By TCA Intern, Justin Young
Jordan Hopkins and his brothers, Nathan, Ethan, and Zachary and their Hopkins Ranch of Herefords are the center of this weeks Meet the Future Monday. Their parents are Roy and Kim Hopkins, and the family hails from Winchester, TN. Those who know the Hopkins know that they are a team through and through. The brothers run their ranch together, each holding different positions within the operation. Jordan is the manager of the ranch, Nathan and Ethan are the show-barn managers, and Zachary oversees genetics and various veterinary responsibilities. Jordan is a recent Agribusiness graduate of Middle Tennessee State University’s school of Agriculture, Nathan is a junior at Vanderbilt University majoring in Molecular Biology, Ethan is a senior in high school, and Zachary is in veterinary school at University of Tennessee, hence his veterinary responsibilities on the farm. The Hopkins brothers have shown for 15 years and can be seen at most cattle shows across Tennessee and others across the country. Take a minute to get to know the Hopkins brothers and Hopkins Ranch of Herefords.
Interviewee: Jordan Hopkins, Hopkins Ranch of Herefords Manager
Q: How long has your family been farming?
A: Hopkins Ranch of Herefords is a third-generation Hereford operation (Polled and Horned).
Q: What have you enjoyed most about growing up on the farm?
A: I have really enjoyed learning the various responsibilities of farming, as well as the critical thinking situations that have prepared me for many areas of life. Many of the decisions made on the farm can be tough, but they have taught me so much about business and profitability. I think for all of us brothers to be working together like we do is valuable and wholesome. Communication is key amongst us and we enjoy being able to say that we are doing this together–it truly is a family effort with us.
Q: Who has been your biggest role model in pursuing your farming aspirations?
A: Our father has been a great influence on our family. He is a minister here in Winchester and has taught and raised us to be godly, Christian men. Secondly, I have learned a great deal from Randy Mullinix, one of the most elite Hereford breeders in the country. I can always reach out to him and learn from him. He is one of the best cattle clipper/fitters in the country and has some of the best show cattle in the country.
Q: Describe your operation.
A: Hopkins Ranch of Herefords is a 350-acre seedstock Hereford ranch. We always keep around 120 head, but are constantly selling private treaty, consigning, and participating in heifer sales. We row crop some of our own feeds and do our own hay. Just recently, we are getting more into embryos, IVF, and flushing practices. Additionally, we keep about 40-50 angus recips and sell 20-30 herd bulls every year.
Q: What are you most passionate about in your operation?
A: I really enjoy when a kid comes to buy a show calf from us. We want to see that kid succeed greatly with that animal. We take pride in providing people with a quality product. Something I am very excited about is doing yearly production sales in the future.
Q: What are some of the greatest challenges that you face as a young farmer?
A: Self taught in some ways, I think one of my biggest challenges is learning things that I am not skilled in to save some money. For instance, mechanic work on equipment. Learning to troubleshoot things can be hard when you do not have too much experience in an area. Managing money is always unique depending on the farm, but its always relevant. Lastly, being in the younger generation of our industry, gaining notoriety and respect amongst the industry can be challenging when you are the youngest and least experienced.
Q: Where do you see yourself and your operation in 10 years?
A: In 10 years, I would like to see us have a yearly production sale at the farm, win national shows, and develop an online sale for our show heifers.
Q: How will you continue to improve and grow your operation?
A: We will continue to improve and grow our farm through inquiry of other farms and furthering our knowledge. We plan to be active learners and always improving on our knowledge. I enjoy talking to and learning from other farmers about their operation; what worked for them, and what did not, etc. We have never been afraid to approach anyone or ask for help. To be the best, you sometimes must ask the best.
Q: How do you intend to leave your footprint on the beef industry in Tennessee?
A: We would like to leave our footprint on the beef industry in Tennessee by providing sound, stout, functional cattle to people all over the state and the country. We also hope to have our Christian faith positively impact people in their interactions with us.
Q: What could the existing farmers do most to help young farmers such as yourself?
A: I think one of the best ways the current, more established farmers could help younger farmers is to help them decipher what is worth spending money on, and what is not. Knowing whether something will improve your product or not has a great impact on the future farmers. Asking those farmers what has been most profitable for them, or maybe what hasn’t been, is valuable to younger farmers.
Q: What is your favorite beef dish?
Jordan: Filet Mignon cooked medium
Nathan: Filet Mignon cooked medium-well
Ethan: New York Strip cooked medium
Zachary: New York Strip cooked medium
Be sure to follow them on Facebook at Hopkins Ranch of Herefords!