Meet the Future Monday: Leah Elsea of Sullivan County, Tennessee
This week’s Meet the Future Monday has a heart for raising and showing cattle, her community, and helping others. Read our Q&A with Leah Elsea of Sullivan County, Tennessee to learn more!
Q: Describe your operation A:My family and I run a small-scale, hundred acre farm located in Piney Flats, Tennessee. Over the years, we have grown our herd of commercial and registered Angus, Shorthorn, and Simmental cattle. We have approximately 80 momma cows that we calve in the spring. My family has been involved in showing cattle for many decades now.
Q: What have you enjoyed most about growing up on the farm? A:I have enjoyed most of the experiences that a farm has to offer. Whether it is helping my dad deliver a breech, dead baby calf in below frigid temperatures or bonding with my animals on a daily routine basis, each experience has its own lessons that hold value.
Q: Who was been your biggest role model in pursuing your farming aspirations? A:My biggest role model in pursuing farming is my dad. He has always dedicated his time to the farm and to his practice of large animal veterinary medicine. He has showed me compassion over the years through how he cares for the land and animals.
Q: What are you most passionate about in your business? A:I am most passionate about making a difference in my community. I enjoy helping beginner showmen become more involved in the cattle industry. I devote the time to be the best that I can be and help others along the way.
Q: What are some of the greatest challenges that you face as a young farmer? A:Being so little, my size can make things a little bit harder for me. Also, I think one of the greatest challenges in farming is how developers are wanting to take our land and make it into subdivisions. In my town, we have had a lot of expansion resulting in the loss of our farm land. Also, finding enough hours in the day to accomplish all your tasks can be tough.
Q: Where do you see yourself and your operation in 10 years? A:In ten years, I hope to have graduated nursing school and be back on the farm raising cattle. I hope to still be involved in exhibiting show cattle through the next generation.
Q: How will you continue to improve and grow your operation?
A:I plan on growing my farm by possibly buying more acreage after I graduate. I would also like to upgrade our farming equipment to safer and more efficient machinery. Also, I want to continue to acquire more knowledge and develop additional skills that I can apply to my operation. I hope to add more variety to my genetics in order to improve my cattle.
Q: How do you intend to leave your footprint on the beef industry in Tennessee? A:Being a senior showman, I hope to have influenced the younger generation in a positive manner about raising and exhibiting cattle. I also aspire to be an influential voice through local clubs and organizations.
Q: What could the existing farmers do most to help future farmers?
A:I hope existing farm families can shine a light into influencing the local school systems to allow their students to be able to miss more days for students involved in agricultural events. I think students can learn many valuable lessons in the barn that they cannot learn in the classroom. This would help people in our community understand animal welfare and encourage future farmers to produce high-quality livestock that will be high-quality food on their tables tomorrow.
Q: What is your favorite beef dish? A:My favorite beef dish is definitely a juicy steak.