Meet the Future Monday: Jake Ozburn of Bedford County, Tennessee

You would be hard pressed to find someone that loves this way of life more than eight-year-old Jake Ozburn from Bedford County. Although he is young and his size may be a disadvantage, Jake is a hardworking young cattleman that has big dreamsOzburn4 for his operation. In this Q&A session, Jake shares more about his operation, his favorite things about life on the farm, and his goals for the future.

Describe your operation.

I have cow/calf operation that started with a couple of commercial cows, but I have recently gotten into the Limousin and Limflex cattle.

What have you enjoyed most about growing up on the farm?

I enjoy living on a farm because of the livestock and playing with my dogs. I like to see the baby calves grow.  I like riding my pony Sally and checking on the cows at my grandparent’s farm.

Who has been your biggest role model in pursuing your farming aspirations?

Everybody has been a role model in my farming aspirations, starting with my parents and both grandparents.  The Ozburn side showed me a lot in the dairy part with milking and raising bottle calves and the field crops. The Byrom side with horses, beef cattle, and hay.

What are you most passionate about in your business?

I am most passionate about cattle because I like to show them.

Ozburn1What are some of the greatest challenges that you face as a young farmer?

My greatest challenge right now is my size but I can drive the tractor.

Where do you see yourself and your operation in 10 years?

I see myself in 10 years having lot of momma cows, a trunk full of banners, and running for the National Junior Limousin board and owning my own International Tractor.

How will you continue to improve and grow your operation?

I plan to keep on improving my genetics and my showing skills.

How do you intend to leave your footprint on the beef industry in Tennessee?

I hope to leave my footprints in TN by making life-long friends and setting a goodOzburn3 example for younger exhibitors like my sister and cousins with their show cattle and hogs.

What could the existing farmers do most to help future farmers such as yourself?

The existing farmers could pass on their knowledge by showing us how to raise profitable cattle and hard work & sweat.

What is your favorite beef dish?

My favorite beef dish is steak and hamburgers, but I like beef jerky to snack on.

 

 

 

 

UTIA Researchers Examine Feasibility of a Tennessee Certified Beef Program

TN beef cattleConsumer demand for locally grown beef has some Tennessee beef producers pondering their options, while researchers at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture examine the feasibility of a Tennessee Certified Beef program.

Would you be willing to pay a premium for beef that is born, raised and harvested in Tennessee and graded USDA Choice or Prime? Would enough Tennessee beef producers participate if a Tennessee Certified Beef (TCB) program was offered? These are the leading questions that researchers from the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics sought to answer in a study that evaluates an expansion of the Tennessee cattle market.

UTIA researchers surveyed Tennessee beef consumers regarding their willingness to pay an increased premium for TCB, as cattle producers would have to recoup the additional costs associated with producing a TCB product. The consumers indicated “yes,” they would indeed pay the premium to have Tennessee Certified Beef. The demand is there.

Next the researchers examined supply. If such a program existed, would enough Tennessee beef producers be willing to participate? Due to the competitive advantage other regions in the nation have in grain-finishing cattle, the vast majority of feeder cattle are sent to feedlots in Midwestern and Western states to be finished and harvested. Only 6.8 percent of the 950,000 head of cows and heifers calved in Tennessee in 2016 were harvested in-state.

However, with the demand for locally produced beef, cattle producers are weighing their options, and UTIA researchers are running the numbers. Sixty-seven percent of surveyed cattle producers expressed an interest in a TCB program, given it was profitable. On average, each surveyed producer that expressed an interest in participating in a TCB program was willing to supply 32,329 pounds of beef per year.

“This research demonstrates an interest in locally branded beef by consumers and producers, meaning cattle producers in the state may have an opportunity to capitalize on another segment of the cattle industry,” says Andrew Griffith, UT Extension livestock economist. “However, this opportunity does not come without challenges, extra effort and significant risk as it relates to production and marketing.”

There are some noted challenges such as the capacity of harvesting facilities and the climate. Summers are typically hot and humid, which reduces the efficiency of growing cattle. Winters tend to be cold and wet, leading to muddy conditions in feeding operations, which reduces feeding efficiency.

