Cowboy Poetry: The Stockman

By Barry Cooper | Bradley Farm | Sparta, TN 

cowboy at the rodeo - shot backlit against big cloud of dust, coWell, I got a little stockman’s blood,

Pumping through my veins,

I like a horse that can hold a cow,

I like the feel of bridle reins.


I’m really quite found of ropin’,

But I never made it to the NFR,

I’ll never be a singing cowboy,

Or a cowboy movie star.


I’ve never owned a pair of tennis shoes,

But I’ve got four pairs of boots,

I’ve got a good stout workin’ pen,

And a brand new cattle chute.


I keep my cattle healthy,

they never graze brush or weeds,

I got a charge account at the Farmers’ Co-op,

For supplies that I may need.


My gooseneck trailer is a little rusty,

My truck sure ain’t brand new,

But I’ve got a good bit of lush pasture grass,

Sparkling in the morning dew.


I’m usually bustin’ ice in January,

I’m fighting flies on the fourth of July,

I’m building fence in mid October,

Underneath a clear blue sky.


I’ll have to repair the big round baler,

I mush harvest and store some feed,

‘Cause in the dead of winter,

Good hay is what my cattle need.


I’ll gladly help my neighbor,

‘Round up some skittish strays,

I’ll have to bottle feed this baby calf,

Whose mother died today.


And while I’m outside in God’s creation,

I’ll stop and give Him praise,

For making me a stockman,

And for granting me another day.



Meet the Future Monday: Blaire Lamon of Henry County, Tennessee

Lamon1You would be hard-pressed to find someone as sweet and genuine with just as much fire and passion for the cattle industry as this week Meet the Future Monday. Blaire Lamon of Henry County, Tennessee not only loves this industry but also loves learning more about it and gathering the necessary tools to take her far into the future. Read our Q&A with Blaire to learn more.

  1. Describe your operation.

My grandfather, David Lamon, bought the farm we live on now in Cottage Grove. He started with 10 head of cattle. At that time, my grandfather, dad, and uncle started Triple D Farms. We are now called Lamon Farms & have increased our herd to 30 mama cows and a bull.

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

I enjoy driving the ranger around our property and helping my dad feed and move our cows to new pasture.

  1. Lamon2Who has been your biggest role model in pursuing your farming aspirations?

My biggest role models are my dad, mom, and the owners of Sunrise Farms- Ann & Angela Wilson for helping me with hands-on learning on the farm. The Wilsons have allowed me to show heifers from their farm at cattle shows & taught me about showmanship.

  1. What are you most passionate about in your business?

I enjoy learning new things about farming & cattle and want to further my education in the industry.

  1. Lamon3What are some of the greatest challenges that you face as a cattle producer?

Money to purchase quality cattle and land is a big challenge.

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

I see myself in college working towards a degree in Ag Science or Ag Business at Murray State University. I also hope to be helping other 4-H kids with showing cattle.

  1. How will you continue to improve and grow your operation?

I want to learn everything I can to improve the genetics of my cattle. I hope to one day be able to purchase more land around our farm to have more cattle.

  1. Lamon4What could the existing farmers do most to help young cattle producers such as yourself?

They could have programs & workshops at their farm to show us what they do for their cattle to help us be more successful on our farm.

  1. What is your favorite beef dish?

Steak, but I like hamburgers a lot too!


Op-Ed: TN Agriculture Commissioner Jai Templeton

4-18-16 Templeton_CommissionerJai_Tennessee Department of AgricuAs Governor Haslam’s administration comes to an end, I’m extremely pleased with the great work and devoted efforts that have come from our state government. During my time with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, one focus I’m particularly proud of is our work to assist and promote Tennessee’s food, farm, and forest businesses.

Even if you have the best innovation or idea, the thought of having an international customer base can be daunting. By reorganizing our Agricultural Advancement Division, we’ve been able to expand our focus on assisting Tennessee businesses with a renewed emphasis on international trade and exports.

