As a college freshman, Juliann Fears is as level headed and success driven as anybody her age in the cattle industry. Juliann has seen much success in the show ring, livestock judging, and in 4-H/FFA. Although her accolades are many, Juliann continues to strive for success and dream big for her own future and the future of her cattle operation. Read the Q&A below to learn more about Juliann Fears of Lincoln County, Tennessee.
Q: Describe your operation.
A: I raise and show registered Angus cattle. I currently own approximately 15 cows, heifers, and calves. Right now, my focus is working with my show heifers and getting them where they need to be. I spend countless hours washing, rinsing, blowing, and grooming to give them the right look for show day. I also ration their feeding based on the size of the animal and where they should be weight wise. This is probably one of the harder tasks to do because you don’t want to get them to fat or too thin. There is a lot of time that goes into showing but it’s worth it.
Q: What have you enjoyed most about growing up on the farm?
A: Ever since I was little, I have always loved being able to go outside and be surrounded by animals. My favorite memories are helping my dad check cows or set out hay, but I really loved when he would bring home a bottle calf and I would get to feed it, care for it, and make it friendly.
Q: Who is your biggest role model in pursuing your farming aspirations?
A: I must give credit to my sister and brother-in-law because without them I wouldn’t be where I am today in my cattle operation. However, my biggest role models have always been the older kids in my county, like Abigayle Pollock and John Robert Snoddy. They always push me to do my best and have been there to answer questions or help me practice for competitions. I love being able look up to them whether it be showing, livestock judging, or skill-a-thon.
Juliann was a member of the Lincoln County FFA Livestock Evaluation team that placed 1st in the state and competed at Nationals. Two of her teammates (far left, and second to left) are her role models, Abigayle Pollock and John Robert Snoddy.
Q: What are you most passionate about in your business?
A: I am definitely the most passionate about improving my herd’s genetics. Breeding is a challenging business because you don’t know the outcome of a calf until its born. You just hope you made the right decision. Genetics is also good because they never stop changing which means you can never stop improving. Overall, I think strong genetics are the basis to any successful operation. So, if I can create a strong genetic foundation then I will be able to be more successful through my operation.
Q: What are some of the greatest challenges that you face as a young farmer?
A: Time. There is so much to do and so little time to do it. I do livestock judging, dairy judging, and several other competitions as well as work on another farm. So, finding the right balance can be a challenge a lot of times.
Q: Where do you see yourself and your operation in 10 years?
A: In 10 years, I hope to have graduated college with either a major in Ag Business or Genetics (I’m still very undecided.) Also, by that point I hope to have improved my cattle numbers and genetics enough to begin selling them in annual production sales. I hope other breeders will recognize me for having superior genetics and high quality cattle and not just from 4-H experiences.
Q: How do you intend to leave your footprint on the beef industry in Tennessee?
A: I hope to leave my footprint on the Tennessee beef industry by marketing high quality beef cattle and being someone people can count on to do so.
Q: What could the existing farmers do most to help future farmers such as yourself?
A: Today’s farmers can help young farmers such as myself by being a guiding hand. I know in my own experiences I learn the most whenever beef producers show me what to do then make me do it on my own to fully grasp the skill or knowledge. For example, my brother-in-law taught me a lot about showing and managing cattle by doing it once and then letting me take over (with him making sure I was doing it right) until I had it down, and from there he let me take over it.
Juliann was a member of the Tennessee 4-H Skill-a-thon team that earned National Champion honors in 2017.
Q: What is your favorite beef dish?
A: I love a good filet mignon, but when I go to a restaurant I always get a New York Strip.