Meet the Future Monday: Rob Oakley of Overton County, Tennessee

Oakley MFM InstaThis week’s Meet the Future Monday, Rob Oakley, is the fifth generation to farm on his family’s century old farm in Overton County, Tennessee. It is evident that Rob has the same passion for raising good cattle and growing the future of his operation that the many generations before him did as well. Read our Q&A with Rob to see his passion and plans for the future of his Angus cattle operation.

Describe your operation.

I am the fifth generation to farm our family’s century owned operation. We manage around 300 acres that we run approximately 100 brood cows and 50 purebred Angus cows on. We have a commercial cow-calf operation as well as a purebred Angus herd. We also sell registered Angus bulls, heifers, and, most recently, Registered show heifers. We also have several donors that we flush and put embryos in recip cows as well.

What have you enjoyed most about growing up on the farm?

I enjoy being outside and being around the cattle; watching them eat, lay around, & raise a calf crop each season. I enjoy taking care of our farm like my great, great grandfather did.

Who has been your biggest role model in pursuing your farming aspirations?

My Pa always had cattle growing up and would take me along on daily chores. So, from a young age I enjoyed that time spent with him and his cows. Oakley3

What are you most passionate about in your business?

Our purebred Angus herd for sure. Not to say I don’t appreciate our commercial herd but I really enjoy picking different A.I. sires and new genetics to breed our purebred cattle to improve the calf crop each season. Recently, my love for show animals has really grown to my biggest passion and is what I’m really focusing on for the future of the farm.

What are some of the greatest challenges that you face as a cattle producer?

I would say our greatest challenge is fighting today’s commercial cow market. With high operating cost and dropping calf prices this is a challenge we all face in the beef industry and is what makes it hard on the modern farmer to survive. Another challenge we face is making sure all cows are bred and producing calves each season.

Where do you see yourself and your operation in 10 years?

I hope to have my own herd of Angus show cattle that my younger siblings or customers can show on the national level. Also, I would like to have a great herd of donor cows as well as a great recip program.

How will you continue to improve and grow your operation?Oakley2

Continue to buy elite donors, use top Angus genetics, utilize Artificial Insemination and flushing our donor cows.

How do you intend to leave your footprint on the cattle industry in Tennessee?

Hopefully to have one of the best Angus herds in Tennessee. Especially, some great show animals as well as genomic performance cattle.

What could the existing farmers do most to help young cattle producers such as yourself?

Share their knowledge with us and help us to prevent making some of the mistakes they made as younger producers. Also, utilize a good vaccination program to prevent the spread of viruses and sickness, and in return leaving us with better animals to purchase.

What is your favorite beef dish?

I would have to say my favorite is 12 oz. Filet Mignon cooked medium rare.


Tennessee Cattlemen’s Recognizes Outstanding Leaders in the Industry

Steve Medlin

Steve Medlin, Medlin Angus in Cookeville, with his family. He received the Business Person of the Year Award. 

The Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association (TCA) awarded eight individuals for their hard work and dedication to the beef cattle industry during the 34th Annual Tennessee Cattlemen’s Convention and Trade Show in Murfreesboro on January 25, 2019.

These awards were created to recognize outstanding individuals in the various sectors of the cattle industry in Tennessee. Nominated by their peers, the awards presented recognized individuals who have excelled in stocker and cow-calf production, educational programs, business, and service to the beef cattle industry.

“Our award winners represent the best of our industry,” said Charles Hord, executive vice president of TCA. “One common theme among all our winners this year was service. They believed in helping their communities, the youth and their fellow cattle producers. We are lucky to have individuals such as these in our association.”

The award winners were as follows:

  • Dr. Emmit Rawls Outstanding Stocker Producer Award: Blake Holder – Hartsville, TN
  • Dr. Clyde Lane Outstanding Cow-Calf Producer Award: Greg Buckner – Ten Mile, TN
  • Dr. Jim Neel Outstanding Work in Beef Extension Educational Programs Award: Larry Mitchell – Meigs County
  • Business Person of the Year: Steve Medlin – Cookeville, TN
  • Outstanding FFA Beef Program: Rod Barnes – Selmer, TN
  • TCA President’s Award: Lauren Neale, Director of Communications for TCA
  • John Bartee Distinguished Service Award: Lafayette Williams – Knoxville, TN
  • TCA Legislator of the Year: Rep. David Kustoff – United States House of Representatives for Tennessee’s 8th Congressional Distric

These individuals were presented a commemorative plaque during the Awards Luncheon, which was attended by near 1,000 convention attendees

TCA looks forward to working with these individuals and other great people in the cattle industry for years to come. Applications for next year’s awards will be available in the fall of 2019.

