Name: Steve Whitmire
Home Town: Franklin, NC
Currently Lives: Blairsville, GA
Farm/Business Name & Location: Ridgefield Farm located in Brasstown, NC
Music: I love jazz, rock and roll, blue grass, country and reggae. I am a BIG Bob Marley fan. Food: All kinds Drinks: Macallan scotch, Makers Mark Cask, prefer red wines, some whites, Sauvignon Blanc, Santa Marguerta Pinot Grigio. What do you wear the most when you work? Jeans and shirt appropriate for the weather Favorite things to do AFTER work: Goes from physical work and selling to emailing and computer work. Very little down time Mantra: The sun will always rise and set no matter what is going on.
What's your relationship status?
Single and have a long term relationship.
Do you have children? Do they work with you?
I have two sons, and only one of my sons work with me.
Where is the farthest you have traveled to?
South Africa, Argentina.
Where would you like to go visit and why?
No particular place.
CAREER QUESTIONS – AND PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE
How did you get into growing / farming /ranching?
Born into it, left and had Corp and business career; then back into it.
How many acres are on the farm?
What was the hardest part getting started in this career?
Entering the beef business. Establishing the brand as the best beef in the business! Selling the meat for a profit.
What surprised you about this career choice?
Longer, harder and more expensive than ever imagined.
Tell us about a typical day for you.
I start working at about 5 AM.
What makes you happy in a day working?
Many many things are very satisfying about what I do. Seeing how breeding decisions made a year ago, turn out when the baby calves are born and grow. Seeing how happy the cattle are when they are grazing/eating, running and kicking their heels up. Cutting hay, chopping silage and smelling it. Having diners in fine restaurants and consumers tell me that ours is the best beef they ever had.
What makes you frustrated?
When employees don't show up on time, or don't do what they're supposed to do.
What do you think a big misconception about growing?
That it's easy and inconsistency of supply and quality is ok.
Any advice to other growers or “want-to-be” growers?
Learn all that you can about the potential buyers of your product, and learn all you can about growing or raising that which you plan to sell.
Any lessons learned through working as a grower?
What fundamental traits are key to having a productive, easy keeping cow herd.
Anything to say to consumers, i.e. people who aren’t into farming or growing?
Not really. Everyone must find their own satisfying way of life; and appreciate what people in other occupations do to provide the freedom to pursue whatever they wish to do.
What concerns you the most about the future of your industry?
The number of young people that aren't willing or have the desire to farm.
Where do you think you'll be in five or 10 years?
Hopefully better off financially and transitioning to a little bit slower lifestyle.
WEBSITE URL: http://www.brasstownbeef.com