Meet the Future Monday: the Giffey Brothers of White County, Tennessee

Giffey MFM InstaGrady (15), Gavin (14), Gunnar (10), Gage (8), and Grant (6) Giffey, along with their parents, from White County, Tennessee make up Five Oaks Farm. Their farm name, Five Oaks Farm, comes from Isaiah 61:3 that says, “That they may be called oaks of righteousness, a planting for the Lord, that He may be glorified.” Their goal at Five Oaks Farm is to not only raise great cattle but also great boys who bring glory to God in all they say and do. The Giffey family has had a small herd of commercial cows for years and recently started raising and showing registered cattle two years ago. Read our Q&A with Grady, Gavin, and Gunnar below to gain an appreciation for their take of life on the farm.

Describe your operation.

Grady: I live on a small Red Angus cow/calf operation and I personally have a few Shorthorns.

Gavin: I have a small but high-quality Red Angus herd.

Gunnar: I have one steer that was a bottle calf that I bought from my neighbor.


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

Grady: All the lessons you learn and coming up with functional plans for the future.

Gavin:  I like building and fixing things.

Gunnar:  All the equipment…like the 4-wheeler to do chores, mowing the yard, and driving the tractor.


Giffey1Who has been your biggest role model in pursuing your farming aspirations?

Grady: My two role models are Wade Matthew and my uncle, Josh Rust.  Wade taught me all about the cattle business and cattle in general.  Uncle Josh knows how to raise a quality herd that I hope to have one like someday.

Gavin:  A multitude of people including my dad who is good at fixing stuff that breaks around here and my mom who just rocks! (she made me put that in here)

Gunnar:  My brother Grady.


What are you most passionate about in your business?

Grady: Raising quality animals for my future herd.

Gavin:  Making money so I can build my herd.

Gunnar:  Selling my steer to get a good heifer to show.


What are some of the greatest challenges that you face as a young cattle producer?

Grady: Finances to buy the cows I want to build my herd.

Gavin:  Doing my chores because I sometimes tend to procrastinate.

Gunnar:  Chores – the feed is heavy.


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

Grady: I see myself getting out of vet school, finding a job, and looking for a place to raise my herd.

Gavin:  I hope to be moving my cows to my own farm to continue to make my herd great.

Gunnar:  Maybe having six mama cows that my mom takes care of while I’m in college.


How will you continue to improve and grow your operation?

Grady: I will continue to make connections with breeders across the country to learn how they improve their herd so I can apply the same practices to my herd.

Gavin:  I will keep good heifer calves and AI for traits that I am looking for in my animals.

Gunnar:  Selling cows for more money and buying them for less.


How do you intend to leave your footprint on the cattle industry in TN?

Grady: There are lots of things that I am doing or plan to do.  For instance, participating in TCA, raising my own herd of quality Shorthorns, learning from others to understand best practices, and potentially becoming a vet.

Gavin:  I met a nice man named Steve Burnett, who raises Red Angus, that sold me my first two heifers.  I would like to be as kind and helpful to young people when I am older as he was to me.

Gunnar:  I will stomp in the mud after rainy days in my cow pasture.


What could the existing producers do most to help young cattle producers such as yourself?

Grady: I think helping provide resources that we could not afford like land, leasing high-quality cows to show, and letting us borrow or use the equipment.

Gavin:  They could give us knowledge by teaching us.

Gunnar:  Sell good cows for cheaper because kids don’t have much money.  That is how I got my steer.


What is your favorite beef dish?

Grady: A filet grilled medium with mushrooms and onions.

Gavin:  Cheeseburgers

Gunnar:  Burger loaded with lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles, and a fried egg.

Meet the Future Monday: Breanna Mills from Decatur County, Tennessee

BreMills MFM Insta 10.22

This week’s Meet the Future Monday started her operation from the ground up and has no plans to stop anytime soon. Breanna Mills from Decatur County, Tennessee is defying the odds to succeed and will stop at nothing to achieve the goals she has set for her cattle operation. Read our Q&A below to learn more about how Breanna’s driven personality is driving her operation into the future.

