Multi-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.
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?