By TCA Intern, Melinda Perkins
The Brown’s have a reputable history for raising practical and productive Registered Angus herd bulls. However, the best part of their history is getting to do it as a family. Richard and Kristen share with us the basics of their herd and their devotion to the business in this week’s Farm Feature Friday.
How long has your family been involved in raising cattle? Tell us about how it got started.
Spring Oak Farm originated from the acquisition of a Registered Angus cow herd in the late 70’s. After graduating college in 1989, my dad began to concentrate his efforts on the cow herd and grew the herd to approximately 100 cows. I acquired my first show heifer and a select few females from that herd in 2004. In 2007, my uncle (Kent Brown) gave me one of the foundation cows, a New Day daughter, which I still have today. My grandfather (Roy Mason) has always had a desire for me to own my own herd. In 2008, my dad and I, along with my uncle and grandfather’s help, began to acquire and build my herd to the 60 breeding age females that I have today. We continue to grow and improve upon this herd with the tools we have such as artificial insemination, embryo transplant, AHIR records, and i50K testing.
Tell us about your farm today (breed of cattle, what are you proud of, etc.)
Our operation today is run on approximately 160 acres in Rickman, TN. Our main focus is raising Registered Angus cattle with an emphasis on selling registered Angus bulls in the “Genetic Excellence” Bull sale each January. My dad and uncle started this sale 14 years ago and this year’s sale lots averaged almost $4,000. I am proud of the success I have had in the bull sale. We also have a herd of approximately 25 Angus based commercial cows.
What was your favorite part about growing up on the farm?
My favorite part of growing up on the farm has been getting to work alongside my family. The memories I have made and lessons I have learned have been invaluable and unforgettable. My dad has always told me that everything I did on a day to day basis, no matter how difficult or easy, would pay off in the end. Because of this, I have learned to work hard, be dedicated, and have passion for what I do.
What have been some of the trials you or your family has had to overcome?
I think the trials that we have faced are like those of most cattlemen.
Those trials are things like finding enough time in the day to get everything done and having enough hands around to get everything done. Another trial we have faced, just like every other cattle producer, has been marketing our cattle through the fluctuation of the cattle market.
What is one thing you wish more people knew about life on the farm?
Life on the farm is a full-time job– 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. It requires an immense amount of dedication. It doesn’t matter the circumstances—hot, cold, rain, or snow, things still must be done. As cattle farmers we can’t say, “we will do it later,” or “it can wait until tomorrow,” because the cattle must be fed and cared for every single day.
What does it mean to you to be able to work with your family every day?
I can’t imagine it any other way. It is because we share the same love and passion for raising reputable Registered Angus cattle that we can achieve our goals. It means everything to me that our operation is 100% family operated. I take pride in knowing that we can work together to accomplish not only the day-to-day chores but also our long-term goals.
Do you have any advice for young Tennessee cattle producers about the business?
Be determined, be passionate, and work hard every day knowing that you are working towards the common goal of every cattleman. You should also know that it doesn’t come easy; you must be committed. You should also be thankful for the opportunity to not only be raised in this way of life but also for the work ethic and knowledge that it equips you with.
What’s your favorite beef dish?
Without a doubt it would have to be a big juicy Certified Angus Beef ribeye steak with a loaded backed potato, rice, broccoli, and mac n cheese.
Is there anything else you can share with us?
I have been showing cattle since I was about four years old on the local, state, and national levels. I have been an active member of the American Angus Association and the Tennessee Junior Angus Association. I was honored to have the opportunity to be able to serve as the Tennessee Junior Angus Association president and the Tennessee Angus Queen. I am currently attending the University of Tennessee majoring in Animal Science with a concentration in Animal Industries and a minor in Food and Ag Business.