Meet the Future Monday: 2019 Youth Beef Heifer Initiative Scholarship Winners


Murfreesboro, TN—Six Tennessee students were awarded the Youth Beef Heifer Initiative Scholarship, sponsored by the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association and Farm Credit Mid-America. They received this award during the Alltech/Kubota Youth Awards Banquet at the 34thAnnual Tennessee Cattlemen’s Convention and Trade Show in Murfreesboro on Jan. 25.

 The Heifer Initiative focuses on cost-sharing of beef cattle for youth. First place winners of each age division are awarded $2,000 and belt buckle sponsored by the University of Tennessee Animal Science, and the second place winners are awarded $1,000. This money is to be put towards the purchase of a beef heifer of their choice from a Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association member within one year of receiving the funds. There are three age divisions: Youth, Junior High, and Senior High.

“Farm Credit Mid America has once again helped support the future of our industry by providing six heifer scholarships for deserving young cattlemen in Tennessee,” said Charles Hord, TCA Executive Vice President. “These heifers will be shown and then become the foundation for a new cattlemen’s herd. Congratulations to our winners.”

Rose Mary Johns of Williamson County won first place in the Youth Division and Jake Ozburn of Bedford County won second place. Mary Carter Shirley of White County won first place in the Junior High Division and Tyler Burks of Wilson County won second place. Lena Sims of Humphreys County won first place in the Senior High Division and Jacqueline King of McMinn County won second place.

RoseMary Johns, youth winner from Williamson County said, “I can’t thank the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association enough for choosing me as a 2019 Heifer Scholarship winner. I am so excited to purchase a new Shorthorn show heifer, support a Tennessee cattle farmer, and continue to be a positive influence on the beef industry in my great state. Next year is going to be exciting showing my new girl and wearing my awesome new belt buckle.”

“The heifer initiative is a program that has a direct impact on a youth across Tennessee in the beef industry and is a natural fit for Farm Credit funding,” said Shane Williams, Senior Financial Officer for Farm Credit Mid America. “We realize cattle operations are an expensive business and this program allows a child to grow their beef herd or even buy that first show heifer. We are proud to be a partner in a program that not only promotes the beef industry but more importantly focuses on youth development and our future leaders.”

Lena Sims, senior high winner from Humphreys County said, “I am so thankful for this opportunity that the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association has provided me and many other youth across the state. I hope to do my best in show rings across the state with the heifer I purchase at the other end of the halter and by my side.”

The application for the 2020 Beef Heifer Initiative Scholarship will be available in the fall of 2019.

TCA was founded in 1985 and has more than 7,000 members from across the state and the southeast. The organization works to provide the cattlemen of Tennessee with an organization through which they may function collectively to protect their interests and work toward the solution of cattle industry problems and to build the necessary goodwill that will bring both governmental esteem and recognition to the industry. 


Sevier County Cattleman Elected President of the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association

Roger RadelDuring the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association’s (TCA) Convention and Trade Show in late January, Sevier County cattle producer, Roger Radel, became president of the association. Radel has served on the Executive Committee for six years, along with other leadership roles in his local community such the local Co-op Board of Directors, Farm Bureau, Sevier County Fair Board, Sevier County Agricultural Committee, and the Sevier County Cattlemen’s Board. TCA’s nominating committee selected him as the next presidential candidate, which he believes “is a privilege” and is “excited become more involved in the organization.”

Radel, his wife, Madeline, and their children, moved to Tennessee in 1983 where he was a full-time hotel manager. With a deep love of agriculture that stemmed from growing up on a dairy farm, Radel knew he wanted to farm. “I must have made my dreams known to my wife because, in 1985, she bought me a calf,” said Radel. “The little guy made me quite happy, but I told my wife that he couldn’t be alone and that we needed a few more so that he would not be lonesome. Thankfully, she bought that.”  Now, the Radels have a 250-head cow-calf operation, consisting of 110 momma cows, their calves, and some background cattle. Radel retired in 2014 and took on cattle production on full-time.

“Roger will provide the steady leadership we need to grow our organization and continue to represent and improve our industry,” said Charles Hord, executive vice president of TCA. “We appreciate his willingness to serve the beef industry in this capacity.”

There are many facets of leading an association, but Radel is most excited to help the youth programs grow. “We need young people to become more involved in the cattle industry.  We also need to educate our younger generation about agriculture.  This is also a great opportunity to work with cattlemen to make Tennessee Cattle more marketable.”