Describe your operation.

I am currently starting my own registered show cattle and breeding operation. I purchased my very first heifer earlier this spring to begin my herd. I have worked with her everyday putting in countless hours of rinsing, brushing, washing, walking, and so forth over the summer to make sure she is show ready. It has paid off in the end because I have saved enough money up from my winnings to pay for my next show heifer who I think will, genetically, add some nice characteristics to my herd. I plan to breed my first heifer in earlier part of January to a registered Shorthorn bull, which I hope helps give me a nice first calf to add to my herd.BreMills1

What do you enjoy about life on the farm?

I have enjoyed the responsibility and the memories growing up on a farm has developed for me. Since I was little, it has been part of my responsibility to help take care of the animals and garden. Granted, my family and I just recently started our beef cattle operation, I have grown up always having horses, mules, chickens, dogs, and so on to help take care of. I have also grown up helping out on some of my family’s friends farms. In all, the biggest thing growing up on a farm has taught me is dedication and responsibility to doing what you love.

Who is your biggest role model?

There are two people who I think have been my biggest role models through this. The first one is my county 4-H extension agent Dustyn Watson. Dustyn invited me to a cattle clinic he was hosting and instantly, I fell in love. Dustyn has made a great impact in my life especially when it comes to my cattle operation. He has been there with me through it all and has taught me most what I know today. Also, Mr. Daniel Goode has been my other biggest role model. He invited me to come to his farm and look at his show heifers in hopes I would purchase one and I did. He honestly has made such an impact on me because he challenges me to be better and work harder each day. He has become a very close family friend of ours and I couldn’t thank him enough for what he continues to do for me. Tracy Hendrix and his family, of Hendrix Farms, allowed me to show one of their heifers during my first year.  They helped to teach me the ropes on the beginning. Of course, my family has been by my side supporting through this all and I couldn’t thank them enough for it.BreMills3

What are you most passionate about in your business?

I am most passionate about taking care of my heifer in the best and proper manner. Of course, I always want her to look good at a show, but how well she is taken care of and presented standing in my barn is just as important to me. This is preparing me for when I have a whole herd of cows standing in my pasture. Even then, I will make sure every single one of them is taken care of the best way possible.

What are some of the greatest challenges that you face as a young cattle producer?

I feel like not having the resources and knowledge as most experienced farmers have is one my greatest challenges as a young farmer. I haven’t been in the cattle business long, but I quickly realized that networking and relationships are a big factor in this industry. As a result, I feel like I have gotten a head start in this challenge with the many friendships and relationships I have already created and continue to create. Another challenge I feel I have faced as a young farmer is the amount of knowledge I had going into this. I didn’t know any tricks of the trade since this was a brand-new thing for me. However, I am more confident now than ever before because of the amount of knowledge I have obtained from more expierienced farmers.

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

In 10 years, I hope to have earned my degree in AG Leadership. I chose to pursue this career because I want to do the same for future agriculturalists that my leaders in the agriculture community have done for me. I also hope to have advanced my breeding cattle operation and that I can pass on the knowledge that I have gained to other children, in helping them start their journey exhibiting cattle or starting their own beef projects.

How will you continue to improve and grow your operation?

I will continue to grow and improve my operation by purchasing and raising registered Shorthorn and Shorthorn Plus breeding cattle. I will breed my heifers and cows to bulls, who I think genetically and phenotypically, fit my preference. I hope to have be certified to Artificially Inseminate my herd in a couple of years. I really feel like that will give me a leg up in keeping my operation at its highest performance. I will always make sure I am doing whatever I can to make sure my farm stays as efficient as possible to help keep my herd at its highest performance level. BreMills2

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

I plan to leave my footprint on the beef industry in Tennessee by showing others you can start from the bottom and build your way up. You don’t have to be a third-generation farmer, so to say, to succeed. I am building on my operation day by day in hopes of having a farm that is beneficial to my community one day. As a result, I want to give back to everyone who has helped me start my journey as a young famer.

