Meet the Future Monday: Collin Miller of Rutherford County, Tennessee

Collin Miller, the focus of this week’s Meet the Future Monday, was born and raised in Christiana TN. When he is not at work or school, he is at one of his many board meetings, or on his own farm working. You can also find Collin down the road from his farm helping his mentor, Donald Jernigan with his large beef cattle operation. Jernigan has been the greatest mentor to Collin and has helped him learn and grow his operationMiller6 since he started at 16 years old. Collin works at Rutherford Farmers’ Cooperative-Murfreesboro, as an Animal Health and Livestock Equipment Salesman. Additionally, Collin is an Agribusiness major at MTSU. Collin serves as President of Rutherford County Young Farmers & Ranchers, and President Rutherford County Cattlemen’s Association. Collin is also a Board Member of Rutherford County Farm Bureau, Rutherford County Agricultural Advisory Board, and Christiana Miller Cemetery (his family and community cemetery)

Q: How long has your family been farming?

A: Both sides of the family has been farming in some form as far back as I have found. The Miller’s first settled in what is now Christiana in 1796. After my 10 times great grandfather received a 1,000-acre land grant for service in the Revolutionary War, we have been farming on the land ever since. We own the last 40 acres of the original land grant. We operate part of our cow-calf operation here and the rest on a farm we own and lease in Bell Buckle TN. My family has farmed many different commodities from dairy, corn, wheat, hogs, tobacco, and now beef cattle.

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

Miller1A: I have always loved riding on the tractors as a kid. Being with my grandads on the farm is one of my best memories as a kid. Also working in the hay fields and checking on baby calves; I’ve loved it all.

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

A: I have had many great role models in my life that I have been truly blessed with. I don’t think I can say I have just one. I have had three men in my life that have truly went above and beyond on teaching me and pushing me in my love of farming. My late grandfather Milton Wyatt Powell was one of the greatest supporters and teachers that I could have ever asked for. Donald Jernigan was the first to help set me up in my own operation. He has been a great teacher, mentor and friend to me. Marvin Whitworth has been a big inspiration to me in both farming and getting me involved in the community.Miller5 All these men have helped me become the young farmer I am today. I have been truly blessed to have three great men guide me and educate me in this great profession.

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

A: I run a primarily black angus cow-calf operation. I also will have several feeder steers throughout the year that I will raise and sell. I raise some hay on our farm as well.

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

A: This is a profession that keeps me so close to God. To see what God has put on this earth for us as farmers to care for is a great blessing. From helping a mother give birth at 10 o’ clock at night to the cold, wet winters. I feel so blessed and honored to be one of God’s caretakers. Farming is my passion and I love it so much through the good and the bad.

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

A: The land in and around Rutherford county is becoming less farm land and more residential and commercial land. The young farmers that want to buy land for their own can’t do it around here and farm it, because of the high property values. A farmer can’t afford to buy more land that’s priced at a developer’s price. The public is also so uneducated about our farming practices that it’s scary. They read the internet and let others tell them how bad farmers are to the animals and to the land. It’s time for us young farmers to stand up and be the voice of Agriculture. We must take a stand for what we live and breathe, otherwise the Agriculture industry will continue to be attacked and continue to dwindle.

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

A: I hope to have a 40 to 50 head cow-calf operation. I also hope to continue working for Tennessee Farmers Co-op in some capacity. I will continue to be a community leader and advocate for Agriculture.

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

A: By buying better genetics in both my bulls and cows, I hope to raise calves that will bring top market value. In turn, I can bring in as much income from each calf and the Miller4buyers will be happy in getting a quality calf.

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

A: By being involved in so many various Agriculture industry and community boards, I hope my opinion is taken and helps make changes. I try to help my customers at the Co-op make good health and nutrition decisions when buying products from us. If I can help get all the farmers on good health and nutrition protocols, then it will help them and the beef industry as a whole. When we sell healthy, well feed cattle, it not only helps the one selling, but it also helps us all. When Tennessee is known for higher quality cattle, buyers will pay a higher premiumMiller2 for them. I hope that when I retire, I can say that I have helped the beef industry and agriculture in Tennessee.

