As a 5th generation Hereford breeder and 7th generation farmer, Mason Collins from Marshall County is dedicated to not only bettering his operation but also educating others about the cattle industry. Mason makes a lot of big decisions in his operation. Decisions that vary from how to breed his cows each breeding season to the best way to promote and market his product. It’s decisions like these that will allow Mason to play a large role in advancing the cattle industry. Learn more from Mason in his Q&A below.
Q: Describe your operation.
A: I have a small herd of about 30 registered Herefords. My operation is located in the Anes Station community of Lewisburg and the Lee Station community of Pikeville. I am a 5th generation Hereford breeder and a 7th generation farmer. With the purchase of my first show heifer, Betty, I started my task to make a genuine contribution to the beef industry. I have been fortunate to participate in partnerships with my parents and grandparents. I have spent countless hours researching top genetics in the breed. My cows carry strong genetics to produce top contenders in both the show ring and sale ring and to serve as donors.
Q: What have you enjoyed most about growing up on the farm?
A: I have enjoyed genetically matching the sire with the dam to produce a calf and then seeing that calf mature into a production female or male on my farm. The life-long friendships that I have built through my days on the farm and at cattle shows, sales, field days, and events can never be replaced. I have also developed a strong work ethic through gaining life skills of responsibility, time management, priorities, and that nothing comes easy. Another fact of growing up on the farm is witnessing the different personalities that the animals possess.
Q: Who has been your biggest role model in pursuing your farming aspirations?
A: I have been blessed with not just one role model in my life but many that have guided me in the right direction to pursue my aspirations.
Q: What are you most passionate about in your business?
A: Genetics are the key to me being able to show and sell high quality Herefords to meet the needs of the beef cattle breeders in our state. Through proper implementation of genetics I can increase the quality of my herd through artificial insemination, flushing, and embryo transfer to improve production and benefit the industry. I am also passionate about producing beef for the table while ensuring the consumer that our product is both safe and nutritional. Also, the fact of practicing proper herd health management strategies.
Q: What are some of the greatest challenges that you face as a young farmer?
A: One of the greatest challenges is the fact that along the way I must educate the public that our beef product is both safe and nutritionally important to our diets. Our society is becoming health conscious and with the protein they gain from our product they can master the task of meeting their health needs. I want to promote that the proteins in our lean beef provide strength, assist with weight and fat loss as well as benefit the process of exercise. The goal is to produce a better product from conception to consumption.
Q: Where do you see yourself and your operation in 10 years?
A: After pursuing a higher education, I plan on growing my operation into the best it can be through further genetic research in order to expand my markets in bulls, show heifers, and replacement heifers.
Q: How will you continue to improve and grow your operation?
A: As I look toward my long term goal in the beef industry, I plan to place emphasis on the quality of my herd as well as the quantity. I know it is important to learn about new technology and science which will improve the quality and safety of beef and I am committed to being a good steward of all resources. I am looking forward to flushing some of my cows after this calving season.
Q: How do you intend to leave your footprint on the beef industry in Tennessee?
A: I plan for my cattle to be able to be recognized throughout the southeast as sound, structurally correct, and productive beef cattle that will be competitive in the show ring, pasture, and eventually to the table. Measures introduced in my own herd including the utilization of genetic research, production of lean, healthy beef for the table, participation in proper beef management strategies, and marketing alternatives give me great confidence that I am own my way to having a productive and profitable impact on the Tennessee Beef Industry.
Q: What could the existing farmers do most to help future farmers such as yourself?
A: Lead by example and mentor aspiring farmers to achieve the success in which they have acquired.
Q: What is your favorite beef dish?
A: A bone in ribeye cooked medium.
GOOD LUCK to Mason as he competes at the Junior National Hereford Event this week in Grand Island, Nebraska!