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 days 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 support.
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. After 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 those 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!