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.
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.
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.
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!!!!!