Radel will serve in this role for a two-year term.

CattleFax Cow-Calf Survey Released

6-1CattleFax has introduced its annual Cow-Calf Survey. Information requested in the survey provides participants and the rest of the industry with valuable information regarding industry benchmarks and trends.

Survey participants will receive a results summary packet, with useful information that will allow managers and owners to evaluate their own operations. Items such as cow-calf profitability, tendencies of high and low return producers, regional data, and other valuable information are included.

By completing the survey and submitting a valid email address, participants will also be entered into a drawing to win a $700 CattleFax voucher. To be entered to win a voucher and receive the full results, a valid email address must be submitted. All individual results will be confidential and remain anonymous.

Three $700 vouchers will be given away. The credit can be used for any CattleFax memberships, registration fees for education seminars (Corporate College and Risk Management Seminar), and/or registration fees for the annual Outlook and Strategies session. To be considered in the drawing, participants must complete the entire survey and submit a valid email address. Winners will be selected by a random number generator and will be contacted via email after the survey closes.

The survey can be accessed here or by going to and selecting the About tab at the top of the page, then clicking on “2018 Cow-Calf Survey” on the sidebar. The deadline to complete the survey is Feb. 28, 2019.

For questions or concerns please contact Tanner Aherin, Analyst, at 800-825-7525, or

Jennifer Houston of Tennessee Takes Helm of National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

unnamed (2)

Jennifer Houston, of Sweetwater, TN, is now president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. She is pictured far left. 

Jennifer Houston of Sweetwater, Tenn., was named president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association at the organization’s annual meeting in New Orleans, La., Feb. 2. Houston had served as 2018 president-elect.
Houston and her husband, Mark, own and operate East Tennessee Auction Market in Sweetwater. She has been active in the beef industry for more than 30 years, first serving at the state level then being elected to positions in national posts. She has been an NCBA board member since 1996.
Elected NCBA president-elect was Marty Smith (Florida). Jerry Bohn (Kansas) was elected vice president. Don Schiefelbein (Minnesota) was elected chair of the NCBA Policy Division and Todd Wilkinson (South Dakota) was elected vice chair. Laurie Munns (Utah) was elected chair of the NCBA Federation Division and Buck Wehrbein (Nebraska) was elected vice chair. Past president is Kevin Kester (California).
Elected to serve on the Beef Promotion Operating Committee from the Federation of State Beef Councils, joining Munns, Wehrbein and ten members elected from the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, were: Katie Brenny (Minnesota), Gary Deering (South Dakota), Bradley Hastings (Texas), Chris Jeffcoat (Pennsylvania), Clark Price (North Dakota), Jeff Rudolph (Nebraska), Don Terry (Tennessee) and VeaBea Thomas (South Dakota).
NCBA policy priorities were also established at the meeting. These priorities included 2019 work in Fake Meat; Trade and Market Access; Dietary Guidelines; and Regulatory Reform and Implementation. In addition to the NCBA annual meeting, the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, CattleFax, American National CattleWomen and National Cattlemen’s Foundation also conducted business meetings.