In September, five Tennessee food and beverage businesses made lasting connections and discussed future trade deals during an outbound trade mission to Canada. Soon after that, we were excited to help host the Southern Forest Products Export Conference in Memphis, which showcased the importance of southern forest products and the industry that produces them.

While we’re promoting trade abroad, we will always make sure we focus on strengthening local markets. Our Agriculture Enterprise Fund (AEF) program started one year ago with a primary focus to facilitate agricultural development in at-risk and distressed counties in Tennessee. We’ve already awarded more than $1.3 million through the AEF, and these investments will lead to a total economic impact of more than $25 million throughout the state. Furthermore, many farmers and producers have utilized our Tennessee Agriculture Enhancement Program (TAEP). The program has paid more than $168 million to assist 57,549 projects since it was established in 2005.

Supporting the marketplace and processing facilities that farmers and foresters use can be just as important as assisting with on-farm projects. We understand the need for additional USDA-inspected meat processing capacity, and I appreciate the work our team has recently done to assist in increasing the number of processors in the state to 16 while also further developing our active locations. We are continuing to work diligently with current facilities on expansion projects as well as assisting those interested in building new facilities to extend this progress for our livestock producers who need it.

Producers benefit from having multiple avenues to market and sell their products. With this in mind, I’m pleased that we have assisted more than 500 farmers market projects across the state by awarding more than $2.5 million through TAEP.

Tennessee farmers know how to make the most of what they’ve got, and many have always had to work with limited resources. I’m proud of the staff at the Tennessee Department of Agriculture for being an additional resource for those who need it. And I’m proud of the work that has been done to ensure that our agriculture and forestry industry remains strong and profitable for generations to come.

I appreciate Governor Haslam for giving me the opportunity to serve in this role. My time with farmers, foresters, and consumers from the greatest state in the country will always be a highlight of my life.

I hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas, a happy New Year, and a safe holiday season. Thank you for all of your support during my time as Tennessee’s Commissioner of Agriculture.

Tennessee Cattlemen’s to Hold 34th Annual Convention & Trade Show

1The Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association (TCA) will celebrate 34 years of serving the state’s cattle producers with its annual convention and trade show in Murfreesboro, Tenn. on January 25-26. Attendees will hear from top livestock industry speakers addressing topics like herd health, forage systems, sustainability, and the current state of the beef business.

Informational breakout sessions called, “Cow Colleges” will be held on both Friday and Saturday. The speakers at these sessions include: Kendall Frazier, executive director of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA); Dr. Darrh Bullock, the Extension Beef Cattle Specialist for the University of Kentucky; Dr. Scott Brown of the University of Missouri will discuss the cattle market outlook; Dr. Mark Alley from Zoetis will share tips on transitioning to stocker cattle; Specialists from the University of Tennessee Extension will present on current research; and finally, representatives from the USDA and FSA will offer insights on Pasture, Rangeland, and Forage programs.

“At this year’s convention, I had over the reins to a new president,” said Steve Anderson, TCA’s president and cattle producer from Smith County. “I am proud to offer these great speakers to our attendees as my last leadership activity. No one will leave our event without a vast array of new ideas and new friends.”

In conjunction with TCA events, the Tennessee Dairy Producers Association (TDPA) will also meet. TDPA will hold its own meetings but will come together for general sessions. Additionally, UT Agriculture Extension Veterinarian Dr. Lew Strickland is once again arranging for a Veterinarian Continuing Education Seminar to be held in conjunction with the meeting.

Beginning at 9 a.m. on Friday, attendees can visit the trade to talk with more than 100 exhibitors. Vendors will be showing off new products, services, and the latest technology for the beef and dairy industries. Also that morning, there will be a live bull and heifer sale in the trade show area held by the University of Tennessee.

Later that day, TCA will be presenting several scholarships to youth and honoring outstanding industry leaders and members during the awards luncheon.