What could the existing cattle producers do most to help young producers such as yourself?

Existing farmers should share as much knowledge with the future generation as they can. They have so much more experience than we do and they could use that to help get us involved. I know, from experience, I couldn’t do this without the help and knowledge existing farmers have given to me. Lastly, just be there to help us. There are a few people that I contact nearly daily to help me out. Without them, I wouldn’t know near as much as I know today!

What is your favorite beef dish?

I love a good ole ribeye steak cooked Medium Well!!!!!

FIVE on Friday: FIVE TCA Logo Items Perfect for Fall

FiveOnFridayThe cool, crisp fall weather has finally hit in Tennessee. As you head out to do your daily farm chores, run to the local feed store, or even catch the Friday night football game, here are FIVE TCA logo items you need at your disposal this fall. All items can be purchased online using this link, or by calling the office (615) 896-2333. Shipping and handling included in prices. 

  1. Black Puffer Vest– $40.00Black Vest
  2. TCA Grey Fleece Vest– $35.00Gray fleece vest.jpg
  3. Women’s Fleece– $38.00fleecewhite.png
  4. Silver TCA Tumbler Mug– $33.00cup
  5. TCA Caps– $16.00caps

Purchase yours TODAY!

Meet the Future Monday: Sarah Lay from Monroe County, Tennessee

S.Lay MFM Insta 10.15For years now, Sarah Lay has found herself tagging along with her two older brothers to cattle shows across the Southeast. But now, Sarah is at the threshold of her own show career and taking the reins into her own hands as she continues her family’s cattle producing legacy. Sarah has big plans for the future, including work for NASA and spreading good Shorthorn genetics. Read this week’s Meet the Future Monday Q&A with Sarah Lay to learn more.

Describe your operation.

My family and I have Muddy Water Farm, a dairy and beef operation in Monroe County, Tennessee. My mom and I take care of the twenty registered Shorthorn beef cows on the farm. We love to show them at fairs and various livestock shows around the South. I have been showing cattle since I was literally old enough to walk and lead an animal myself tagging along and watching as my two older brothers, Jacob and Aaron showed. We are currently focusing on breeding our cows for the sole purpose of marketing show heifers and steers.

Q: What do you enjoy about life on the farm?

A: I love riding 4-wheelers around the farm and playing with the baby calves and barn cats.  I also love that because we are out in the country that the nights are so dark and clear the stars look like they are dripping from the sky.S Lay 2

Q: Who is your biggest role model?

A: I would have to say that my biggest role model would be my older brother Aaron, who has literally spent countless hours with me in the barn and field having showmanship clinics and teaching me to work with and groom my show cattle. We’ve spent a lot of quality time in a truck on the way to shows.

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

A: I am so passionate about traveling to county fairs and livestock shows showing my cattle. Besides the amazing milkshakes at the fair in Georgia and the funnel cakes in Tennessee, I love talking to the people at the fairs and educating them about what we do. Most only want to pet the pretty cow and have their picture made but I always enjoy seeing them smile.

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

A: There’s always something that needs to be done, never enough time to get all the chores done. Mom does the morning feeding for me but in the afternoons after school I wash heifers and do the evening feeding. Sometimes the barn door is closed way after dark.S Lay 3

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

A: Oh goodness, in ten years I’ll be 21 years old. I sure hope to be enrolled in college chasing my dream of working at NASA. We will have to see how cows fit in there.

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

A: I plan on improving and growing my operation by continuing to breed for and improve the quality of our show calves. It’s always so nice to tell someone at the show that she’s a Homegrown.

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

A: Hopefully I’ll leave my footprint on the beef industry in Tennessee by spreading some of our Shorthorn genetics. I like seeing someone show a heifer that I raised and sold.S Lay 5

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

A: Existing farmers can help most by continuing established programs and being opened minded about starting new ones to educate and benefit the younger generation. The investment of their time and money is very much appreciated by me and other youth involved in beef projects.