Overall, research results imply both supply and demand for a state-branded beef product. In December 2013, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam challenged policymakers and state agricultural leaders to expand marketing opportunities for Tennessee producers and encourage new production systems and agribusinesses. The information from this study is valuable in determining the feasibility of a TCB program and could be another opportunity to meet the governor’s challenge, satisfy consumer demand and provide expanded cattle marketing in Tennessee.

Farm Feature Friday: Adam Jordan of Cedar Ridge Angus in Giles County, Tennessee

By TCA Intern, Justin Young

This week’s Farm Feature Friday is Cedar Ridge Angus in Pulaski, Tennessee. The owner, Ray Jordan was raised on a dairy farm in Marshall County and worked in the livestock feed industry across the Southeast for 40 years. After retiring from Diamond V in 2011, he began his pursuit of producing superior Angus cattle. Ray and Elaine’s son, AdamCedarRidge1 joined the operation in 2016 after serving in the United States Navy for nearly a decade. Ray has been a member of the South-Central Tennessee Angus Association (past president), Giles County Cattlemen’s Association (current board member), Tennessee Angus Association, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and Alabama Angus Association. Cedar Ridge has also participated with Ag in the classroom and field days with our various associations. Get to know the Jordan family and Cedar Ridge Angus below! Follow them on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/CedarRidgeAngus/

Answers by Adam Jordan

Q: How long have you been involved in raising cattle? Tell us about how it got started.

A: Ray has been involved with cattle all his life. He was raised on a dairy farm. His Master’s in Animal Nutrition supported his 40-year career in the animal feed industry. After retiring from agribusiness, he started Cedar Ridge Angus with three bred heifers and two weaned heifers. Today, Cedar Ridge Angus has grown to over 100 registered Angus animals.

Q: Who or what influenced you most in pursuing a career in agriculture/farming?

A: Growing up on a family dairy led Ray to pursue a Bachelor’s in Dairy Production and a Master’s in Animal Nutrition. He worked with all types of farms across the Southeast with ConAgra, Medallion Feeds, and Diamond V providing animal feed and offering nutrition consulting.  After retiring from the feed business, he returned to the world of CedarRidge2cattle, trading the dairy cattle of his youth for Angus beef cattle.

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

A: Cedar Ridge Angus is a registered black Angus seedstock farm. While we are only eight years old, we are proud of the genetic progress that we have made in our herd. We continually look for females and AI sires to add to our program that brings value to our customers to advance their genetics as well.

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

A: Ray – Growing up, my favorite part of being on the farm was showing cattle. It helped me meet and interact with other kids, and it also served as a third-party check for the quality of our animals. This check pushed my father and me to raise better cows. Now, my favorite part of farming is watching my grandson get excited about cows.

Adam – My favorite part of farming is watching our cattle progress and the family involvement. Having a hand in the progression from breeding to yearling is awesome as I watch our animals grow. Being able to both work with my dad and watch my children show interest in different phases of the process is wonderful.

Q: What have been some of the trials you or your farm has had to overcome?

A: Our first trial was limited acreage in Madison, AL which resulted in our move to Pulaski. Six months after moving to Pulaski, Ray was diagnosed with colon cancer, andCedarRidge3 had surgery and underwent chemotherapy shortly after that. The chemo really slowed down the development of our property into the farm that it is today.

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

A: I wish people understood where their food came from. Food comes from a farm and is not created at the grocery store.

Q: What is your favorite aspect of farming?

A: The new babies are my favorite part of cattle farming. New calves are the culmination of all the hard work of raising cows.

Q: What are you most passionate about in the beef industry?

A: In the beef industry, you can take land that is not suitable for row cropping and use that land to grow food. In our case, beef is grown on the hillsides of Giles County as efficient use of our natural resources. Taking care of God’s gifts is important to me.

Q: How do you intend on leaving your footprint on the beef industry?

