For 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.
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.
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.
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.