Q: What is your favorite beef dish?

A: Oh, that’s easy!!  A Big, Juicy Ribeye.

S Lay 4






FIVE on Friday: FIVE Reasons to Celebrate National Farmers Day


Did you know TODAY, October 12th, is National Farmer’s Day? Well, really every day should be National Farmer’s Day but today in particular is set aside to honor and celebrate the individuals who are dedicated to feeding, fueling, and clothing our world. There are many reasons Farmer’s should be celebrated but in this week’s FIVE on Friday we are sharing FIVE simple reasons why you should celebrate your farmer, whether that be your parent, grandparent, neighbor, or favorite vendor at the Farmer’s Market.

  1. Farmers work hard. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year Farmer’s are ALWAYS working. And, if they’re not working they’re thinking about working… thinking about which group of calves needs to be weaned, the impending rain, which hay field needs to be cut, etc. Farmer’s know that there is always work to be done and they will stop at nothing to get the task completed. Farmer’s don’t hold office hours which means simply completing the task regardless of the time of day.


  1. Farmers feed the world. Not only do Farmer’s feed the world but they clothe and fuel it too. One United States farm feeds 165 people annually in the United States and abroad. That is a large task for a Farmer, but as we all know, Farmer’s don’t back down from challenges.


  1. Farmers care. Right here, right now, I challenge you to name a person who cares more about the land, their livestock and their family than a Farmer does? Yeah, I didn’t think you could either. Farmers are simply the best stewards of the land. They know the land they farm and live on today is the future of agriculture and will be passed on to their children for many generations to come. Farmer’s also realize the task they have been given as the sole provider for the livestock on their farms. They WANT to provide the utmost care for their animals. AND, they WANT to do that because they know they’re feeding their own family and yours too. Farmers care.


  1. Farmers are talented. Beef cattle producer. Row-crop farmer. Dairy producer. Hog farmer. Poultry farmer. Etc. All farmers are talented.


  1. Farmers wear many hats. Businessmen, engineers, fathers, husbands, veterinarians, weathermen, bankers, counselors, advocates, mentors, and the list goes on and on. Not only does a Farmer’s job extend long beyond normal 8:00 to 5:00 office hours, but it also extends long beyond the boundaries of their farm too. Farmers wear many hats on and off the farm on a day-to-day basis.


How will you celebrate your FARMER this National Farmer’s Day!?


Meet the Future Monday: Mary Carter Shirley of White County, Tennessee

MCS MFM Insta 10.8Multi-generation agriculture enthusiast, diligent, many time champion showman, driven, and passionate are all things that describe the spotlight of this week’s Meet the Future Monday. Mary Carter Shirley from White County, Tennessee is no stranger to the show ring and livestock industry across the state. Mary Carter continues to make her presence known in and out of the ring as she strives to follow in the footsteps of her parents, grandparents, and great grandparents. Read our Q&A with Mary Carter below to learn more.

Describe your operation.

I am a 4th generation to live on our 100-acre family farm where we currently have 30 head of commercial cows.  I just started showing cattle in 2017 and I am currently working on building my herd. I am expecting my first bred and owned calf this spring.

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

I enjoy going to the barn and feeding my animals.  I like climbing up in the loft of the barn to get hay down.  I have always enjoyed going out and checking cows and counting the baby calves.  It is the best having wide open spaces to roam.Shirley2

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

I have always known the farm life.  My great grandparents, my grandparents, and my mom and dad were all raised on a farm.  I would have to say my family inspires me every day to be who I am, a farm girl.  I will say that dad is my biggest role model.  He pushes me to be the best I can be because he believes in me.

What are you most passionate about in your business?

