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, Adam 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 cattle, 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, and 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?
A: 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.