Q: What could the existing farmers do most to help young farmers such as yourself?

A: Take a young person under your wing that is trying to get started and help teach and guide them in the right path. The older existing farmers are retiring or passing away, and there are fewer young farmers to take their place. We need the knowledge and guidance from the existing farmers, so we can keep farming into the future.

 Q: What is your favorite beef dish?

A: T-bone steak cooked to medium

 

 

Farm Feature Friday: Monty Schoolfield of Schoolfield Farms in Henry County, Tennessee

This week’s Farm Feature Friday is Schoolfield Farms from Henry County, Tennessee. Monty Schoolfield shares with us more information about their cattleIMG_4487 and row crop operation, and the joy he gets from working with multiple generations of his family on the farm.

 How long has your family been involved in raising cattle?
My father started in the cattle business in the early 70’s with a small commercial herd.
In 1980, we bought our first registered Angus show heifer and from there we have grown to 130 registered Angus momma cows.

Tell us about your farm today?

Today, we are a seed stock operation. We market most of our bulls and heifers on the farm. We are always striving to improve our genetics from buying heifers and cows from other herds to the A.I. bulls that we select to use.

What was your favorite part of growing up on a farm?
IMG_4477Growing up showing cattle was my favorite part of farm life. My mother took me and my brother, Curt, all over the country showing cattle. Meeting and interacting with other cattlemen helped us to improve our herd even at a young age. Some of the friends I made back then are still some of my closest friends today.

What have been some of the trials you or your family have had to overcome?
We have been very fortunate not to have any major issues with our farming operation. If anything, it would probably be lack of help. During hay cutting season we are also planting crops so some days it seems like there is just not enough hours in the day to get everything accomplished.

What is one thing you wished more people knew about farm life?
The number of hours and dedication it takes to be successful. But mainly, I wish moreIMG_4511 people knew the amount of care each cattleman has for their animals.

What does it mean to you to be able to work with your family everyday?
It is a true blessing to be able to work with the entire family every day. To be able to watch my kids grow up and see that they have the same passion for farm life as the rest of the family brings me great joy.

Do you have any advice for young Tennessee cattle producers about the business?
Having a cattle farm requires a lot of time and dedication… So, don’t get in over your head.

IMG_4596What is your favorite beef dish?

It sure is hard to beat a CAB ribeye.

 

Tennessee Cattlemen’s Hires New Director of Youth Programs and Outreach

Melinda PerkinsThe Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association is proud to announce and welcome Melinda Perkins as the TCA Director of Youth Programs and Outreach. Perkins will be responsible for organizing and supporting cattle youth events across the state and highlighting youth programs.

Perkins joins the TCA team after a four-month internship with the association. She was instrumental in creating TCA’s Tennessee Top Tier show circuit during her time as an intern. In her new role, she will continue to grow this program while also creating other youth events and programs.

“I am very thankful for this opportunity and eager to make a difference in the cattle youth programs,” said Perkins. “I look forward to getting to continue working with the TCA staff, Board of Directors, and adult and youth members across the state.”

Perkins is originally from Henry County and recently graduated from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville with a degree in Agricultural Communications. She and her family raise Shorthorn and commercial cattle, and she has grown up showing livestock across the Southeast. She was an active member of 4-H and FFA in high school and involved in a multitude of livestock activities, including the UT Livestock Judging team, during college. Perkins brings a lifetime of experience in the cattle industry and youth programs to her new role at TCA.

“Melinda has the professionalism and passion for the cattle industry that will make her a great addition to our team,” said Charles Hord, executive vice president of the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association. “I look forward to seeing the growth in our youth activities under her leadership. We are excited to have her on board.”

For more information about TCA and its programs, please visit www.tncattle.org and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter: @TennesseeCattle.