I really enjoy showing cattle.  Even though I just started showing last year, my family is not new to it.  My late great grandfather, Hoss Stone, and grandfather Bob used to raise and show Hereford cattle.  My dad used to show cattle when he was a kid also.  I am just following in their footsteps.

What are some of the greatest challenges that you face as a young cattle producer?

Time seems to be the biggest challenge.  I show four species and time is definitely short.  Luckily, I am homeschooled so after my school work is done, I get to go to the barn.  There is always something to be done at the barn.

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

I hope to have a successful Hereford farm where I can help and mentor kids that show cattle and give them someone to look up to.


How will you continue to improve and grow your operation?

First off, success comes by working hard.  I want to continue to work hard to do my best and be the best I can be.

How do you intend to leave your footprint on the cattle industry in Tennessee?

As much as I enjoy showing, I want to be able to keep that going and make sure that never dies.

What could the existing producers do most to help young producers such as yourself?

Get involved with the youth and help promote beef farms.  If we get more kids involved today, imagine what the future could hold.

What is your favorite beef dish?




FIVE on Friday: FIVE things to know about the 2019 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show


The 2019 Cattle Industry Convention and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Trade Show will be held January 30 through February 1 in New Orleans, Louisiana. As registration and housing for the 2019 event is now open, here are FIVE things you should know and plan to look forward to at this year’s convention.

  1. REGISTER EARLY. Advanced registration is now open, and convention attendees are being encouraged to register early to get the most convenient housing before it fills up.16526629026_2cc7fd2ea2_o
  2. ANNUAL MEETINGS. The 2019 event will once again host several annual meetings including the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, American National CattleWomen, CattleFax, and the National Cattlemen’s Foundation.
  3. WHO YOU CAN EXPECT TO SEE… Country music entertainers Big & Rich, NFL Hall of Fame and Super Bowl Champion Terry Bradshaw, and cattle working expert Temple Grandin. You will not want to miss the exciting things these big-time speakers have to share.
  4. CATTLEMEN’S COLLEGE. The 26th annual Cattlemen’s College will once again take place before the actual kick-off of convention. As always, Cattlemen’s College will be packed full of educational, thought-provoking sessions to help producers generate a bigger buck.
  5. TRADE SHOW. With more than 300 exhibitors on more than 6 ½ acres, the NCBA Trade Show will be the PLACE. TO. BE.

Book your flight, reserve your room, and pack your boots… it’s time to make plans to Geaux to New Orleans for the 2019 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show! Learn more and gather more convention details here.


NCF Accepting Applications for CME Beef Industry Scholarships

Ivey3The National Cattlemen’s Foundation is now accepting applications for 2019-2020 beef industry scholarships sponsored by CME Group. Ten scholarships of $1,500 each will be awarded to outstanding students pursuing careers in the beef industry.

“The CME Beef Industry Scholarship is an investment in the next generation of cattle producers. CME Group is pleased to support the brightest talent of cattlemen and women, while promoting future participation in an industry that is critical to feeding the world,” said Tim Andriesen, CME Group Agricultural Products Managing Director. “Our partnership with the National Cattlemen’s Foundation and NCBA has spanned nearly three decades, and during that time, we’ve underscored the importance of risk management to the beef industry while contributing to the education of tomorrow’s industry leaders.”

The CME Beef Industry Scholarship was first introduced in 1989. Today, the scholarship recognizes and encourages talented students who will each play an important role in the future of food production in America. Students studying education, communication, production, research or other areas related to the beef industry should consider applying for the scholarship.

Applicants for the 2019-2020 scholarship must submit a one-page letter expressing their career goals related to the beef industry. Students must also write a 750-word essay describing an issue in the beef industry and offering solutions to this problem. Applicants must be a graduating high school senior or full-time undergraduate student enrolled at a two- or four-year college.

Online applications should be submitted by Nov. 9, 2018 at midnight Central Time. To apply, or learn more about the scholarship, click here. Scholarship winners will be announced during the 2019 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in New Orleans, La on February 1.

