By TCA Intern, Justin Young
Nick Rippy and Pleasant Valley Farms are the spotlight of this weeks Farm Feature Friday. Nick and his family own and operate Pleasant Valley Farms, formerly the Waterfall Farm in Shelbyville. Wayne and Jean Day, Nick’s grandparents bought the former walking horse farm and have since converted it into one of Tennessee’s greatest Angus farms. Their grandson, Nick Rippy is the Operations Manager of all things Pleasant Valley Farms and is the interviewee. Nick is an Agribusiness major and Real Estate minor at Middle Tennessee State University, and graduates in December. Nick and his fiancé, Abi Armstrong are set to be married in May. Nick is a very accomplished young man who is doing a great job with Pleasant Valley Farms. Pleasant Valley Farms is easily noticeable from the highway, as it is a beautiful premier farm of the area. Take some time to get to know Nick Rippy and Pleasant Valley Farms below!
Q: How long have you and your family been involved in raising cattle? Tell us about how it got started.
A: My grandad got started farming with some mixed breed commercial cows in 1997.
Q: Tell us about your farm today (breed of cattle, type of operation, what are you proud of, etc.)
A: Today, Pleasant Valley Farms is spread between middle Tennessee and southern Kentucky, with 2,500 acres. We are in the registered Angus business, commercial beef business, and horse business. I would have to say that we are most proud of our genetic improvements to our herd. I feel like we have some of the best cows in the country, especially to build your herd from.
Q: What was your favorite part about growing up on the farm?
A: Being surrounded by nature, learning the animals, and the lessons I learned while growing up are all very valuable aspects of growing up on the farm. I feel like there is no better lifestyle than farming.
Q: What have been some of the trials you or your family has had to overcome?
A: Distance; I am pretty much the only member of my family that is here at Pleasant Valley Farms in Shelbyville. My family is in northern Tennessee, along with some of our herds, but doing this mostly alone (the main operation) gets tough. Balancing school, work and family can all be tough.
Q: What is one thing you wish more people knew about life on the farm?
A: I wished people knew the value of the lifestyle. If you haven’t experienced it yourself, it may be difficult to understand. You learn the value of life, and you get to experience the gratification of seeing your calves grow from the ground up; it is unbeatable.
Q: What is your favorite aspect of farming?
A: Watching the calves be born and seeing them grow into what you had in your mind when you were selecting how to breed the dam. Seeing the sire genetics on paper, and then being able to transfer that over to your product is exciting to me. I spend a lot of time and effort on genetics and the quality of my animals. My favorite part is being able to match up potential sire’s strengths with cows in order to produce a quality animal.
Q: What are some of the biggest challenges that producers like yourself face day-to-day?
A: Just like any other farmer, I face changing markets and prices, variable weather conditions, and the other obstacles that can happen with farming. Other than that, being a younger farmer, balancing school and all the aspects of the farm can get tough.
Q: What are you most passionate about in the beef industry?
A: I am most passionate about genetics and overall quality. I put so much emphasis on quality genetics because it is what will eventually determine the success of your operation. On the commercial end of things, backgrounding, vaccinating and pre-conditioning calves is vital to the beef industry maintaining quality and further improvement.
Q: Where would you like to see your farm in 10 years?
A: I would like to see Pleasant Valley Farms be one of the best Angus farms in Tennessee. I would also like to see us have yearly female and bull production sales in the future. Additionally, I would like to further expand our embryo business. Eventually, I want to see Pleasant Valley Farms to be one of the most quality and premier producers in the U.S.
Q: Do you have any advice for Tennessee cattle producers about the business?
A: I would tell any beef farmer to not be afraid of paying a little extra for proven genetics and quality because it will pay off in the long run. Quality over quantity is very important in the registered business, because registered business influences the commercial business. If we invest in good genetics on the front end, it will pay off for everyone.
Q: What’s your favorite beef dish?
A: Dry aged ribeye cooked medium rare
Keep in mind: Spring Production sale spring 2019!
Facebook: Pleasant Valley Farms