Agriculture on the Horizon
by Lauren Neale, Dir. of Comm. at TCA
September 2019 Tennessee Cattle Business
On the Wade family’s farm in Bell Buckle, Tenn., passion for agriculture is as thick as blood. Brothers Jacob and Joshua Wade share a bond by raising and showing cattle together. They also share the fact that they were both winners of the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association (TCA) and Farm Credit Mid-America’s (FCMA) Youth Beef Heifer Scholarships.
Older brother, Jacob, began his agricultural journey when he was in fourth grade with a 4-H beef project. Bedford County Extension Agent, John Teague, helped him acquire a registered Charolais calf. As he got more experience in the show ring, Jacob surrounded himself with others who helped hone his skills, leading him to win multiple awards. Now a college sophomore, Jacob has shown an array of breeds like Charolais, Angus, ChiAngus, and Simmental over the years.
During his freshman year of high school, he received the first-place prize of the FCMA Heifer Scholarship which was $2,000. He used that money to purchase a calf from Dr. Robert West of M&W Farm. Since then, that heifer has gone on to produce calves that have sold in Oklahoma where one bull calf sold for $4,000. His brother, Joshua is currently showing her latest heifer calf.
The money Jacob earns from selling his calves goes to fund his tuition at Middle Tennessee State University where he studies aerospace and is earning his professional pilot license. He is also studying Unmanned Aerial Systems, which focuses on unmanned aerial operations using drones.
“My dream is to be a pilot for UPS,” said Jacob. “There is a storage of pilots out there which means job security and it can help fund my love of agriculture. I could have a farm at home.”
Joshua had a very similar beginning in agriculture like his brother. He, too, began showing with his 4-H beef project in the fourth grade. However, Joshua had the unique opportunity to learn from watching and helping his brother. Joshua won the second place FCMA Heifer Scholarship and purchase a registered Charolais heifer calf from Dr. West, also. It produced a bull calf which was sold in Oklahoma for $3,200. That heifer is currently bred and Joshua plans to either show it this year or sell it.
The money Joshua earns will go towards his education as well but with a different path. Instead of heading to the skies, he wants to head to the water. Joshua is a current high school student but plans to attend Texas A&M to study agricultural business and join the Marines.
Both boys have held several leadership positions like 4-H State Officer and were the only brother duo that has held the title of Speaker of the House for 4-H Congress consecutively.
Their parents, Matthew and Krista, are very proud of their sons and believe in the value of raising children who are involved in agriculture.
“It teaches them life skills,” said Krista. “No matter what they end up doing, they will be good employees and employers, and they will have sound business knowledge. Most importantly, they will have a strong community connection.
Krista is a certified high school science teacher with an agriculture endorsement. The Wades decided homeschooling was important for their family so Krista taught the boys and made sure they were involved in educational programs that brought them into the community. “Agriculture is a part of who we are. It instills values, work ethic, responsibility, perseverance, problem-solving skills, and independence.”
Matthew, their father, is the Director of the MTSU Farm Laboratories in Murfreesboro. He has exposed the boys to his love of agriculture through his own small farm and the farms he has rented or managed, including the MTSU Farms where they help provide a dialogue with tour groups that come from all over the country.
Through their leadership positions in 4-H, Jacob and Joshua have had the opportunity to meet state representatives, national beef industry experts, and network with peers from across the country.
Since their education was in a private setting at home, Jacob values what that environment has taught him. “I learned that it was okay to be by yourself. I am very self-motivated and self-teaching. All of this I can use when flying a plane or if I have a farm, I will be able to get the work done on my own.”
Joshua added, “The majority of people are not homeschooled that we meet, but having beef cattle is a very relatable thing. We can bond with a variety of people over our love of cattle.”
Both parents agree that a “solid future starts with a foundation in agriculture.”
HOW YOU CAN WIN
For the ninth year, Farm Credit Mid-America and the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association 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.
“FCMA has shown their dedication to the future of agriculture and specifically the beef industry through their sponsorship of heifer scholarships,” said Charles Hord, executive vice president of TCA. “Thanks to their support, six young cattlemen and women will have the opportunity to show an animal and start their own herd.”
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, 2019, and can be found in the Tennessee Cattle Business. Applications can also be found on TCA’s website: www.tncattle.org/scholarships.
Even with as hot as it has been this summer, now is the time to start thinking about feeding your cows this winter. We all know that winter feeding means hay. When November gets here, tall fescue pastures will not be growing, and hay will have to be put out until March or April when fescue pastures begin to grow again. Because of the high cost of cutting and feeding hay, decreasing the length of time hay needs to be fed will decrease expenses. One of the easiest and cheapest ways to do this is by stockpiling tall fescue.
Stockpiling is nothing more than saving forage in the field when it is growing for grazing later as needed. The purpose of stockpiling is to delay hay feeding by one to two months, which will decrease the amount of hay needed during the winter.
The guidelines for a good stockpiling program are simple and straight forward.
1) Graze or clip fescue pastures short in early August. Make sure that all of the old, mature forage has been removed.
2) Apply 60 pounds of nitrogen per acre in mid to late August. This will promote as much new growth as possible.
(3) Keep cattle off one or two of the pastures, which will allow the fescue to accumulate.
Later in the fall or winter when the forage is needed, it can then be grazed. Nitrogen should be applied to all tall fescue pastures in the fall, even if they will not be stockpiled. Applying nitrogen will help increase fall growth, some which can be grazed early and some which can be stockpiled for later.
Fall stockpiled tall fescue is higher quality than in the spring because it is more leafy, higher in protein and carbohydrates, and lower in fiber. A fall application of nitrogen on fescue will help lengthen the grazing season and decrease our hay needs and winter feed bill. Hay production and feeding are one of the major expenses of cattle production. Stockpiling fescue can help us decrease the amount of time and money that will be "eaten up" by hay.
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