Tennessee Cattlemen’s Feature: Burns Herefords

Burns Herefords of Pikeville, TN is a family farm business rich in heritage and cattle knowledge. We interviewed Katie Burns for this post, asking her questions about the operation and some of the things learned along the way. Read her responses in today’s TCA feature…

Tell us about how Burns Herefords got started.

with son, David

Dr. Phillip Burns with son, David.

Sixty-three years ago Randall Burns and his son Dr. Phillip Burns started this farm. You can find Phillip working on the farm every weekend alongside his son and cattleman entrepreneur, David Burns, who now manages the farm. David is a 3rd generation farmer that has taken his small family farm and elevated it to receive buyers and interest from all over the United States. Now, we are the largest Registered Hereford Cattle Farm in the state of Tennessee and we attempt to sustain a tradition, heritage, and legacy in this small town tucked away in the Sequatchie Valley of East Tennessee.

What is the farm like today?

In 2009, after David became Farm Manager, he pushed for the construction of the sale barn and brought the farm to another level. Then Burns Farms had its first sale and they now have two annual Female and Bull sales each year selling over 150 Bulls and 100 females annually. In 2014 David began an ET program that offers more genetic diversification to the area. He focuses on bringing quality bull selection, and utilizes the latest technology, such as providing genetically enhanced EPDs on all bulls.

What is your favorite part about living on the farm? 

My favorite thing about living on a farm is that I have a place for my horses and hundreds of acres to ride.

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

Like any business, we have had our challenges through the years. The first challenge was updating infrastructure to run the business more efficiently.

David, Katie and Helen Burns with dog, Sadie.

David, Katie and Helen Burns with dog, Sadie.

What is one thing you wish more people knew about life on the farm?

GMOs are good and help farmers use less pesticides and increase yields. We also want to share how technologically advanced beef cattle farming is today. Farming as a job is 365 days a year and you are “on call” 24 hours a day and everyone in the family is affected by the job.

What does it mean to you to be able to work with your family every day? And what does it mean to you and David to be able to raise your daughter there?

Well, I don’t work with my family everyday in the conventional way. I am a Licensed Mental Health professional and I do work outside of the farm. However as a Farm Wife and the Public Relations person for Burns Farms, I am always ready to help and sometimes the job lines blur – whether it is to pray because a calf is being pulled or have my camera ready to capture the quiet strength of our Hereford bull to post on social media or use for our catalog. I also ride along with my husband in a little green truck to tag calves, open gates, and drive through fields and fields of beautiful Herefords analyzing the production and business. I got involved in working with him because I wanted to share his passion and my growing interest with the public. I say growing interest because my first love will always be horses.

As for our daughter, we feel she will never be bored growing up on a farm. Her education will be both in books and hands on experience with agriculture and business. Her play will be outside next to a lake or river and she will be able to have amazing adventures as she explores our land. Science will be a living experiment and God will be ever present … because we think that you are closest to God when living and seeing what He presents in nature.

richieWhat’s your favorite beef dish?

Our locally sourced and pasture raised Hereford beef filet mignon. I absolutely love Hereford beef and it was one of the ways my husband romanced me when we were dating.

Is there anything else you can share with us?

Family farming to me is my sister-in-law Sarah, working on the business details, increasing our technological efficiency, and running our freezer beef sales. Gayanne, my Mother-in-Law and The Farm Mother who is the ultimate host for buyers visiting, sale events and Sunday dinners. Phillip, my Father-in-Law, working tirelessly on the farm every weekend with preservation projects, helping David, and making egg and meat biscuits for everyone on the weekends. My nephew working the back gate at the sale for the first time. Friends who we add as family because of their unconditional support and help. Family investing their time and talents all to support my husband’s dream and career. Farming requires a village and we are blessed.

 

I am not special because I farm…it is a special opportunity that we get to farm. Thank you Lauren for giving us a chance to share more about Burns Farms. Please visit us on our website www.BurnsFarms.com

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