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Grow the herd

Humphreys Farmers Co-op customer wins five bred heifers from the Co-op Heifer Giveaway Promotion
Story and Photos by Morgan Graham 9/29/2020


Jeremy Cook, left, talks with Erin Store Manager Dawn Stepp and Tennessee Farmers Cooperative Livestock Specialist Mark Bentley about pasture and herd management and services the Co-op provides.
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The year 2020 has been a hectic and unpredictable time for many, and most are ready to ring in 2021. For Houston County farmer Jeremy Cook, however, this year is looking a little brighter. Jeremy was randomly selected as the winner of five bred heifers from the Co-op Grow the Herd Heifer Giveaway Promotion during July Beef Month. 

“I saw the contest on Facebook and thought I’d give it a try,” says the full-time utility contract supervisor. “I didn’t expect I would hear anything back.” 

Dawn Stepp, store manager of Humphreys Farmers Cooperative’s Erin location, says she was thrilled the prize winner was someone from her community. “It’s exciting for our Co-op and county to win a prize of this size,” Dawn says. “I had customers come in the store wanting me to help register them, so I’m super excited.”

While Jeremy isn’t a full-time farmer, he was raised around cows and horses. Growing up, Jeremy and his brothers raised mostly horned cattle and roping horses, but it was enough to give him cattle fever. 

Jeremy left the horned cattle behind and started his own herd of 30 commercial cows consisting of Angus, Beefmaster, and Hereford crosses this year. He has bought 73 acres of pasture in Cumberland City and leases another 75 acres to accommodate his herd. 

“These five new heifers will add some great genetics to my herd, and I’m anxious to get them on the farm and continue to watch my herd improve,” says Jeremy. 

The heifer giveaway program was a co-sponsored event between Tennessee Farmers Cooperative, Tennessee Beef Industry Council, Tennessee Department of Agriculture, and the University of Tennessee to help promote July Beef Month and the beef industry across the state. 

“The Tennessee Beef Industry Council was proud to partner with Tennessee Farmers Cooperative to celebrate July Beef Month and share Beef Checkoff information,” said Tennessee Beef Industry Council Executive Director Valerie Bass. “This partnership was a way to share beef demand building projects with producers and honor Tennessee farmers and ranchers for their hard work to provide families with wholesome high-quality beef.”

The heifers entered in the University of Tennessee Heifer Development Center program in Lewisburg July 2020. They will be bred while at the development center and be ready to join Jeremy’s farm May 2021. 

“We were happy to work in conjunction with the Tennessee Beef Council, Tennessee Department of Agriculture, and the University of Tennessee to call attention to the beef industry in Tennessee,” says John Houston, TFC Feed Sales Manager. “This project not only promotes beef cattle, but also emphasizes the great work being done at the Heifer Development Center. We are excited for Jeremy and can’t wait to see the heifers after their development.” 

The young cattleman has worked tirelessly to get his pasture in tip top shape for maximum utilization and grass production for his herd says Dawn. Jeremy has utilized Humphreys Farmers Co-op for soil testing and fertilizer applications. He has also has been working with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to get his pastures cross fenced. 

Tennessee Farmers Cooperative Livestock Specialist Mark Bentley is thrilled to see Jeremy succeed on his farm and improve it with the help of these new genetics. “Jeremy is well on his way to having a great herd and these five new heifers put him in the position to quickly grow his heard,” says Mark.

Dawn says she and the rest of the Co-op staff are proud of Jeremy and all he has accomplished. 

“We work hard to help young farmers like Jeremy become successful and gain their loyalty,” she says. “We want to always provide the best quality products and services. We work for our farmers; our farmers work hard, and we will work just as hard to help them.” 

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