Devoted, passionate, and sincere are three words that describe Savannah Jones of Union County, Tennessee. Savannah is not only highly involved in 4-H and FFA but also a highly involved young, beef cattle producer who is ready to take her operation to the next level.
Describe your operation
I feed out calves that are marketed as freezer beef at local Farmer’s Markets and to the community. I also raise pigs, laying hens, and various types of produce including sweetcorn and tomatoes. I’m in the process of diversifying my operation.
What have you enjoyed most about growing up on the farm?
I think the best part has been the opportunities and resources I have been fortunate to have, especially as I have gotten older. Being able to spend my childhood showing and judging livestock, raising baby animals of all sorts, and playing outside has really developed me into who I am today. There are certain things we take for granted growing up surrounded by all of this and I don’t think we really realize it.
Who has been your biggest role model in pursuing your farming aspirations?
My dad has (hands down) been my biggest role model. He started out milking a few head in a rented barn when he was 18 years old and he’s worked hard to get us where we are now. I hope I can continue to take this operation to new heights.
What are you most passionate about in your business?
I think my biggest passion is nutrition. I love science and I love taking care of cattle so nutrition is an obvious favorite for me.
What are some of the greatest challenges that you face as a young farmer?
There’s definitely a long list but I would say my biggest challenge is finding the time to get everything done. I’m currently serving as the President of my FFA chapter and an Elder Scout on the Eastern Region 4-H All Star Council. I also judge livestock, show sheep, cattle, and pigs, and take honors and dual enrollment classes. Trying to balance everything is certainly challenging but it’s well worth it to get where I want to be.
Where do you see yourself and your operation in 10 years?
In ten years, I hope to be either working as a nutritionist or running my own feed operation.
How will you continue to improve and grow your operation?
One thing I want to do within the next few years is get a permanent record keeping and finance system in place. I also want to make some improvements in marketing.
How do you intend to leave your footprint on the beef industry in Tennessee?
I think the best way anyone can leave their footprint on the beef industry in Tennessee is to give back. I hope to leave mine by leading the next generation of this industry through 4-H and FFA. I teach younger members animal science and coach younger members of my livestock judging team. I hope to one day open a “charity barn” where underprivileged children from Eastern Tennessee can have the opportunity to show cattle.
What could the existing farmers do most to help future farmers such as yourself?
Any older farmer will tell you “You can’t tell these kids a darn thing!” and they’re right. You can tell us all you want but we’ll forget. For that reason, the best way for them to help us would be to write things down. There are certain lessons you can only learn from being in the business for years, the kind of things they won’t tell you in text books. I encourage all experienced farmers to write down those things and give them to younger farmers that are just starting out.
What is your favorite beef dish?
There’s a lot to pick from but I’m rather fond of sirloins.