As a talented showman, honors student, and athlete, Morgan Riley of Williamson County, Tennessee is a well-rounded member of her community and the cattle industry in Tennessee. Raising competitive show cattle has taught Morgan the value of hard work and responsibility, and she continues to be rewarded for her hard work in and out of the show ring. Read our Q&A with Morgan below to learn more. Also, be sure to check out her family’s sale offering this weekend at Banner Elite Genetics.
Describe your operation.
I’m a part of Banner Elite Genetics and a fourth-generation cattle breeder in middle Tennessee with locations in College Grove, Eagleville, and Chapel Hill. We have a 150-head cow/calf operation of Angus and Hereford cattle. Our emphasis is mainly on performance cattle, but a select few of the herd are geared towards the show ring because of my passion for showing them. We also have an annual production sale the Saturday after Thanksgiving where we feature our latest genetics.
What have you enjoyed most about growing up on the farm?
I have really enjoyed watching my favorite show heifers produce quality calves that I can then show as bred and owned. Watching them grow and develop is exciting as I can see all my hard work pay off. I also enjoy the responsibility that comes with raising and showing cattle. It has been great and rewarding to meet new people across the state and country as well.
Who has been your biggest role model in pursuing your farming aspirations?
My uncle, Michael Banner, has played a huge part in introducing me to the cattle industry. He was the one that introduced me to showing cattle and helps me on show days. He continues to give me advice on how I can continue to grow and improve the operation.
What are you most passionate about in your business?
It would be continuing to learn more about the beef industry as I get older. I hope to continue to strive to always improve the quality of my operation for both phenotype and genotype.
What are some of the greatest challenges that you face as a young farmer?
Time management has been a major challenge for me as I have an aggressive school schedule with honors and AP classes. I am also on the high school softball team and a travel team as well as managing the daily responsibilities of my cows and a busy cow show schedule.
Where do you see yourself and your operation in 10 years?
My goal would be that I’m in vet school working towards becoming a large animal vet specializing in animal reproduction. I also hope to have a core group of great cows to continue my love for the beef industry.
How will you continue to improve and grow your operation?
By purchasing one or two of the best animals I can each year while also trying to keep some of the ones that I raise. Then, choosing the right bulls to breed them to so I can raise better calves year over year to improve the quality of my operation.
How do you intend to leave your footprint on the beef industry in Tennessee?
By selling my cattle to local, regional, and national breeders to improve the beef industry, so I can leave my mark. Hopefully the cattle that have been successful for me can be even more successful for others.
What could the existing farmers do most to help future farmers such as yourself?
Passing on their knowledge and share their successes and challenges so our generation of young farmers can continue to strive to improve the beef industry through their valuable years of experience.
What is your favorite beef dish?