Not only was Evan Jackson born into the agriculture industry as a seventh-generation farmer but for his second birthday he received six females that laid the foundation for his very own cattle herd. It is safe to say that farming and raising cattle runs deep in Evan’s blood. Read this week’s Meet the Future Monday to learn more about Evan Jackson the 11-year-old cattle enthusiast and Tennessee Cattlemen’s Youth Association member from Benton County, Tennessee.
Describe your operation:
I currently live on my family farm consisting of roughly 1500 acres where we grow wheat, corn, soybeans, Bermuda grass hay, pumpkins and beef cattle. My younger sister and I are the seventh generation to live and work on our century farm. I received six black Angus cows for my second birthday (which is all I asked for!) and have grown my herd slowly from within. We have the small herd of 31 registered black Angus cattle and calves, show cattle (two Herefords, two Simmental/Angus), horses, a pony, a donkey, sheep, pygmy goats, geese, ducks, chickens, dogs, and cats.
What have you enjoyed most about growing up on the farm?
The animals. I love animals and love being around them. I spend many hours at the barn when we are home cleaning out stalls, feeding and taking care of the animals, and working on fences. I love being out away from all the noise where it is quiet, you can only see fields from the house, and riding the ranger or 4-wheeler on the farm to go check the cattle and fences. I love being with my family on the land and being able to hunt and fish whenever I want.
Who has been your biggest role model in pursuing your farming aspirations?
I would have to say my mom has been my biggest role model. She, along with her brother, showed horses, sheep and hogs in 4-H when they were growing up and tell me many stories about it all. She also had all kinds of animals on her farm and helped her dad with them as well as the row cropping and hay operation. She still works on the farm today as well as a full time job in education. The rest of my family are also role models to me in the amount of work and time sacrifice they all do for each other. My dad works hard to help get all the equipment we need and to take me to all these cattle shows. My uncle is a veterinarian and we call on him all the time for our animal needs and he’s always right there to doctor them and give us advice. My sister and grandparents always help out and support me in every way. We all can’t imagine any other life than farming.
What are you most passionate about in your business?
Definitely my cattle. I just love beef cattle the best. I also am very interested in several kinds of cattle and I plan to raise more than one breed. I mean, cows are my life.
What are some of the greatest challenges that you face as a young farmer?
Being a farmer is just challenging in general, but it seems to get more expensive to put in crops, fertilize them, and buy feed all the time. It’s getting harder to make it on the farm without another job off the farm as well. Technology is increasing, which is great, but also drives up the prices of equipment. This makes it even harder for the small farm and rancher like us to keep the farm profitable.
There is also the huge time factor to get everything done. My family and I are always talking about how there is literally not enough time in the day to get all the things accomplished that we need to. I play all kinds of sports, have church youth activities and must do my homework to keep good grades. Needless to say, we truly don’t sleep a lot around our place. But thankfully, I am a morning person so I just get up anyway!
Where do you see yourself and your operation in 10 years?
In ten years, I will be a junior in college. I hope to be very close to completing a degree in agriculture and coming back after graduation to run my family farm. I want to improve and expand the cattle operation all that I can with quality genetics and calves to sell and be able to make the land as useful and profitable as possible.
How will you continue to improve and grow your operation?
I want to continue to add more heifers to our herd and increase in numbers. We have recently cleared and fenced in more pasture land for the cattle and will need to do more. I always want to make improvements to our working system barn and I would like to add automatic waters.
How do you intend to leave your footprint on the beef industry in Tennessee?
Well I certainly want to be known for good, quality beef cattle of various breeds. I also want to be able to help others when I grow up. I have had some very good support, help, and advice from good friends and family in this industry that I respect and appreciate. I want to be able to help someone else get into this business or show cattle, or even just learn about farming. I hope someday Eagle Creek Cattle will have a very strong name and reputation.
What could the existing farmers do most to help future farmers such as yourself?
They could make sure that they pass on all their farm knowledge and all they have learned through their experiences in the years. My grandfather may not be able to physically work like he once did on the farm, but he certainly gives me good instructions on how to do many things, like how to drive different tractors and how to fix the hay baler when it messes up! I always need advice from the current and older farmers. Their expertise is invaluable to the younger generation.
What is your favorite beef dish?
It would have to be the awesome grilled hamburgers that my grandad and grandma grill from our own processed beef.