CattleFax Cow-Calf Survey Released

DSC_8616CattleFax has introduced its Cow-Calf Survey, sponsored by Ritchie Waterers. Information requested in the survey provides participants and the rest of the industry with valuable information regarding industry benchmarks and trends.

Survey participants will receive a results summary packet, with useful information that will allow managers and owners to evaluate their own operations. Items such as cow-calf profitability, tendencies of high and low return producers, regional data and other valuable information are included.

By completing the survey and submitting a valid email address, participants will also be entered into a drawing to win a FREE CattleFax Membership*. (To be entered to win a free membership and receive the full results, a valid email address must be submitted. However, all individual results will be confidential and remain anonymous.)

The survey can be accessed here or by going to and selecting the About tab at the top of the page, which contains a link for the survey!/about. The deadline is Feb. 23, 2018.

For questions or concerns please contact Ethan Oberst, Market Analyst, at 800-825-7525, or

*Five one year Select level memberships or the equivalent value to be credited to a current account ($200) will be given away. To be considered in the drawing a participant must complete the entire survey and submit a valid email address. Winners will be selected by a random number generator and will be contacted via email after the survey closes.

Farm Feature Friday: Dillard Family of Smith County, Tennessee

By Melinda Perkins, TCA Intern

Memories, life lessons, and quality family time are at the heart of the Dillard family’s cattle operation in Smith County. Bob and Sandra Dillard, and their daughters, Hallie and Morgan Dillard Hearn, take pride in continuing their family’s cattle production legacy. In this Q&A session, Morgan shares her most fond memories from growing up on the farm and the desire that she and her husband, Brady, have for making those same memories with their daughter, Eva Hartwell.

Dillard2How long has your family been involved in raising cattle? Tell us about how it got started. Raising cattle has been part of the Dillard family for many years. Generations before me started raising cattle, and it was up to our family to continue this legacy.

Tell us about your farm today. The farm today is the same as it was then. The land we run our cattle on has been in the family for many years. However, our production of farming has changed. We no longer grow tobacco. We mainly focus on raising registered Angus, Shorthorn, and Simmental cattle and spoiling show heifers. Our family has been showing cattle for 15 years. With my younger sister nearing the end of her show career, we hope that our newest edition, Eva Hartwell, will follow in our footsteps.

 What was your favorite part about growing up on the farm? Memories on the farm are my most favorite part of growing up on the farm. For years it was just me, mom, and dad. Then came my sister. We learned hard work and dedication. We learned that cows were hungry even when it was snowing. We learned that success in the show ring was made at home in the barn. We learned it didn’t come easy. It was actually very hard! We made tough work fun and tough circumstances a little more bearable just by being together!

Dillard3What have been some of the trials you or your family have had to overcome? The good Lord has blessed us beyond what we deserve. Trials on the farm have been very few. Mashed fingers, stepped on toes, and wasp stings have been the majority of difficulties to overcome. Growing up my dad would always tell me that if it only happened in the barn then everything would be okay. Learning how to handle watching your favorite show heifer walk into the ring for the last time or hearing that your first show heifer from 15 years ago isn’t going to make it has taught me how to better handle loss in life. Trials on the farm come, cattle grow old and calving difficulties arise, but the lessons we learn are more rewarding than any of the trails we experience.

What is one thing you wish more people knew about life on the farm? Life on the farm is a very hard job. It doesn’t matter how cold or how tired you are, the cattle still need to be tended to, hay still needs to be put out, and water troughs still need to be busted. However, through all the hard work and dedication farming, in my opinion, is one of the most rewarding aspects of life.

Dillard1What does it mean to you to be able to work with your family every day? Togetherness. This sums up my feelings for farm life. While many families are busy playing sports or one parent taking one child here and another someone different; we have always been together. Whether we were showing cattle or vaccinating cattle, we did it as a family: Mom, Dad, My sister, and I.

 Do you have any advice for young Tennessee cattle producers about the business? Work hard and do what you love, the rest will take care of itself.

 What’s your favorite beef dish? A big juicy steak!

 Is there anything else you can share with us? Life on the farm reminds me of the simpler and sweeter things in life. Skipping rocks at the creek, riding the gator with your family, hauling hay, washing show heifers, and even mending fences makes the negativity of the world disappear and life seem simple and a little sweeter, even if only for a little while. Farming really is the best way of life!

Tennessee Beef Promotion Board to Meet

bigstock--186649036The Tennessee Beef Promotion Board will meet January 25, 2018, at 1:30 p.m. CST at the Tennessee Beef Industry Council located at 530 Brandies Circle Suite A in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

The agenda includes a review and approval of minutes, review of board finances, KRAFT CPA audit report, and a quarterly program update.