A:  Hopefully our passion for good cows will rub off on others and a love of cows will pass to the next generation.

 Q: Where do you see your operation in 5-10 years?

A: The farm leadership will have passed to my son, Adam, and Cedar Ridge Angus will be considered among the leaders of Angus genetics.

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

CedarRidge4A:  Remember numbers (EPDs) are great, but the animal must be functional too, i.e., good confirmation, good feet, fast growing with plenty of muscle.

Q: What’s your favorite beef dish?

A:  Well, the three of us (Ray, Elaine, and Adam) picked three dishes – steak, steak, and steak!  Guess that is hard to imagine since summer and grilling season are here.

Tennessee Angus Association Preview Show Dates Announced

CR 1-1The Tennessee Angus Association Preview Show will be held June 9 & 10, 2018 at the James E Ward Ag Center in Lebanon, Tennessee. The Junior show will begin on Saturday, June 9 at 10:00 a.m. The Preview Show will begin on Sunday, June 10 at 10:00 a.m. At the conclusion of the Preview show,  the Juniors will close the silent auction.
Juniors also have the opportunity to compete in a photo contest, a speech contest, poster contest and a graphic design contest on Saturday afternoon. On Saturday, June 9 at 5:45 pm, there will be a BBQ meal sponsored by TN Angus Association. The Juniors will have a meeting after conclusion of their show.
Please note that each exhibitor at the Tennessee Preview must be a member of the Tennessee Angus Association or the Tennessee Junior Angus Association and a resident of Tennessee.
Please remember to bring your original registration certificate and be certain that all tattoos are correct and legible. All animals must have an official health certificate from a licensed Veterinarian for the exhibition in the state of Tennessee.
The Junior show rules are as follows: Show classifications for heifers: September 1, 2016, through March 31, 2018. Show classification for bulls and steers: January 1, 2017, through March 31, 2018. The absolute deadline for ownership is May 15, 2018. The show will be conducted under the same rules of past shows.
The deadline for entry to the 2018 TAA Preview Show and Junior Show is May 25, 2018. Entries must be postmarked on or before May 25. The entry fee for the Junior show is $10.00 per head and $25.00 per head for the Preview Show. All fees are non- refundable. A check for entry fees must be sent along with entry form enclosed. Send all entries to the TAA.
TAA Calendar of Events
June 9-10 TN Angus Preview Jr & Open Show Lebanon, TN
June 9 9:00 AM Enter poster, graphic design, speech & photo contest turn in silent auction items 10:00 AM Junior show Cow/calf pairs, heifers, bulls & steers then showmanship
TJAA meeting to follow show (time to be announced at the show) 5:45 pmTennessee Angus Ass’n sponsored meal
June 10 10:00 AM Preview Show Cow/calf pairs, heifers, and bulls TJAA Silent Auction to close 15 minutes after the conclusion
July 7-13th National Jr. Angus Show Madison IA
July 28 TN Angus Field Day Ingram Angus Pulaski, TN
WATCH WWW.TNANGUS.COM OR TENNESSEE ANGUS FACEBOOK FOR UPDATES

American Black Hereford Association Scholarship Applications Available

 

black_hereford_cattle_breed_1_635890562364816000

Photo by http://beef2live.com/story-black-hereford-cattle-breed-106-105176

The May 1 deadline to apply for the American Black Hereford Associations (ABHA) junior scholarship is approaching. The ABHA Board of Directors is committed to helping young Black Hereford members better themselves.

“The youth of our association is the future of the ABHA. Their involvement is key to our future growth” said Brian Chism, Executive Director of the ABHA. Thanks to the generosity of many members, sponsors and supporters the junior scholarship fund is possible.

High school seniors or college freshman with 30 hours or less entering into a two or four-year college/university or vocational school can apply for the scholarship. Applicants must be a current member of the Junior American Black Hereford Association or be the child or grandchild of a current member of the ABHA.

Applicants should complete the application, answer the essay questions and send two letters or recommendations to the association office by May 1, 2018. The paper application and an online application can be found on the association website, blackhereford.org.