Capping a Huge Event
The Board meeting followed a highly successful 2019 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show. A total of 8,774 people attended the event, one of the most well-attended cattle industry conventions ever.
Attendees of the event enjoyed a wide array of events that enlightened, educated and entertained Jan. 30 – Feb. 1. The proceedings began a day earlier, on Jan. 29, when more than 1,500 producers attended Cattlemen’s College, sponsored by Zoetis. Cattlemen’s College keynote speaker was Bill Cordingley, head of wholesale banking North America, RaboBank. Cordingley spoke on “Greater Expectations, Bigger Opportunities.” Eight Cattlemen’s College session tracks followed to educate attendees.
Entertaining a full audience at the Opening General Session Jan. 30, sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim, was four-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Terry Bradshaw. Singing the National Anthem at the session was Kari Wheeler of Biggs, Calif., winner of NCBA’s fifth annual National Anthem contest, sponsored by Norbrook.
CattleFax held its popular U.S. and Global Protein and Grain Outlook SeminarThursday, Jan. 31. Sponsored by Purina Animal Nutrition, LLC and Zoetis, the session looked at the factors that drive the market, such as domestic and international supplies and demand. Dr. Art Douglas presented his outlook for 2019 U.S. and world weather at the session.
The Closing General Session Friday, Feb. 1, sponsored by American National, featured an appearance by Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, who encouraged the audience to tell its story to today’s consumers. At the session Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter John Ondrasik, better known by his stage name Five for Fighting, asked his audience What If? Harnessing Inspiration and Creativity to Design the World that You Want, offering insights from someone who has lived the process.
Entertainment was prevalent in New Orleans. For instance, a Mardi Gras Masquerade along the Mississippi River the evening of Jan. 31, allowed attendees to experience much of what makes New Orleans a popular tourist location. Sponsored by Central Life Sciences, the event featured dancing and fabulous food, as well as songs from country singer Paul Bogard.
Wrapping up the Convention on Friday night, Feb. 1, was the 2019 Cowboy Concert Series, sponsored by IMI Global, with popular headliners Big and Rich. After the concert the Louisiana Last Call After Party, also sponsored by IMI Global, with beef donated by BPI and Dos Rios, allowed the good times to continue to roll.
Cattle industry members honored fellow producers throughout the Convention. Stewards of the nation’s natural resources, for instance, will again be recognized in the National Environmental Stewardship Award Program, while on Friday the Best of Beef Breakfast honored others with many different awards.
Opportunities to engage and educate at Convention were endless – especially during the NCBA Trade Show. More than 350 exhibitors showcased their profit-enhancing products and services on more than seven acres.
The NCBA Trade show is just one part of the most important national event for anyone in the cattle business. The 2019 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show was a great chance for cattle producers to charge up their personal and industry batteries for 2019; get re-acquainted with cattle industry friends from around the country; see the newest and most innovative products in the industry; be captivated by outstanding entertainment and presenters; and enjoy some of the flavor of Louisiana food and entertainment.

Meet the Future Monday: 2018 Tennessee’s Top Tier Winners

MURFREESBORO, TN—The Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association (TCA) recognized nearly 30 youth members for their success in the first year of the Tennessee’s Top Tier point circuit. The winners were recognized at the Alltech/Kubota Youth Awards Banquet during the 34th Annual Tennessee Cattlemen’s Convention and Trade Show in Murfreesboro on Jan. 25.

The Tennessee’s Top Tier program was created by TCA to increase youth involvement at cattle shows across the state and to create more opportunities for agriculture youth to be recognized. The program has been widely successful in its first year.

“We started the Tennessee’s Top Tier program with merely the intention to encourage involvement at cattle shows across the state and reward youth in the cattle industry,” said Melinda Perkins, TCA Director of Youth Programs and Outreach. “The response we have received from the exhibitors and others has been phenomenal.”

Participants can receive points in three areas which includes a heifer, steer, and showmanship division. To receive points, exhibitors must be youth members of the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association.

“I believe the Tennessee Top Tier program has had a positive impact on the involvement of youth exhibiting cattle,” said Samantha Roberts, Top Tier winner. “I have witnessed a great amount of youth participation this past year compared to other years.”

The following were the top five winners in each division, listed from first to fifth. Top five heifer exhibitors: Dylan Inman, Decatur County; Samantha Roberts, McMinn County; Kayla Jackson, Wilson County; Kabry Tinin, Lawrence County; Morgan Riley, Williamson County. Top five steer exhibitors: Murray Perkins, Henry County; Wyatt Haley, Williamson County; Samantha Roberts, McMinn County; Parker Saum, McNairy County; Kendra Cornelius, McMinn County. Top five Senior Plus Showmen: Kayla Jackson, Wilson County; Morgan Lehnert, Lawrence County; Chas Rowlett, Gibson County; Emily Ivey, Loudon County. Top five Senior Showmen: Murray Perkins, Henry County; Dylan Inman, Decatur County; Samantha Roberts, McMinn County; Grant Funderburk, Decatur County; Shelley Rowlett, Weakley County. Top five Junior High Showmen: Morgan Riley, Williamson County; Lila Sims, Humphreys County; Foster Wingler, Rutherford County; Maggie Lamon, Giles County; Kendra Cornelius, McMinn County. Top five Junior Showmen: Kabry Tinin, Lawrence County; Mary Carter Shirley, White County; Kylie Cornelius, McMinn County; Avery Rowlett, Wayne County; Evan Jackson, Benton County. IMG_6631-2

“The Top Tier program was a great addition to the Tennessee Cattlemen’s youth program. It attracted more people to the shows and really increased the competition,” said Morgan Riley, Top Tier winner. “It was also nice to be rewarded for all the hard work we put in throughout the whole year. It showed that hard work truly does pay off.”

Year two of Tennessee’s Top Tier program is now underway. Rules and a full list of shows on the points circuit can be found online at,

TCA is committed to the future of the beef cattle industry in Tennessee.

PHOTOS can be downloaded here: