A Family Affair
by Melinda Perkins, published October 2020 Tennessee Cattle Business
Rx3 Livestock was born when the Johns’ siblings set out on a quest to become the sixth generation to raise cattle on the Johns’ family farm in Holt’s Corner, Tennessee. RuthAnn (9th grade), RoseMary (7th grade), and Ransom (6th grade) Johns are the children of Brian and Jennifer Johns and have been involved in the cattle industry since 2014. As young cattle producers, they jumped in with both feet and began gathering the necessary resources to make their mark in the cattle industry. The Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association (TCA) and Farm Credit Mid-American (FCMA) Youth Beef Heifer Scholarship was among the many resources that helped them get their start.
In 2017, RuthAnn was the first of the Johns’ sibling to win a heifer scholarship. RoseMary then won in 2019, and Ransom in 2020. Coincidentally, they were all in 5th grade at the time they won their scholarships.
“Mom always kept it a secret from us if we won. So, I was surprised and shocked when they called my name as a Heifer Scholarship recipient at the cattlemen’s convention,” said RuthAnn. RuthAnn used her scholarship to purchase a Sim-Angus heifer from Walter Scott of Scott Valley Farms in Culleoka, Tennessee. This heifer led RuthAnn to many accomplishments in the show ring, including champion showman at the Central Region 4-H Show and Champion Percentage Simmental at the Williamson County Fair. However, beyond the show ring accolades, RuthAnn’s Sim-Angus heifer helped her to develop her own showmanship style and boost her confidence in the show ring. Selecting and purchasing her show heifer also helped to cultivate her livestock judging skills.
Much like RuthAnn, RoseMary was shocked and excited to hear her name called as a recipient. “I think I was too young to know exactly what was going on but even then, I knew it was a big accomplishment,” commented RoseMary. “I also was super excited about winning the belt buckle. It might’ve been my favorite part,” said RoseMary jokingly, about winning the commemorative heifer scholarship belt buckle sponsored by the University of Tennessee Animal Science Department. RoseMary purchased a Shorthorn heifer from Walt Dickson of Smoky Mountain Farm and Ranch in Philadelphia, Tennessee. RoseMary and her red roan heifer won several smaller shows during their tenure in the show ring, but the highlight for the duo was winning their class at the Tennessee Junior Beef Expo.
Ransom completed the sibling trifecta of winning the heifer scholarship in January 2020. The heifer scholarship recipients are given one year to make their purchase. Ransom is still weighing all his options and thinking hard about the heifer he will purchase. “I am looking to buy a Simmental or Sim-Angus heifer. I like black cows,” said Ransom. Much like his two older sisters, Ransom is looking forward to using his heifer to help sharpen his showmanship skills.
In addition to helping improve their showmanship and livestock judging skills, showing cattle has also taught RuthAnn, RoseMary, and Ransom how to manage their time when it comes to balancing their show cattle responsibilities with their other extracurricular activities. Outside the show ring, RuthAnn is involved in the National FFA Organization, Ransom plays football, and both girls are members of the volleyball team. They are also active in their church youth group and other aspects of the Tennessee 4-H program. But, despite their multitude of other involvements, they still enjoy showing cattle best because it is something they can do as a family.
“Before we started showing cattle, we didn’t have a ‘family thing.’ RuthAnn played softball, RoseMary played volleyball, and Ransom played football,” said Jennifer. “With showing cattle, it’s been more of a family event. We all go, and we all participate.”
As a family, they set goals and work together to achieve them. They acknowledge that regardless of which kid is at the end of the halter in the show ring, they have all worked hard to get them there. In addition to the family aspect, Brian and Jennifer also admit that showing cattle has allowed their family to meet new people and build relationships from one end of the state to the other. It has also opened their eyes to new opportunities, and resources that they didn’t know were available prior to showing cattle.
In the future, each member of the sibling trio plans to attend college to study something in the agriculture field. They also plan to focus on mating decisions and improving the genetics in their herd so that they can show and sell more farm-bred calves. Without a doubt, it is opportunities like the Youth Beef Heifer Scholarship that have helped RuthAnn, RoseMary, and Ransom to solidify their involvement in the cattle industry for years to come.
HOW YOU CAN WIN
For the tenth year, the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association and Farm Credit Mid-America are offering the Youth Beef Heifer Scholarships. Six deserving youth will be awarded either $2,000 or $1,000 to purchase a heifer of their choice, for a total of $9,000.
“Since 2011, the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association and Farm Credit Mid-America have awarded over $75,000 in heifer scholarships and helped purchase over 50 heifers,” said Charles Hord, executive vice president of TCA. “These quality heifers have allowed Tennessee youth to excel in the show ring and have served as the foundation for many young cattle producer’s herds across the state.”
There are three categories of winners: Junior (4th and 5th grades), Junior High (6th, 7th, and 8th grades), and Senior High (9th, 10th, and 11th grades). Each of those categories will have a first and second place award. Applications for this scholarship are due by December 1, 2020, and can found in this issue of the Tennessee Cattle Business. Applications can also be found on TCA’s website: www.tncattle.org/scholarships. Contact Director of Youth Programs & Outreach, Melinda Perkins, if you have any questions: email@example.com or (615) 896-2333.
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