 

The ABHA is a growing producer organization with breeder members across the United States, Mexico, and Canada. To learn more about the ABHA or the Black Hereford breed visit blackhereford.org, or contact Brian at 833-501-4750 or brian@blackhereford.org.

Meet the Future Monday: Murray Perkins from Henry County, Tennessee

Murray Perkins from Henry County is this week’s Meet the Future Monday. Murray first stepped in the show ring at three years old and has spent most of his childhood daysPerkins2 doing chores on the family farm. It is his upbringing and involvement in the cattle industry that recently led Murray to be named the 2018 Tennessee FFA Star Farmer. Murray shares with us more about his operation and goals for the future.

 Describe your operation.

I have a 38-head cow/calf operation built of mostly Shorthorn, ShorthornPlus, and commercial females in Buchanan, Tennessee. I market calves at the local market, as freezer beef, and as show prospects. I have found that when you raise predominately Shorthorn cattle, you have to be creative in how you get them sold which is why I turned to marketing calves as freezer beef. My favorite aspect of my operation is showing livestock, both cattle and club lambs, on the local, regional, state, and national levels.

What have you enjoyed most about growing up on the farm?

Getting to spend time and work alongside my family has been the most enjoyable part about growing up on the farm. Whether it be working the show string with my sisters, exercising lambs with my mom, or checking the cows with my dad, there is always something to do and memories to be made.

Who has been your biggest role model in pursuing your farming aspirations?

My dad is my biggest role model in my operation. I enjoy listening to his stories about spending time with his grandfather on the farm growing up, discussing ways to improve the cow herd, and traveling to shows together. He is always there to give advice and Perkins3support.

What are you most passionate about in your business?

I am most passionate about calving season. It is always exciting to see the next generation of calves hit the ground and see how each calf crop is better than the last. And, when you raise shorthorns, it is always a surprise as to what color and pattern you might get.

What are some of the greatest challenges that you face as a young farmer?

As an active high school student, my greatest challenge is finding enough time to get everything done. Between FFA, 4-H, schoolwork, working with my livestock and farm chores, I stay quite busy and there isn’t much time to be lazy. My biggest challenge is balancing those time commitments but each one is rewarding.

Where do you see yourself and your operation in 10 years?

I see myself continuing to raise Shorthorn cattle with a focus on raising high quality show cattle that also make great cows.

How will you continue to improve and grow your operation?

I will continue to improve my operation by learning and furthering my education. AfterPerkins1 high school graduation in May, I will be majoring in Animal Science with the intent to go to Pharmacy School and pursue a career in Animal Pharmaceuticals. This will allow me to take my operation to the next level.

How do you intend to leave your footprint on the beef industry in Tennessee?

I have been given a lot of opportunities through the beef industry here in Tennessee, both in the show ring and on the production side of things. I feel that as I will soon leave my show career behind, it is time that I pay it forward to the newer showmen by sharing advice and providing a helping hand. Also, as the population climbs, my biggest hope is to raise cattle that can help feed our growing population.

What could the existing farmers do most to help future farmers such as yourself? 

There is nothing more educational than talking to a bunch of farmers… you never know what you might learn! It is important that existing farmers and future farmers have Perkins4those conversations to discuss bulls, EPDs, the cattle market, new innovations, etc. The best way to know where something is going is to know where it has been.

What is your favorite beef dish? 

It is hard to have just one… but prime rib is definitely my favorite!

 

 

Farm Feature Friday: Luke Teeple from White County, Tennessee

Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association Board Member, father, cattle producer, TN Shorthorn Association Board Member, son, Priefert salesman, husband, and mentor… this week’s Farm Feature Friday wears many hats. Luke Teeple of Oakdale Farms in White CountyTeeple1 shares with us his experiences growing up on the farm and his appreciation for being in the cattle business.

Q: How long has your family been involved in raising cattle?

A: Oakdale Farm has been in the beef cattle business since 1985. My grandfather had been in the dairy business and due to health reasons, he closed the dairy down and got into beef cattle.

Q: Tell us about your farm today.

