Christine McCollum of Williamson County, Tennessee is the focus of this week’s Meet the Future Monday. Christine is actively involved in her county’s livestock project group which has laid the ground work for her desire to grow her herd and helped her decide on her future career path. Read below to learn more.
1) Describe your operation.
We currently have eight heifers that are a mix of Angus, Simmental, Chi-Angus and Sim-Shorthorn, six of which are pregnant and due next spring. At the moment, we have one 3-month-old heifer out of one our own cows. I have one heifer that is out of a cow we bought last summer, and I am planning on showing her this summer. We also currently have three show steers at our barn along with three show hogs. We don’t own a bull but have had one brought to our farm to breed two of the heifers that are now pregnant and we artificially inseminated the other four. So, while our herd is fairly small at the moment, we are working to grow it.
2) What have you enjoyed most about growing up on the farm?
For me, the best part of growing up on a farm is all the lessons it has taught me. It has specifically taught me responsibility, whether that is in the barn taking care of livestock or serving as president of our county’s 4-H livestock project. It has also shown me that my passion is agriculture and helped me to start my path for college.
3) Who has been your biggest role model in pursuing your farming aspirations?
Wow, it’s hard to pick one. Probably my dad and his dad, they co-own our little operation all while having full time jobs as a Pediatrician and a small animal Veterinarian. They’re not making any money from it, they do it so that my siblings and I can show animals and have the experience of growing up on a farm.
4) What are you most passionate about in your business?
Just agriculture in general; I have always loved livestock and I am planning on going to school to either become an Ag Teacher or large animal Veterinarian.
5) What are some of the greatest challenges that you face as a cattle producer?
Time; owning/living on a farm is a full-time job, and balancing my school work and the time I need to be spending at the barn with my animals is difficult.
6) Where do you see yourself and your operation in 10 years?
In ten years, I hope to either be working as a high-school Ag Teacher or a Veterinarian, two very different things. I hope to have a small operation consisting mostly of cattle and horses but possibly some sheep as well.
7) How will you continue to improve and grow your operation?
Like I said we have six pregnant heifers that are due in a few months and we are praying some of them are bulls. We will probably sell them as steers and most likely use that money to expand our herd with more heifers.
8) How do you intend to leave your footprint on the cattle industry in Tennessee?
I hope to help educate more of the Middle Tennessee youth. I want to share the knowledge I have learned and expand the agriculture community in our area. I believe that the best way for me to do that is through 4-H. I currently serve as the Williamson County 4-H livestock project President and I am striving to involve more of our youth in the cattle project.
9) What could the existing farmers do most to help young cattle producers such as yourself?
I think the best thing for them to do is just to share their experience and knowledge with us. whether that’s by teaching at different workshops or just helping an individual kid. Also, supporting us at auctions is huge, our big county auction is held at the fair each year, and the more people we have there supporting each of us, the easier it is for us to continue to show our cattle.
10) What is your favorite beef dish?
That’s a tough one, probably a ribeye steak though.