By TCA Intern, Melinda Perkins
Today’s Farm Feature Friday is no stranger to the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association. Gary Daniel of Wayne County is the past President of TCA. In this week’s feature, Gary tells us about his cow-calf operation and the joy he gets from raising his grandchildren as the sixth generation of their operation.
How long has your family been involved in raising cattle? Tell us about how it got started.
Our grandchildren are the sixth generation to grow up on our farm. We have always had cattle on this farm but when I returned to the farm in 1987 we began to expand by buying adjacent properties as they became available. We have slowly grown to the operation we have today.
Tell us about your farm today.
Today we have approximately 1100 acres and try to maintain a cow-calf operation of about 200 cows. We wean, precondition, and grow our calves to approximately 800 pounds. The cows are mostly black with a small influence of Maine, Chi, or Simmental. We try to market our calves through the Tennessee Beef Alliance. We also maintain a few registered cows to produce calves for the grandchildren to show.
What was your favorite part about growing up on the farm?
I was able to learn early in life how important it is to be a good steward of the land and livestock.
What have been some of the trials you or your family have had to overcome?
Like any business, trying to stay financially sound is a constant concern. Also, trying to keep up with the rapid advancements in technology that are happening in agriculture is an ongoing challenge. One must constantly be evaluating what will work and be beneficial to their operation.
What is one thing you wish more people knew about life on the farm?
It is one of the most rewarding ways of life that I can imagine. We get to spend our days caring for animals, providing for their needs, and watching them grow and eventually provide a healthy and nutritious meal for our consumers.
What does it mean to be able to work with your family every day?
Being able to raise grandchildren and give them the farm experience is not only great for them but very rewarding for me. They get to learn responsibilities that their peers never experience. They get to see the good, the bad, and sometimes the ugly parts of life on the farm on a daily basis.
Do you have any advice for young Tennessee cattle producers about the business?
Start slow and grow. The learning curve never ends.
What is your favorite beef dish?
Anything beef is great but for a favorite I would say a filet cooked medium.