A: After closing the dairy, we started out with some commercial cattle. My personal herd got started with a purchase of a raffle ticket for a heifer donated to the Tennessee Shorthorn Association from Rocky Branch Shorthorns. Rocky Branch Collen was the heifer that I won. In the meantime, my grandparents were buying Shorthorns to start Teeple2their herd. They bought some from Charles Curtis and Kent Brown. We ran Shorthorns up until 2000. My grandparents turned the farm over to my parents. That is when we started using Angus bulls and A.I. to keep the Shorthorn cow herd. Today, we have some purebred Angus and Simmental cattle along with the Shorthorns and Shorthorn crosses. In the past couple of years, we started buying some sexed heifer embryos and have had a good success rate in doing that. The embryo program is something that I am proud of. Until 2002, we didn’t have a controlled calving season. We made some sacrifices to make  a controlled season. I am proud that we had gotten to a 45-day calving season. Growing up in 4-H and FFA, I enjoyed the junior livestock program and was fortunate to be very successful in showmanship. Since aging out of the junior program, we have made it a priority to still help juniors with the program.

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

A: Few things that I have enjoyed about being in the cattle business… First is the people that we have met. The people in the cattle business are some of the best people. We all have different ways to get the job done but the goal at the end of the day is to produce a quality product. Raising the product is something that I enjoy as well. From pairing the cow to the bull, and calving the cow, to seeing the calf grow, it is all a wonderful site. Seeing my kids being out on the farm is an enjoyable site and seeing them show calves is too. Plus, helping other young people get involved in showing cattle.

Q: What have been some of the trials you or your family have had to overcome?

A: The major problem that we have had on our farm is having to have a public job. Until my parents retired, it was real hard to get everything done. We would take time off ourTeeple3 jobs to put hay up or sale calves, and feeding hay and checking cattle in the dark were not fun times. The next problem is finding and affording more land to be able to expand.

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

A: Farming is not by the book. What works on our operation might not work on somebody else’s. At the end of the day, we all have the same goal and that is to produce a quality product. It doesn’t matter the size of the operation– we all care about the product that we are producing.

Q: What does it mean to you to be able to work with your family every day?

A: It means a lot to be able to work with my family on the farm. It’s a group effort in making decisions. Sure, we have different ideas at times but we get the job done.

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

A: My advice to young farmers is don’t get in over your head. Secondly, don’t spread yourself too thin. That kind of goes along with not getting in over your head. Third, is don’t be afraid to ask for advice– either professional organizations or just a neighbor.

Q: What’s your favorite beef dish?

A: My favorite beef dish is hard to nail down. I like a rib-eye the most, but I can enjoy a Teeple4good ole hamburger if that’s what we are having.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

A: Enjoy what you do. Raise a quality product. Pass along to the next generation.

Managing Native Grass Forages

Written by and published with permission from Patrick Keyser, Professor and Director, Center for Native Grasslands Management

Overlap in Spring Growth from Warm- and Cool-season Grasses – Which Should I Graze Now?

_DSC0178Native grass pastures begin producing forage at a time during spring when our cool-season pastures are still productive.  Certainly, by mid-May, producers who have both warm- and cool-season pastures will be faced with the question of which they should be grazing.  Simply put, there are two options.  First, stay on the cool-season grass until it tells you it is time to move off.  Depending on the spring (and your management), this could be up until late June.  The other option is to move off the cool-season pasture when the warm-season grass is first ready to graze.  Which makes the most sense?

Although either option is fine, and one or the other may ultimately fit your operation best, I think your best bet is to graze the warm-season grass once it tells you it is ready.  Why?  There are several reasons.

First, the quality of native warm-season grass at this point is much greater than that of cool-season grass.  By mid-May when most of our cool-season grasses are past boot stage, forage quality begins to decline more rapidly.  At this same point, warm-season species such as switchgrass, big bluestem, and indiangrass are producing gains above 2.5 pounds per day.  Although this rate declines somewhat in June, the gap between cool- and warm-season grasses during late spring and early summer continues to increase. Thus, a substantial gain is foregone by staying on the cool-season grass.