The meeting is open to the public. Individuals interested in addressing the board should plan to arrive early in order to be placed on the agenda.

The Tennessee Beef Promotion Board was created in 2012 by state law to oversee the collection and use of assessments paid by producers for the purpose of promoting beef and beef products in-state. The Board comprises representatives from the Tennessee Livestock Market Association, Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association, Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation, Tennessee Dairy Association and Tennessee Beef Cattle Improvement Initiative.

For more information, contact the Tennessee Department of Agriculture at 615-837-5160.

Farm Feature Friday: Joe McKay of Giles County, Tennessee

By Justin Young, TCA intern

Joe McKay,  and his wife Kim, along with their daughters, Lettie and Briley, hail from Beech Hill, Tennessee, a small community in eastern Giles County. Joe and Kim were both teachers in the Limestone County, Alabama school district, while also farming on the side. Since then, they have both retired and farm full time. Joe, the head of the operation, taught Agriculture at Ardmore High School for 23 years, and was also an FFA advisor. Joe is a multi-generational cattle farmer, who is a prime example of what a quality producer looks like. Joe is always willing to learn, adapt, and grow with the industry, as advancements and innovation propel the industry forward. Here’s a Q&A session I had with Joe…

IMG_0496Q: How long has your family been involved in raising cattle? Tell us about how it got started.

A: My family beef operation began in 1968 after my dad purchased some random breed cattle after being out of farming for a few years. I have continued the family operation since then, and have progressed to a 150 head commercial Angus operation that I hope to pass on someday.

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

A: I run a 385-acre cow-calf operation, raising cattle to sell with the Farm Bureau Tennessee Beef Alliance. Currently, I raise black Angus cross cattle. Previously, I have used Beefmaster, Santa Gertrudis, Brahman crossbreeds. In addition to the cow-calf operation, I raise my own hay on my farm and other leases. I am most proud of my progressive improvements to the farm and my herd. I’m proud to create a top-quality animal for the market and enjoy being a contributor to the industry.

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

A: Just being outdoors with Gods creation, and being with my family. Seeing all the different seasons and enjoying the various aspects of those seasons is one of my favorite things.

Q: What is your favorite aspect of raising beef cattle?

A: I enjoy watching my product grow from the ground up. My favorite aspect is seeing full-scale, how my choice in genetics and the environment that I provide, turns into my final product.

IMG_1217Q: What have been some of the trials you or your family has had to overcome while farming? 

A: Bangs disease (brucellosis) wiped out our entire cow-calf herd in the mid-70’s. My father and I got back into raising dairy/beef steers after that, and eventually got back to a cow-calf operation in the late 70’s, and have kept going since then.

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

A: I wished more people knew how many good opportunities there are on the farm for raising a family and making a living; the quality of life is near unbeatable. The conveniences of city living are overrated, such as ordering pizza delivery, or anything like that. The kids learn discipline, stewardship, and the value of life. In my opinion, there is no better place to raise a family.

Q: What does it mean to you to be able to work with your family, and/or at home every day?

A: Being able to work at home and with your family creates a great bond and closeness. Sitting at the table with your family, you will realize that you all work for a common goal, and it makes you feel how important and great this lifestyle is. Recently, the family unit has been downplayed, but on the farm, it is in full swing and I advocate it endlessly.

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

A: Pursue your dream because it is attainable here in America. If you want to be successful, gain as much knowledge and education as you can, and apply it to your dreams. Anything is possible if you are willing to work for it in this nation. There will be hard times, but there will also always be a need for food. Keep an optimistic outlook and attitude.

Q: What is the weirdest thing that has ever happened to you while raising cattle?

A: Back in the early 80’s, someone came onto the farm and slaughtered a young Hereford herd bull that my dad and I had purchased. The people were later caught and prosecuted.

Q: What’s your favorite beef dish?

A: Ribeye steak…“Beef. It’s what’s for Dinner”

Fun fact: I haven’t ever bought a cow; everything that I have has been raised internally since the late 70’s from me and my dad’s original herd.

Spring Interns Start Semester with Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association

Here at the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association, we firmly believe that the youth in the livestock industry are vital to agriculture’s future. Therefore, we are excited to have two outstanding young people starting with us as interns. We are honored to introduce Melinda Perkins and Justin Young…

IMG_5180MPerkins is the 22-year-old daughter of John and Paula Perkins from Henry County. Alongside her parents, Perkins and her siblings, Morgan and Murray, operate a small commercial cattle and purebred Shorthorn cow-calf operation on their family’s century-old farm.

