school will emphasize reproductive success and calving management for heifers through hands-on demonstrations of reproductive and carcass ultrasound, breeding management, feed bunk management, grazing and a calving simulator.
“Replacement heifer development is expensive because of the time and resources it takes until a young female produces a marketable calf on her own,” says Kevin Thompson, director of the Middle Tennessee and Dairy AgResearch and Education centers. “This program is demonstrating proper replacement heifer development to beef cattle producers and increasing the opportunity for custom replacement heifer development.”
The cost to attend the school is $15 and includes lunch. Contact the UT Extension Office in Marshall County at 931-359-1929 to preregister by March 16. You may also email Webb at dwebb15@utk.edu. Onsite registration will also be available, but lunch can only be guaranteed to those who preregister.
Those unable to attend can learn more about the UT Beef Heifer Development program by contacting their local county UT Extension agent. Additional information can also be found online at utbeef.com .
The Tennessee Beef Heifer Development Center is a partnership between the UT Institute of Agriculture, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and Tennessee Farmers Co-op.

McCoy, Watson Elected to Tennessee Cattlemen’s Leadership

Larry McCoy of Ripley, TN was recently elected to serve as the District 2 Vice President of the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association. Neil Watson of Petersburg, TN was also elected and will serve as the District 3 Vice President. McCoy is replacing outgoing VP, Kirk Daniel, and Watson replaces Tommy Mize.

larry-mccoy.jpgMcCoy is a cow-calf producer from West Tennessee and has been in the cattle business since he was 12-years-old. McCoy and his wife, Alice, have been married for 28 years and have four children and eight grandchildren.

McCoy has years of leadership, including the role of past-president of TCA,  is honored to once again serve on the board.

“During my first term on the board, Steve Scott and I were in the transition period of hiring a new Executive Vice President for the association,” said McCoy. “Since then the cattle association has been moving forward and I am excited to help make sure it keeps going in the right direction.”

Neil WatsonWatson is a stocker calf operator from Lincoln County, Tennessee. He attended the University of Tennessee and has a family of five that includes his wife and four daughters. Watson is a very active and valuable cattle producer. He currently runs approximately 400 black Angus stocker calves through his farm per year.

“We are looking forward to having Neil on our board, being that he is from Lincoln County, one of our strongest and most active county associations,” said Charles Hord, executive vice president of TCA. “His voice for those producers will be invaluable.”

If you are in these districts, please feel free to contact these gentlemen with any questions, concerns or ideas you have for TCA.

 

 

Tennessee Cattlemen’s Announces New Show Point Program for Youth

CR 12

The Tennessee Cattlemen’s recently announced the creation of a new show point circuit at select cattle shows across the state. The show point program was made to encourage youth involvement at cattle shows and other agricultural events, and provide a recruitment opportunity for state universities.

The program is called “Tennessee’s Top Tier—TCA Show Point Challenge” and began with the MTSU Block & Bridle Preview Show on Sat. Feb. 17. The circuit will run through Dec. 31, 2019, with awards being presented at the 2019 TCA Convention and Trade Show.

“The TCA Show Points Challenge is just another avenue for us to encourage and reward young people that are involved in our industry,” said Charles Hord, executive vice president of TCA. “We have made a commitment to the future of the cattle business and we want to encourage youth participation in our industry.”

Shows on the 2018 circuit will include: MTSU Block & Bridle Preview Show; Tennessee Beef Agribition, March 11th; TN Tech Purple and Gold Showdown, tentatively 1st weekend in June; Tennessee Beef Expo, July 12-13th; Tennessee State Fair, tentatively 1st weekend in September; UTK Rocky Top Classic, December 1st; UTM Student Cattlemen’s, TBD.

Youth that are eligible to participate must be under 21 years of age and a TCA youth member.

More information including point values, awards, and rules can be found at HERE or in the March issue of the Tennessee Cattle Business magazine. Please direct any questions to tncattlecommunications@gmail.com.

Meet the Future Monday: Madison Martin of Monroe County, Tennessee

By Melinda Perkins, TCA Intern

Martin2Today’s “Meet the Future Monday” is no stranger to the Tennessee cattle industry whether it be from the show ring, leadership roles in the industry, or representing our state at national cattle events. Madison Martin plays a vital role in advancing not only her operation, Volunteer Simmentals in Monroe County but also the cattle industry…all while maintaining her school work and time on the University of Tennessee Livestock Judging Team. The future is in good hands with producers like Madison.

Describe your operation.

Our operation is formally known as Volunteer Simmentals. We are based in Southeast Tennessee and primarily run a Simmental seedstock operation. In recent years, my goal has been to incorporate progressive genetics using the ChiAngus and Maintainer breeds to raise high-quality show stock for juniors nationwide.

What have you enjoyed most about growing up on the farm?

Growing up on a farm definitely has its advantages and disadvantages. However, one thing I have enjoyed most about growing up on the farm is getting to spend time with my family, and specifically, having the opportunity to farm with my grandfather. Something farm kids know well is how wise our elders are and we get the unique experience to learn and grow alongside them.

martin3.jpgWho has been your biggest role model in pursuing your farming aspirations?