A second reason for moving off cool-season pastures at this point is that during May and June, toxins within tall fescue are increasing leading to reduced animal growth and reproductive performance.  For spring herds, where April breeding is typical, having recently bred animals removed from toxic fescue is a good practice.  A recent study at Clemson University found that switching bred animals to a non-toxic summer forage substantially increased pregnancy rates (as much as 20-30%). This same toxic forage, when harvested as hay, has much lower levels of ergot alkaloids.

A third reason to move off of cool-season forages earlier is stand vigor and longevity.  Stressing cool-season grasses during summer when they are becoming semi-dormant has a greater negative impact than if that same stress occurred at a time when they were vigorously growing.  Erring on the side of getting off somewhat early makes more sense than going the other way and getting off too late.

Finally, because of the rapid growth of tall-growing natives during May and June, their quality will decline as they mature.   Obviously, they can be cut for hay if they do get too tall for effective grazing, but if your timing is not good, you could lose the considerable potential nutritional benefit. I have seen a couple of studies in which the researchers did not use the warm-season grasses until much later in the growing season.  In one case, the result was a loss of more than 50% of the per acre production!  Recently a colleague observed that if you do not move to the warm-season grass once its ready, you will ruin both your cool-season and warm-season forages.  For me, I think he had it right.

Meet the Future Monday: Austin Tipton of Rutherford County, Tennessee

Austin Tipton and Tipton Farms are the focus of this week’s “Meet the Future Monday.” Austin was born and raised in Lascassas, Tennessee, but after his marriage to his wife, Shelby-Mai, they bought a house in Auburntown, Tennessee. He and his wife both attended Middle Tennessee State University. Austin is wrapping up his degree in Agribusiness and minor in Management and will graduate in May. When he is not at theTipton1 farm, Austin can be found at MTSU either in classes or working with the building maintenance crew around campus for his job. He and his wife are another great example of Tennessee’s up and coming young farmers who are already successful in their farming enterprises. Austin is actively engaged in Rutherford Young Farmers and Ranchers, MTSU Block and Bridle, as well as participating in 4-H growing up. Take a minute to get to know more about Austin Tipton and Tipton farms!

Q: How long has your family been farming? (Give a bit of history if you can/want)

A: My family has always been involved in agriculture in one way or another. My grandparents had a family farm in Lascassas where they raised beef cows, hogs, and other animals as well as an alfalfa hay crop. My parents have continued in agriculture by purchasing their own farm after they got married. On our farm we raise commercial angus cattle. We also have a commercial and registered boer goat herd as well as horses, chickens, and usually a few hogs each fall. I hope Shelby and I will to be blessed to start our own family farm in the future as well. Until that time we will continue farming alongside my parents as we continue to improve their operation.

Q: What have you enjoyed most about growing up on the farm?

A: One of the greatest gifts that I was blessed with as a kid was growing up on a farm. Some of the reasons I most enjoyed growing up on our farm were the close family bond Tipton3that comes with the farm. Having a farm is hard work and takes the whole family pitching in to get all the needed tasks done each day. Some of my greatest memories is when all of us would head out to clean the fence rows. We would work and then at lunch mom would have a casserole prepared in the Dutch oven that we would cook in the brush pile we were burning. It was always lots of fun to sit around and joke and talk while we enjoyed the meal.

Q: Who has been your biggest role model in pursuing your farming aspirations?

A: I have been blessed to grow up in a family that is tied to agriculture. Because of this I have had many role models that I have been able to look up to to shape my love for farming. One of my biggest role models is my grandfather. From an early age, I knew we were very similar in the way we think and go about different tasks. We both are very mechanically minded which is where my love for equipment and working on equipment and parts comes from. Whenever something breaks or does not work properly I enjoy taking it apart and learning how to fix it. Any time I run into a problem, my grandfather is always there to help me through the different steps to get the equipment back to proper working order. Two of my other greatest role models that have aided in my love for agriculture are my parents. From my dad I have learned patience. He is always calm and thoughtful when a problem arises. From my mom I have learned determination. She has also taught me by example that faith comes first in life, and when that is true everything else will fall into place. I am truly grateful for these role models and would not be who I am today without them and many others.