On Saturday, there will be a special opportunity for the youth participate in activities including a quiz bowl, scavenger hunt, and a Youth for the Quality Care of Animals Training Session. The Tennessee CattleWomen will also meet on Saturday morning where they will hear a presentation from Sharon Beals, the Vice President of Food & Safety for CTI Foods. All convention-goers are welcome to attend this meeting.

Pre-registration is $20 for Friday or $15 for Saturday. It is $30 for both Friday and Saturday. Lunch cost is extra. Pre-registration ends Jan. 18. Late registration and registration at the door will be an additional $10 over pre-registration fees.

Attendees can register online at A full schedule of events can also be found on the TCA website. If attendees would like to register for the TDPA sessions, they need to register with Stan Butt. If they are attending the Veterinarian sessions, they’ll register with Dr. Strickland. For hotel reservations, call the Embassy Suites Hotel at (615) 890-4464 or online:

Valuable Rancher Recordkeeping Tool from NCBA Available for 2019

abstract brown background leather color, vintage grunge backgrouA pocket-sized recordkeeping tool from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association offered to cattle producers for more than 30 years, is now available for 2019. NCBA’s Redbook helps cattle producers effectively and efficiently record their daily production efforts, helping enhance profitability.
The 2019 Redbook has more than 100 pages to record calving activity, herd health, pasture use, cattle inventory, body condition, cattle treatment, AI breeding records and more. It also contains a Producers Guide for Judicious Use of Antimicrobials in Cattle, Beef Quality Assurance Best Practices, and proper injection technique information, as well as a calendar and notes section.
“The Redbook has become a vital tool for U.S. cattlemen and women in their efforts to detail actions and practices on farms and ranches,” according to Dan Kniffen, a Pennsylvania beef producer. “It’s a way to document both the daily challenges and the positive steps they’re taking to show continuous improvement on their operations. Furthermore, in this age of electronics, the paper Redbook is cost-effective and always available, regardless of internet service or access to electricity. It’s a time-proven handheld method for record-keeping.”
Redbooks can be purchased for $7.00 each, plus shipping and handling. Customization of the Redbooks is available (for 100 books or more). To order, visit, click on “Producers.”
For more information on the NCBA Redbooks, contact Grace Webb at,
(800) 525-3085.

Meet the Future Monday: the Giffey Brothers of White County, Tennessee

Giffey MFM InstaGrady (15), Gavin (14), Gunnar (10), Gage (8), and Grant (6) Giffey, along with their parents, from White County, Tennessee make up Five Oaks Farm. Their farm name, Five Oaks Farm, comes from Isaiah 61:3 that says, “That they may be called oaks of righteousness, a planting for the Lord, that He may be glorified.” Their goal at Five Oaks Farm is to not only raise great cattle but also great boys who bring glory to God in all they say and do. The Giffey family has had a small herd of commercial cows for years and recently started raising and showing registered cattle two years ago. Read our Q&A with Grady, Gavin, and Gunnar below to gain an appreciation for their take of life on the farm.

Describe your operation.

Grady: I live on a small Red Angus cow/calf operation and I personally have a few Shorthorns.

Gavin: I have a small but high-quality Red Angus herd.

Gunnar: I have one steer that was a bottle calf that I bought from my neighbor.


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

Grady: All the lessons you learn and coming up with functional plans for the future.

Gavin:  I like building and fixing things.

Gunnar:  All the equipment…like the 4-wheeler to do chores, mowing the yard, and driving the tractor.


Giffey1Who has been your biggest role model in pursuing your farming aspirations?

Grady: My two role models are Wade Matthew and my uncle, Josh Rust.  Wade taught me all about the cattle business and cattle in general.  Uncle Josh knows how to raise a quality herd that I hope to have one like someday.

