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Tennessee Farm Recognized as a Historic Angus Herd

James “Jimmy” Mathis and Robert Orton established their farm in 1966 in Duck River, Tenn. After James brother bought out Robert’s half the cattle were registered under Mathis & Mathis. Years later, James and his two sons Gary and Tim took full ownership and the farm became know as Mathis Angus Farms.

Mathis bought his first 10 Angus heifers from Cecil Horner in Centerville, Tenn. for $300 per head. He then bought a bull from Cecil’s brother Glenn Horner for $200.

“I have farmed my entire life,” Mathis said. “When I was a young boy showing Hereford cattle in 4-H, I was impressed with the Angus breed and knew one day I would have my own Angus herd.”

The operation grew slowly for the first few years, but as the numbers began to increase, they started to use performance tested bulls. In 1976 they began to feed test bulls on the farm and enter them into the University of Tennessee Ellington Agriculture Center Tested Bull Sale in Nashville, Tenn. They have been part of the University of Tennessee feed test ever since.

In 1980, Mathis took a class on Artificial Insemination (AI) and looked for ways to improve his herd. Since that time, the farm has used the top AI sires. The family’s philosophy is to raise top quality herd bulls with low-birth calving ease and high carcass production. They use top quality AI sires coupled with high performing herd bulls to continually grow and improve their breeding program.

Mathis Angus Farms won the University of Tennessee Test Station High Gaining Bull in 2010, 2012 and 2014. In 2010 Mathis was recognized by the Tennessee Cattleman’s Association as Outstanding Cow and Calf Producer. The farm ranks in the top 10 annually in registered Angus cattle in Tennessee through the American Angus Association and has had many registered Pathfinder cows.

Mathis and his sons still manage the herd of 600 head of cattle on their 750 acres with the support of Mathis wife, Wilma; daughter-in-law, Gayle; grandchildren, Amanda and James; and great-grandchildren, Britton and Wiley.

The American Angus Associations Historic Angus Herd Award recognizes Angus breeders and immediate families who have been in continuous production of Registered-Angus cattle for 50 years or more. Visit for more information or to view a list of awarded members since the program began in 1988.

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