Q: Describe your operation…(Breed(s), type of operation, acres etc.)

A: At Tipton farms we have a commercial angus cow-calf operation. We currently have close to thirty head but are continuing to grow our herd each year. Tipton farms also has a commercial and registered boer goat herd of about fifty head. In each of these we strive to improve our genetics and efficiency for our herds as well as for other herds asTipton4 well. We also cut our own hay to feed our livestock but also sale the extra hay each year. We also dabble with other animals such as Tennessee walking horses, chickens, and hogs. All together we are not the biggest operation, but it is enough to keep us tied in to agriculture and to keep us busy.

Q: What are you most passionate about in your operation?

A: One of my favorite parts of our family operation is improving genetics. I love to see the effect that a different sire can have on an entire herd. I always enjoy looking at the different aspects of a bull and determining which will be the best fit to give optimum growth and efficiency to our operation. In the future, a goal that I have is to gain as much uniformity in a group of calves as possible. I believe this improves efficiency in an operation in many ways, and I just think a uniform group of calves looks neat when they are all together.

Q: What are some of the greatest challenges that you face as a young farmer?

A: One of the greatest challenges that I currently face as a young farmer is finding the time to accomplish my farming goals. With school, my job, and the current remodeling of the home that my wife and I purchased the available time seems to always run thin. Another challenge that seems to be a problem that many young farmers face today is the financial overhead that it takes to start and run a farm.

Q: How will you continue to improve and grow your operation?

A: Five years ago, I was given the best birthday present a farm kid could ask for, my very own cow. From that first year, I began planning my goals for my herd that I hoped would grow each year due to new calves being born. I planned to keep back my heifer calves to grow my herd and expected to hopefully have a decent start of a herd by now. However, as I waited in anticipation each year, it never failed that my cow has always had a bull calf until finally this year I had my first heifer calf! So now with this calf, I plan to grow my humble herd of two each year that I am blessed with calves by evaluating the needs of the herd and selecting sires that will complement them in the best way possible. I hope to one day reach a number that will provide a nice supplemental income for my family.

Q: How do you intend to leave your footprint on the beef industry in Tennessee?

A: In the future, I hope to be blessed to be able to continue to share my passion of Tipton2agriculture with my family by starting our own family farm. I also hope to be able to share my passion for agriculture with anyone willing to listen. I hope to be able to show that the common perception of farms and animal welfare is not true and that we take great pride in what we do and how we raise our animals. I hope to be able to reach a point one day where I can mentor the next generation of farmers through the experiences that I have had with my farm.

Q: What is your favorite beef dish?

A: I honestly love beef just about any way that it can be prepared. I enjoy a good juicy hamburger, I love a nice tender cut of steak, but I’ll have to say my wife makes a mean pot roast that tops my leaderboard of my favorite beef dishes.

 

 

 

Farm Feature Friday: Flat Creek Farms of Shelbyville, Tennessee

By TCA Intern, Justin Young

Flat Creek Farms is located on the rolling hills of a 200-acre farm in the Flat Creek Community of Shelbyville, TN. It is owned and operated by Mike Hammers, a retired row crop farmer from the Mississippi Delta and Shawn Graham, a retired real estate broker. FCF2You can follow them on Facebook, Flat Creek Farms, and also on Instagram @flatcreekfarmsredangus. Take a minute to get to know Flat Creek Farms below!

Q: How long have you been involved in raising cattle? Tell us about how it got started.

A:  We got started in the cattle business 3 years ago when we purchased 84 Registered Red Angus bred heifers with the intention of slowing down our way of life. Calving bred heifers with or without experience will teach you right quick you are not on your way to slowing down. Our operation is led by faith, backed by integrity and committed to customer service. The Red Angus Association of America is a thriving and growing operation and we are dedicated to the continued success of the breed.