For more information visit

Meet the Future Monday: Dustin Thomas from Moore County, Tennessee

Raising black Angus cattle and falling in love with life on the farm came natural to Dustin Thomas from Moore County, Tennessee. He loves animals, and always finds time to be involved with his show cattle and the farm. Dustin has always enjoyed spending time on the farm with his Granny and Granddaddy at Shallow Creek Angus where he not only strives to breed and raise high quality show cattle but also females that will be good cows for years to come. Dustin has been showing cattle since he was nine years old andIMG_3902 has been very successful in the show ring over the years. He has shown many grand and division champions. In addition to his involvement in the livestock industry, Dustin is also actively involved in FFA, a member of the varsity baseball team, and enjoys hunting on the farm. Read our Q&A with Dustin below to learn more.

Q: Describe your operation.

A: I raise and show Registered black Angus Cattle. I currently own 22 cows, heifer, calves and bulls. Currently, I am in the process of building my herd with good genetics to eventually be able to have my own or participate in a production sale. I enjoy raising bred and own cattle and showing them so local farmers and other people in the Angus breed can see what my cattle look like. We always get lots of compliments from other farmers at the fairs about my cattle. As a breeder, that always makes me feel good.

Q: What have you enjoyed most about growing up on the farm?IMG_3774

A: Showing cattle and hunting. I can still remember the first show my Grannie and Granddaddy took me too while my mom and dad were out of town on business. From that point on, I loved it and was hooked on showing cattle. I remember going back home and Granddaddy telling me about a heifer he was going to give me. Her name was Bunny and that was my first show heifer. She still grazes on the farm at Shallow Creek Angus today. I also have enjoyed hunting on our farm over the years. Every year on the juvenile hunt, my Dad and Granddaddy both take me hunting and we have always killed a buck. I love spending time in the woods with them. I can remember a couple years ago my Granddaddy had open heart Surgery just weeks before juvenile hunt but he still made sure he went on the juvenile hunt with me.

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

A: My Granddaddy has definitely been my biggest role model. I don’t know where I would be today without him. He always has advice when I need it and is always one of my biggest supporters. When I am in the show ring he is always there to make sure my calf is set up properly.   However, in the showing business there is a lot of people that help you. My uncle and my dad have also helped me a lot. They are the ones who help me pick out cattle at the sales we attend to buy our cattle.IMG_2825

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

A: Raising good Angus cattle. I am also passionate about how my cattle look at shows. I always try to listen to what the judges like and don’t like about my cattle.

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

A: The biggest challenge I face is enough time to get it all done. I play high school baseball and focus on keeping my grades up so I can go to a good school when I graduate. Lucky for me, I have a good family that can help me with feeding and keeping my show cattle in good shape. My Grannie usually does all the feeding for our show cattle in the morning while my uncle does the feeding in the evenings.

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

A: In 10 years, I hope to be graduated from college. I also hope to have enough good quality cows to raise calves and have a production sale at Shallow Creek Angus.


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

A: I will continue to improve and grow my operation by continuing to breed my cattle to the best bulls in the Angus breed with good EPD’s. I will also continue to purchase good cattle through some of our local sales such as Mark Davis Family Angus sales, Shady Brook, and the Decades of Excellence sale.

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

A: By Raising and displaying good Angus cattle throughout all the fairs in Tennessee. We have several people that come by our stalls at the fairs that some know Angus cattle and some don’t, so if I have my cattle looking sharp hopefully that will make them want to buy Angus cattle. After all, Angus is “The Business Breed.”IMG_3786

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

A: Make it Fun for them and keep it interesting. I believe the experienced farmers could explain to the future farmers what they like in their cattle and why. I have been privileged to travel all over our state at shows and sales and have learned a lot by just listening to my Dad and Granddaddy talk to other farmers. I love going through sale catalogs and then going to sales and seeing which cattle fits best with my herd.

Q: What is your favorite beef dish?

A: A good ole Ribeye Medium Well. Angus Certified Beef of course!!