Producer of the Month
Steve Anderson , Difficult TN
Steve Anderson grew up on his family’s farm in Difficult, Tennessee. Even though Tobacco was their primary source of income, cattle were raised on the land where tobacco could not be grown. Steve says that he has always enjoyed caring for the cattle and has spent a lot of time researching herd management and genetics. Times have surely changed since he began his cattle operation, their original protocol was a white salt block and fly powder, but that was only if they got around to it. Today, their operation is very different with advanced protocol and cattle management techniques.
For better herd management they have two calving seasons each 60 days long. They currently run 80 commercial cows and background cattle for local and Midwestern customers; at this time he is back grounding 250-300 head with the help of his son, Craig, and wife, Maria. Their operation includes 450 aces of leased and owned land. They cut about 60 acres of hay and purchase the rest from other farmers in the area. They background their home raised calves and sell them in the Smith County Alliance sales. They also have horses on their farm which they use to work the cattle and a few pet goats to keep his wife happy!
Steve has long been involved in the cattle industry. He started working at the local livestock market at age twelve and has worked at most of the area markets at one time or another.
When asked about the future of the cattle industry Steve replied, “I believe we will continue to produce more beef on less acreage. Improved genetics and management will pay off for those who can stay with it. We must be good stewards of what God has blessed us with. People outside our industry need to see that we are making strides to improve livestock handling and treatment practices and we are reducing over-use of antimicrobials. Lack of confidence in our product has driven people to niche markets.”
Steve also adds, “I believe the Beef Checkoff money is money well spent! We must continue to invest in research and development as well as consumer education. We have to keep an active presence in the classroom, educating today’s youth is educating the adults of tomorrow! You can be sure that groups who want to do away with animal agriculture are spending plenty to do just that. The future of our entire industry lies with stewardship and education!”
“Properly vaccinated cattle are essential to reduce and eliminate antimicrobial resistance. Participate in value-added sales with like managed cattle to receive full reward for your work. We, the producers, are the first process. Packers and retailers cannot fix poor genetics and bad management! It starts with us!”
Steve currently serves on the board of Smith County Cattlemen’s and the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association.