Q: Who or what influenced you most in pursuing a career in agriculture/farming?

A: Mike’s grandfather row cropped and had cattle. Mike spent many summers on the farm with Granddaddy Bunn and knew then he wanted to be a steward of the land at a FCF3very young age. He started row crop farming in the Mississippi Delta in 1980.  Relocating to the farm here in TN he found the land would only lend itself to cattle, so cattle it would be.

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

A: Built on a foundation of passion and commitment, our seedstock operation consists of just under 100 Registered Red Angus females.  We are proud to produce high maternal Red Angus cattle with rapid growth, performance, unsurpassed carcass traits, structural soundness and eye appeal. Our goal is to consistently produce a uniform product that will fit our customer’s needs and offer genetics that are desired by other purebred programs by utilizing a strict AI/ET program using genetics of the leading AI sires.  Our breeding program is overseen by reproductive specialist Dr. Christy Young, DVM.  Last year Shawn became a certified AI tech hoping that with the help of Dr. Young they could improve their AI percentage.  We are very proud to say that the 67 cows we just bred back we achieved 89% AI.  Our commitment to a healthy herd is strictly monitored and overseen by Dr. Margie Carter DVM and her staff at Fayetteville Clinic.  We pride ourselves with having an intense “hands on” herd management program.  We utilize the ultramodern tools available for cattle DNA testing.  Highly accurate genomic enhanced EPD’s assist seedstock selection and accelerate breed improvement.

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

A:  Mike enjoyed learning how to operate the equipment with his Granddaddy at a veryFCF4 young age but neither of us grew up on a farm.  We enjoy the rewards that come from the challenging work we have put into our herd and our farm. We continue to improve our farm by clearing for more pasture, soil testing for applicable fertilization and planting and properly managing the 130-acre farm we cut hay on to insure excellent quality nutrition for our herd. It’s a way of life neither of us would trade being here on the farm and tending to what the god Lord blessed us with to care for.

Q: What have been some of the trials you or your farm has had to overcome?

A: Not sure where to start since we didn’t’ know how to use the head chute 3 years ago when our girls arrived. One of the biggest challenges we faced was getting those first calf heifers bred back.  Of course, that is always a challenge with heifers, but we had no idea where to start with sire selection and planned mating. We reached out to The Bobbitt’s, and their daughter Rhonda Deist, who have over 50 years’ experience breeding Red Angus cattle and are a very well-respected family in the Red Angus Association. They stepped in and headed us in the right direction and for that we are so very grateful.  Our breeding program now is relatively simple –  use only the most proven AI sires but always, always keep in mind you want people to like at what they are looking at. We use bulls that will add FCF1performance and pounds without sacrificing calving ease and maternal traits.  We believe that will always be the first ingredient in a successful cow/calf operation.

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

A:  We wish more people knew how much we care about our animals and what all is involved in caring for them.  Throughout that first year, we checked our heifers throughout the night every 3 hours to make sure if they were having any difficulty calving we could be there to assist.  We also wish that we could educate the “no antibiotics” crowd that quite frankly NOT administering antibiotics would be inhumane.

Q: What is your favorite aspect of farming?

A: Seeing a live, healthy calf get up and nurse it’s momma.  If God had just put a teat on that brisket it would usually happen a lot faster!

Q: What are you most passionate about in the beef industry?

A: Producing the best quality cattle we can by utilizing the best genetics and the DNA tools available, strict herd health management and making sure we enhance our genetics with an excellent nutrition program.

Q: How do you intend on leaving your footprint on the beef industry?

A:  We hope that our example of dedication and determination after taking on theFCF5 responsibility of those bred heifers will encourage those with no experience in the cattle industry that anything is possible.

 Q: Where do you see your operation in 5-10 years?

A: We got into this business at 55 years old, but our goal is to be the “go to” farm in the southeast for quality Registered Red Angus with outstanding customer service.

Q: What’s your favorite beef dish?

A:  A nice filet on the grill.

Flat Creek Farms Phone: (931) 695-5575