My biggest role model would have to be my late grandfather. Pop made sure we upheld a strict code of conduct whether it be how we handled ourselves ringside or the type of cattle we strived to exhibit. More than that, he made sure we loved this way of life. I can whole-heartedly say that I love this way of life because of my grandfather. I am actually the only grandkid to have remained within the beef cattle industry.

What are you most passionate about in your business?

I am fortunate to be able to do something I love each and every day but I am even more fortunate to be able to try MY ideas on the farm. Like I mentioned earlier, we strive to run a progressive operation where we experiment with different feeds and genetic combinations. I think it is awesome that whenever I have an idea to take our operation to the next level, my dad never hesitates to let me implement it.

What are some of the greatest challenges that you face as a young farmer?

One of the biggest challenges we have been facing is consumer perception, and, with the way our society is changing, we as young farmers need to tackle this head-on. But more than that, new, younger farmers are a dying breed.  We need to advocate for our way of life so that we can keep it alive and encourage others to join us! (And I know that is a hard concept for many people of the farming community to accept)

Martin1Where do you see yourself and your operation in 10 years?

In ten years, I hope to have grown my operation into twice the size that it is now. I also hope to have a law degree within ten years.

How will you continue to improve and grow your operation?

Progressive is a common term in our operation. We are always trying something new to improve our efficiency.  We implement many conservation practices so that my family, three or four generations from now, can follow in my footsteps.

How do you intend to leave your footprint on the beef industry in Tennessee?

The farmers of Tennessee have given me so many opportunities. One goal of mine is to give back to them whether it be by defending our agriculture way of life in Tennessee as a lawyer, helping young exhibitors with their show cattle projects, or helping other young farmers get there start in this business. I intend to do this by staying active in agriculture organizations and the Tennessee beef industry for as long as the Lord sees fit.

What could the existing farmers do most to help future farmers such as yourself?

One thing I benefit from most is watching! I get weird looks when I volunteer to help neighboring farmers work but I have learned more about (life) surviving in this business by offering free labor or sitting at the local stockyard talking to producers with a lifetime of experience than I will ever learn in a classroom.

What is your favorite beef dish?

I am a steak and potatoes girl—if I am feeling fancy sweet potatoes and a ribeye!

Tennessee Cattlemen’s Membership Now Available Online

PicMonkey CollageJoining the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association just got a whole lot easier! You can now join or renew your county and state memberships ONLINE at www.tncattle.org. The process is simple— see step-by-step details below:

If your county HAS a county membership dues, use the steps below: (This amount includes county AND state dues)

 

  • Step 1: Go to www.tncattle.org
  • Step 2: Click on the “Shop” tab on the Homepage
  • Step 3: Select the box with the county in which you live or would like to join
  • Step 4: Adjust the quantity of memberships you would like to purchase and select add to cart.
  • Step 5: Proceed to check-out and complete your order using the name and information of the person whom will be receiving the membership
If your county does NOT have a county membership dues, use the steps below: (This amount ONLY includes state dues)
  • Even though your county does not have an association, still go to the “Shop” online, and find your home county (it is listed alphabetically) and purchase from there. The price will reflect only TCA membership dues. 
If your county DOES have an association, but you wish to only purchase a TCA membership:
  • Step 1: Go to www.tncattle.org
  • Step 2: Click on the “Shop” tab on the Homepage
  • Step 3: Select the box that says, “TCA Yearly Membership Dues (NO COUNTY MEMBERSHIP)”
  • Step 4: Adjust the quantity of memberships you would like to purchase and select add to cart.
  • Step 5: Proceed to check-out and complete your order using the name and information of the person whom will be receiving the membership
IMPORTANT: You must list the address that you wish to receive the Tennessee Cattle Business magazine during checkout (i.e: perhaps you are gifting a membership, or purchasing one for someone else, enter their address so the magazine and member ID will go to them, and not you). 
Memberships can also still be purchased by printing and mailing in the membership form. You can also join by calling the TCA office at, (615) 896-2333. In addition to memberships, you can now shop ALL of our TCA merchandise online!

 

Six Tennessee Youth Win Beef Heifer Scholarships

 

Heifer Scholarship Winners 2

Pictured left to right: Molly Gunter, Avery Rowlett,  Kendra Cornelius, Walker Housley,  Kendra Sellers, and Grant Funderburk.

Six Tennessee students were awarded the Youth Beef Heifer Initiative Scholarship, sponsored by the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association and Farm Credit Mid-America. They received this award at the 33rd Annual Tennessee Cattlemen’s Convention and Trade Show in Murfreesboro on Jan. 27.

 

The Heifer Initiative focuses on cost-sharing of beef cattle for youth. First place winners of each age division are awarded $2,000 and second place winners are awarded $1,000. This money is to be put towards the purchase of a beef heifer of their choice from a Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association member within one year of receiving the funds. There are three age divisions: Youth, Junior High, and Senior High.

“The heifer scholarship initiative is one of the most rewarding programs we do at our association,” said Charles Hord, TCA executive vice president. “We get to help deserving young cattle producers get started in an industry they clearly have a passion for. We are grateful for our partnership with Farm Credit Mid-America which is helping to ensure the future of agriculture in our state.”