Perkins passion for the cattle industry began at an early age when she would spend time with her dad feeding cows, putting out hay and mineral, and other tasks around the farm. From there, she got involved with 4-H and FFA raising and showing livestock on the local, regional, state, and national levels. Perkins saw much success in 4-H and the National FFA Organization but her most rewarding experience was serving as the Tennessee FFA State Secretary.

Ultimately, her passion for agriculture led her to pursue a degree in Agricultural Communications with a minor in Animal Science at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville where she graduated in December. Perkins served as a College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources student ambassador and was a competitive member of the University of Tennessee wool and livestock judging teams during her time at UT.

JustinYoung is a first-generation college (soon-to-be) graduate from Middle Tennessee State University, majoring in Agribusiness and minoring in Computer Information Systems. He is originally from south Nashville with minimal exposure to the agriculture industry. More recently, however, he claims Frankewing, Tennessee, where his family’s small family farm is located. Young lived on the farm after high school, where he helped his grandfather manage their small commercial beef operation and attended Columbia State Community College. Working and helping to manage the family farm is when Young realized his passion for agriculture and decided that is what he wanted to do with his life.

Upon graduation from the community college, Young transferred to MTSU and has worked at the Farm Labs, the Tennessee Livestock Center, and the Student-Athlete Enhancement Center on campus. Since attending MTSU, Young has built his resume by earning a 3.9 GPA, as well as working on an undergraduate thesis project focused on beef quality and consistency in the U.S. Additionally, Young has completed a successful internship with Farm Credit Mid-America, and is also a Farm Credit Leader Scholar award recipient.

Young enjoys spending time with his wife, family, and close friends. Justin’s hobbies and interests include hunting, fishing, history, and sports. Justin’s favorite quote is, “The will to succeed without the will to prepare, means nothing.”  – Juma Ikangaa


Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association Partners with Bush Hog for Product Discount

BHLOGOStackHI(motto)Beginning January 1, 2018, Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association (TCA) members have a unique opportunity to save money when purchasing their next Bush Hog, Inc. product. Members can save $250 on any purchase valued at $5,000 or more on a wide selection of Bush Hog products.

“I grew up using Bush Hog products on our farm and last year, I purchased a Bush Hog zero turn mower,” said Charles Hord, TCA executive vice president. “I continue to be impressed with the quality of their product line and this is just another benefit cattlemen and women can receive by being a member of TCA.”

To obtain the discount, the TCA member must present his or her association number that is found on their membership card. If a person is not a member and would like to take part in this discount, they can join TCA for $30 per year by calling: (615) 896-2333 or downloading the application online: click here. The purchase must be made during the 2018 year and be in the state of Tennessee.

Click here to check out all the Bush Hog products available for your farm!

Preregister Today for a Farmers Market Boot Camp

Chef is placing tenderloin steaks with kitchen tongsFarmers who want to pursue their dream of starting a food business can learn how to turn that dream into reality at six Farmers Market Boot Camps to be held across Tennessee in January and February. The workshops will be taught by specialists from the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture and are designed for farmers who want to direct market food at farmers markets, roadside stands, CSAs and you-pick operations.

“Understanding which foods can be made in a home kitchen, where they may be sold and how to properly label them is important for anyone thinking about making a food product in their home,” says Hal Pepper with the UT Center for Profitable Agriculture. Only foods considered non-potentially hazardous can be made in a home kitchen. Potentially hazardous food products such as pickled vegetables and eggs, sauces and dressings, products that contain meat or poultry and foods that must be refrigerated must be made in a commercial kitchen. Pepper says the workshop will help producers understand the elements of a commercial kitchen as well as the costs and regulations associated with food manufacturing.

Other topics to be addressed in these all-day workshops include the unique production challenges and marketing opportunities for selected fruit and nut crops, trends in online food marketing and the basics of revenue insurance.

Preregister to attend the workshops online at There is a $20 registration fee and lunch will be provided. Preregistration is required at least 5 business days prior to the workshop and space is limited.

The workshops will be held in Clarksville (Jan. 30), Martin (Jan. 31), Memphis (Feb. 1), Blountville (Feb. 6), Alcoa (Feb. 7) and Shelbyville (Feb. 8). The same training will be conducted in each location. Check-in begins at 9 a.m. local time and sessions will last from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

These workshops fulfill a Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program (TAEP) educational requirement in ONLY the following Producer Diversification sectors: Fruits & Vegetables and Value-Added. For additional information regarding educational programs for TAEP requirements, please contact Clay Dunivan at the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, 615-837-5348 or visit the TAEP website:

For more information about the workshops, visit the website for the Center for Profitable Agriculture:  Look for a link under the “educational events” menu.