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A good thing

Manchester’s McBride family has grown a small herd into a high-quality, purebred Angus operation
Story by Cara Moore Photos by Hannah Lewis and Cara Moore 3/17/2021

 

McBride Angus Farms is a full family affair. As Mark and Carol (left) are planning for retirement, they are seeing the future generation take over to run the farm. Along with Mark and Carol are, from left, 3-year-old Levi, his father, Andrew McBride, and Amanda and Matthew McBride with their daughter, Joanna, 2.
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The McBrides of Coffee County have seen their wildest agricultural dreams exceeded — and then some.


Over the past 15 years, the McBride family has grown their farm from a humble show-stock project to a prosperous pure-bred cattle business specializing in high-quality bulls and productive cows. Today, McBride Angus Farms is a registered black Angus seedstock operation encompassing over 800 acres near Manchester.


Mark McBride, owner of McBride Angus Farms and patriarch of the family, says the operation is the culmination of two long-held goals. 


“First, I wanted to have cattle for our children’s 4-H and FFA youth projects,” says Mark, who is the Agency Manager at local Coffee County Farm Bureau Insurance. “My second goal was to retire with a small herd of cattle just to piddle with. Now, both the farm and my retirement plan look different — and a lot better — than I ever expected. That’s a good thing!”


In 2007, the McBride family moved to Coffee County, bringing 22 head of cattle with them. After Mark’s oldest son, Matthew, expressed interest in pursuing the cattle business full-time, McBride Angus Farms grew quickly. The farm currently maintains 150 breeding cows and continues to expand into additional facets of the beef cattle industry. 


“Our primary products are 18-month-old registered bulls that we sell to commercial producers, as well as replacement heifers and cows,” says Matthew. “We are also in the freezer-beef business, selling about 25 custom-cut and USDA-inspected freezer beef annually.”


Although Mark and Matthew are “driving the ship,” they are quick to point out that the entire family gets involved, with each member making important contributions. Mark and his wife, Carol, established the farm and are active in managing it. Matthew is a self-proclaimed jack-of-all-trades who handles marketing and herd genetics. The operation utilizes embryo transfer and artificial insemination, and Matthew’s wife, Amanda, is the primary AI technician, herd-health manager, and records-keeper. Matthew’s middle brother, Andrew, oversees the feeding program and is the main herdsman.


“It’s definitely hard work, but also very rewarding,” says Andrew, a retired musician. “It’s great to be able to work and live in the same area as my family.”


The youngest McBride brother, Stephen, lives in Lafayette, Ind., with his wife, Megan. Stephen is working toward a PhD in agriculture communications and education from Perdue University.


With “all hands” pitching in to help, McBride Angus Farms began hosting a bull and female production sale last year that they plan to hold each spring. Their sale this year was held in mid-February. The sale was held online and in-person to capture a larger audience as well as serve local cattle buyers. 


“The sale is a great way for people to buy valuable genetics at a reasonable price,” says Matthew. “Although we have to meet our bottom end, it's important for the customer to know they're getting a high-dollar bull. Hopefully, those buyers will come back next year and spend a little more money because we've built trust with them.”


The McBride family are members of Coffee Farmers Co-op and rely on the store and its staff for both products and services. Matthew says the family is particularly pleased with the results of a mineral program they have developed with the help of Coffee Farmers Co-op and TFC nutritionists. 


The family provides cattle with Co-op mineral year round including Supreme Hi Mag (#638) and Supreme Cattle Mineral (#678).


“We’ve been around Co-op for a long time,” says Matthew. “The organization has always been important to us, now more than ever. Co-op continues to be relevant, competitive, and provides the products and services we need.” 


Matthew says the McBride family’s outlook on the future is hopeful, and he sees continued growth on the horizon. 


“Our goal is to become the best purebred Angus seedstock finishing operation in the Southeast,” he says. “We like to think we have an opportunity to be one of this area’s most reputable seedstock operations. There is always going to be a demand for beef, and we are doing our part in providing quality cattle and meat.”


The farm is a special place for the family, says Amanda, Matthew’s wife of 11 years.


“We are so lucky to be able to raise our children here,” she says with a smile. “It’s a blessing, and it’s a privilege. On a farm, you just have ... freedom.”


Mark and Carol say they are happy to be only three miles away from their grandchildren. Matthew and Amanda have two daughters — Joanna, 2, and Meredith, 6 — and Andrew and his wife, Katie, have two sons — Levi, 3, and Silas, 1 — who often visit the farm.


“Levi will come out here and farm all day with his Dad and me,” says Matthew. “We joke that by the time Levi is 10, he’ll be able to do everything that we do. And that’s a good thing!”


Mark and Carol are incredibly thankful to have their grandkids in such close proximity, and that they get to share this rural life with them.


“If I could have dreamed this, and planned this, I could not have dreamed it to turn out any better than to have all four grandkids living so close, working on the farm together,” says Mark. “I’m living the dream and loving every minute of it!”





 
 
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