Molly Gunter of Fentress County won first place in the Youth Division and Avery Rowlett of Wayne County won second place. Kendra Cornelius of McMinn County won first place in the Junior High Division and Walker Housley of Rhea County won second place. Grant Funderburk of Decatur County won first place in the Senior High Division and Kendra Sellers of Knox County won second place.

“The Farm Credit and TCA heifer initiative is a program designed to help young farmers start or expand their beef project,” said Shane Williams, Senior Financial Services Officer for Farm Credit Mid-America. “We feel committed to helping youth in agriculture and feel like this program targets a funding need in the beef industry.”

Grant Funderburk, Senior High winner from Decatur County said, “I am honored that the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association selected me for this scholarship. I plan on using it to help purchase my next show heifer and build my herd.”

The application for the 2019 Beef Heifer Initiative Scholarship will be available in the fall of 2018.

Farm Feature Friday: Green Siblings of Crossville, Tennessee

By Melinda Perkins, TCA Intern

This week’s Farm Feature Friday is the brother-sister duo, Tyler and Taylor Green, from Crossville, TN. Taylor shares with us how they built their widely-successful Limousin cattle operation from the ground up…. And, what it’s like to work with your brother on a daily basis.

Green 3How long has your family been involved in raising cattle? Tell us about how it got started.

Raising cattle has been in our family for many generations. My father grew up raising commercial cattle and hogs, and, naturally, he wanted to continue raising cattle with his own family. Nearly 22 years ago, my brother, Tyler, got his first show heifer at five years old and started showing at a few county fairs close to home. Later, I began showing cattle and we have traveled across the country showing ever since. Although our operation is primarily Limousin today, we haven’t always had Limousin cattle. We purchased our first Purebred Limousin bull in 2000 to crossbreed with our commercial cows. Excited about the calves, we purchased four Limousin heifers and the herd began to focus more on Purebred Limousin females and less commercial-based females.

Tell us about your farm today (breed of cattle, what are you proud of, etc.)

Our current operation consists of 35 head of registered Purebred Limousin and Lim-Flex cattle. These donors and genetics have laid the foundation of our herd for nearly 22 years now. We have been fortunate to have many champions within the state and have been able to be competitive nationally as well. We pride ourselves on selling quality cattle to juniors and seeing them succeed. As Tyler and I both age out of showing, we enjoy traveling to cattle show to assist juniors with their calves and projects. We both want to give back and help younger kids find their passion in the livestock industry, just like we both did.

Green 2What was your favorite part about growing up in the industry?

My favorite part about growing up in the industry has been the opportunities. In 2008-2009, Tyler was on a winning livestock judging team. This gave him the opportunity to compete in the National 4-H Livestock Judging Contest in Louisville, KY and the Arizona National Livestock Judging Contest in Pheonix, AZ. In 2014, I was elected to the North American Limousin Junior Association Board of Directors. I served a two-year term on the NALJA Board, helping juniors and organizing the Limousin Junior Nationals. Overall, Tyler and I both agree that the opportunities, experiences, memories, and people you meet within the agriculture industry are a great part of growing up in the industry.

Green1What does it mean to you to be able to work with your family every day?

In our family, there never is a dull moment… If you know Tyler at all, you know he is always making jokes and trying to be funny. Even when there is work to be done, Tyler’s jokes and shenanigans don’t stop. Although it may drive us crazy at times, my family and I will always have those memories to look back on for the rest of our lives.

Do you have any advice for young Tennessee cattle producers about the business?

Do not be afraid to ask questions or ask for advice because everyone has been in your shoes at some point in time. Take advantage of every opportunity and enjoy each experience you have within the cattle industry.

What’s your favorite beef dish?

Tyler has a hobby of cooking and he enjoys grilling steaks and hamburgers.

Giles County, Tennessee Cattleman Receives Max Deets Award from National Cattlemen’s Foundation

Will Mayfield

Will Mayfield, a cattle producer from Pulaski, Tenn., has been named the recipient of the Max Deets Leadership Award for 2018 by the National Cattlemen’s Foundation. Mayfield was recognized for his outstanding leadership in the cattle industry at the Best of Beef Breakfast during the 2018 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show in Phoenix, Ariz. Feb. 2

The Max Deets Leadership Award is presented each year to the Young Cattlemen’s Conference chairman selected by his or her peers the previous year. It is named for Max Deets, a Kansas cattleman and industry leader who served as president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in 1997. He died in 2014. The award was established through contributions from the Kansas Livestock Association and NCBA.

Mayfield is the regional beef coordinator for Select Sires in the Southeastern portion of the country, and is active in his family cow-calf operation with his father and grandfather. He is a 2012 graduate of the University of Tennessee with a Masters’ Degree in Bovine Reproductive Physiology, and worked with the American Angus Association for two years after graduate school in the Northeast part of the country.  With Select Sires he has been involved with expanding the commercial market in the Southeast and state of Kansas, while continuing to develop the independent representative program throughout the territory.
In addition, Mayfield is the NCBA Region II Young Beef Leader Representative.