Gavin:  A multitude of people including my dad who is good at fixing stuff that breaks around here and my mom who just rocks! (she made me put that in here)

Gunnar:  My brother Grady.


What are you most passionate about in your business?

Grady: Raising quality animals for my future herd.

Gavin:  Making money so I can build my herd.

Gunnar:  Selling my steer to get a good heifer to show.


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

Grady: Finances to buy the cows I want to build my herd.

Gavin:  Doing my chores because I sometimes tend to procrastinate.

Gunnar:  Chores – the feed is heavy.


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

Grady: I see myself getting out of vet school, finding a job, and looking for a place to raise my herd.

Gavin:  I hope to be moving my cows to my own farm to continue to make my herd great.

Gunnar:  Maybe having six mama cows that my mom takes care of while I’m in college.


How will you continue to improve and grow your operation?

Grady: I will continue to make connections with breeders across the country to learn how they improve their herd so I can apply the same practices to my herd.

Gavin:  I will keep good heifer calves and AI for traits that I am looking for in my animals.

Gunnar:  Selling cows for more money and buying them for less.


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

Grady: There are lots of things that I am doing or plan to do.  For instance, participating in TCA, raising my own herd of quality Shorthorns, learning from others to understand best practices, and potentially becoming a vet.

Gavin:  I met a nice man named Steve Burnett, who raises Red Angus, that sold me my first two heifers.  I would like to be as kind and helpful to young people when I am older as he was to me.

Gunnar:  I will stomp in the mud after rainy days in my cow pasture.


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

Grady: I think helping provide resources that we could not afford like land, leasing high-quality cows to show, and letting us borrow or use the equipment.

Gavin:  They could give us knowledge by teaching us.

Gunnar:  Sell good cows for cheaper because kids don’t have much money.  That is how I got my steer.


What is your favorite beef dish?

Grady: A filet grilled medium with mushrooms and onions.

Gavin:  Cheeseburgers

Gunnar:  Burger loaded with lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles, and a fried egg.

NCF Accepting Applications for CME Beef Industry Scholarships

Ivey3The National Cattlemen’s Foundation is now accepting applications for 2019-2020 beef industry scholarships sponsored by CME Group. Ten scholarships of $1,500 each will be awarded to outstanding students pursuing careers in the beef industry.

“The CME Beef Industry Scholarship is an investment in the next generation of cattle producers. CME Group is pleased to support the brightest talent of cattlemen and women, while promoting future participation in an industry that is critical to feeding the world,” said Tim Andriesen, CME Group Agricultural Products Managing Director. “Our partnership with the National Cattlemen’s Foundation and NCBA has spanned nearly three decades, and during that time, we’ve underscored the importance of risk management to the beef industry while contributing to the education of tomorrow’s industry leaders.”

The CME Beef Industry Scholarship was first introduced in 1989. Today, the scholarship recognizes and encourages talented students who will each play an important role in the future of food production in America. Students studying education, communication, production, research or other areas related to the beef industry should consider applying for the scholarship.

Applicants for the 2019-2020 scholarship must submit a one-page letter expressing their career goals related to the beef industry. Students must also write a 750-word essay describing an issue in the beef industry and offering solutions to this problem. Applicants must be a graduating high school senior or full-time undergraduate student enrolled at a two- or four-year college.

Online applications should be submitted by Nov. 9, 2018 at midnight Central Time. To apply, or learn more about the scholarship, click here. Scholarship winners will be announced during the 2019 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in New Orleans, La on February 1.

For more information visit

NCBA Contest Seeks Singer for National Anthem at 2019 Cattle Convention in New Orleans

Microphone. Modern Sound System EquipmentIf you’re a singer from the cattle industry who can perform the National Anthem with precision, and if you would like a free trip to the 2019 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show Jan. 30 – Feb. 1, 2019, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association would like to hear from you. The organization is conducting its fifth annual National Anthem Contest, sponsored by Norbrook. Any member of NCBA, the American National CattleWomen, the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, or their children are eligible to participate in the contest.

