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 and 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?
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.
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.”
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!!