Finding ways to feed and sustain the beef industry is something Mississippians are thriving in. In fact, nearly 16,000 families in our state raise beef cattle on their farms every year.
"There's no corporate farming when it comes to beef," said Dr. John Blanton, professor, and Head of Mississippi State University's Animal and Dairy Science Department. "It's all individual families."
To find the biggest Charolais cattle ranch East of the Mississippi River, all you have to do is venture over to Collins. There live five generations of ranchers that have been raising cattle since 1926, but as Doug Rogers will tell you, the business isn't always easy and it's one you can't just jump into overnight.
"We learned how to build fences, then we learned how to breed cattle," said the owner of Rogers Bar HR. "We learned how to ride horses. We learned how to rope. Now, we've learned how to ride four-wheelers because we've pretty much changed horses over to four wheelers. That's what we've all kind of grown up with in the family."
Rogers' farm, like others, is just one of many stopping points where cattle go before making it to the processing plant, then to our plates. A large amount of the Nation's cattle, Blanton says, are born in Florida then brought here to Mississippi for grazing before being shipped out to Texas, Oklahoma, or Kansas.
"They do everything from being the cow/calf operator, kind of like you see in the old John Wayne movies where they are moving cows and calves around, to people who add extra weight to calves with using grain or a forge base system. Then it's the feed lot where they finish those cattle, getting them to be that flavorful, healthy, and nutritious product that we all like to consume."
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