This year there is no age limit for entry. The contest winner will perform the Star Spangled Banner at the convention’s Opening General Session Jan. 30, as well as the Cowboy Concert Series Friday Night Event Feb. 1. They will receive roundtrip airfare for two to New Orleans for the convention, a hotel room for four nights, free convention registration for two, plus a pair of boots, pair of jeans and a shirt from Roper or Stetson.

Previous NCBA National Anthem Contest winners are not eligible. Entries are being accepted through Oct. 19, 2018. Top four finalists will be chosen by Oct. 26, 2018, and videos will be posted to the convention website at Voting will be open from Nov. 1, 2018 to Nov. 30, 2018 (one vote per person per day). The winner will be announced Dec. 5, 2018.

For more information or to enter, visit and hit the “get involved” button.

Northeast Tennessee Beef Expo Returns to Greeneville

N61A0325Beef producers are invited to learn firsthand from University of Tennessee Extension specialists, industry leaders and researchers at the Northeast Tennessee Beef Expo October 11.
Held at the UT AgResearch and Education Center at Greeneville, this event meets an important need for Tennessee cattle producers, providing science-backed information for everyday problems. Topics to be covered include hay storage and feeding, pasture renovation, artificial insemination and pregnancy checking. A beef market outlook will be presented from UT agricultural and resource economists.
In addition to educational sessions, a trade show will offer exhibits from numerous agricultural sponsors and various vendors. Experts will discuss hay and forage recommendations and a Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program (TAEP) livestock update will round out the day.
Registration is $15 before September 28 and includes lunch. On-site registration is $20, with lunch offered on a first come, first served basis. Check in begins at 7:30 a.m. with the program beginning at 8:30 a.m.
The UT AgResearch and Education Center at Greeneville is located off U.S. Highway 70 approximately five miles south of Greeneville on East Allens Bridge Road. For more information, contact your local county UT Extension office.
The AgResearch and Education Center at Greeneville is one of 10 outdoor laboratories located throughout the state as part of the UT AgResearch system. Both UT Extension and UT AgResearch are part of the UT Institute of Agriculture.
The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture celebrates 50 years of excellence in providing Real. Life. Solutions. through teaching, discovery and service. ​​.

Maximize Farm Profits With Cost Share Program

TAEP Project Sign

Tennessee farmers and producers have the opportunity to expand their operations, increase farm efficiency, and make a positive economic impact in their communities with the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program (TAEP).

The 2018 TAEP application period has been set for Oct. 1 – 15. The program was established in 2005 to provide cost-share dollars to agricultural producers for the purpose of making long-term investments in Tennessee

farms and communities. Since then, more than $152 million has been invested in more than 51,300 producer projects.

“This program does more than increase farm profits,” Agriculture Commissioner Jai Templeton said. “Each TAEP dollar generates nearly $4 in local economies. We appreciate the support from Governor Haslam and the Tennessee General Assembly as this program continues to strengthen our state’s number one industry.”

Producers can apply for a variety of programs and qualify for up to 50 percent cost share. Producers should use Application A for livestock equipment, genetics, hay storage, livestock solutions, livestock working facility cover, and grain storage.

A separate Application B is available for the Producer Diversification program. That program assists farmers with investments in agritourism, fruits and vegetables, honey bees, horticulture, organics, and value-added products. Producer Diversification applications are competitively evaluated by industry sector. Application C is available for commercial poultry growers.

Approval notifications are scheduled to be mailed in mid-December. Program purchases can be made starting October 1, 2018 and must be completed by the program’s final reimbursement request deadline. Participants are encouraged to make purchases and submit reimbursement requests in a timely manner to avoid processing delays.

To ensure accuracy, producers are encouraged to work with their local extension agent or a TDA representative to complete the application. For more information about the program and for an application, visit or call 1-800-342-8206.