Texas Agriculture November 4, 2016 : Page 12

7)%DQQRXQFHV([FHOOHQFHLQ$JULFXOWXUHÀQDOLVWV This year’s EIA runners-up will re-ceive: a $500 cash A passion for agricul-award, courtesy of ture, their community Southern Farm Bu-and family earned three reau Life Insurance couples recognition in Company; a pair of this year’s Texas Farm Justin boots, courtesy Bureau (TFB) Excellence of Justin Brands, Inc.; in Agriculture (EIA) com-a power tool, cour-petition. tesy of Grainger; and The finalists in this Justin and Kacy Mitchell Ryan and Jessica Railsback Scott and Sara Holloway transportation and year’s contest are: Scott lodging to the TFB and Sara Holloway of Bowie, Justin and Kacy Mitchell of The state winner will receive: Annual Meeting. Kacy Mitchell, 32, is a rental equip-The winner of the AFBF EIA con-Tyler and Ryan and Jessica Rails-ment sales representative for ASCO a Polaris Ranger UTV, courtesy of back of Cisco. Equipment. Justin Mitchell, 33, is a Southern Farm Bureau Life Insur-test will receive their choice of a 2017 TFB’s EIA award recognizes young lease operator for XTO Energy. ance Company; $5,000 cash award, Chevrolet Silverado or 2017 GMC Si-men and women who are involved in Ryan Railsback, 32, is a ranch courtesy of Farm Credit; $750 ser-erra, courtesy of Chevrolet, and paid agriculture but do not earn their pri-foreman for a wildlife ranch, Paraiso vice voucher, courtesy of Chevrolet registration to the AFBF FUSION mary income from a farm or ranch Escondido. Jessica Railsback, 28, is a Certified Service; transportation, Conference in Pittsburgh, Pa. in Feb-enterprise. loan officer for Central Texas Farm two nights lodging and meals to the ruary. Three national finalists will receive Scott Holloway, 34, is a sales rep-Credit in Comanche County. TFB Annual Meeting in December; resentative for an animal nutrition The winner of the TFB EIA con-and a paid trip to represent TFB in a Case IH Farmall 50A, courtesy of company, Alltech. Sara Holloway, 35, test will be announced at the organi-the AFBF Excellence in Agriculture Case IH, along with a $2,500 cash is a mixed animal veterinarian at zation’s annual meeting in San Anto-Award program in January in Phoe-prize and $500 in merchandise, cour-tesy of STIHL. Cross Timbers Veterinary Hospital. nix, Ariz. nio Dec. 3-5. By Julie Tomascik Associate Editor Scott and Sara Holloway Bowie By Julie Tomascik Associate Editor On the farm, in the clinic or the classroom, the Holloways are devoted to their community and agriculture. And their family is at the center of it all. Because for Scott and Sara, agricul-ture is the relationships they’ve built and continue to foster. Scott’s role as a sales representa-tive with Alltech, an animal nutrition company, allows him to get to know the families behind the ranches and dair-ies in Texas. “I just try to get involved in the op-eration,” Scott said. “I’m not here just to do a job, but to help others. So often we don’t see those relationships in oth-er areas like you do in ag.” From feed and silage audits to herd checks, Scott helps farmers, ranchers and dairymen build on their successes, while facing challenges head-on. “We (agriculture) are faced with so 12 many issues,” Scott said. “With antibi-otics and animal welfare, it’s our goal to get out there and help not only the producers, but the people we come into contact with who aren’t in the ag industry to help educate them.” As a mixed animal veteri-narian in a rural area, Sara’s skillset is needed by many. Early mornings and late night calls have her working to help those in agriculture, as well as their urban neighbors. “You never know what’s going to come through the door or what surgery you’ll be sched-uled for. We feel that to serve this com-munity, we need to be available,” Sara said about the staff at Cross Timbers Veterinary Hospital. It’s a commitment she’s made. One that often takes her to farms and ranches where she encourages preven-tative measures and best practices for farmers, ranchers and dairymen in a tri-county area. “Being informed about a client’s herd, being informed about their life, knowing what’s important to them is key to what we do—trying to take care of their animals,” Sara said. After a day of working to help others maximize their on-farm efforts, Scott and Sara come home to their family farm, where they have a cow-calf opera-tion and grow high quality coastal hay. It’s their chance to raise their two children—Coleman and Charley Jane—in agriculture. Whether feeding calves, checking cows or baling hay, Coleman is along for the ride. “It’s amazing how much he under-stands the whole concept at the age of 4 and what’s going on,” Scott said. “It’s so good to bring them out to experience all these things that I had growing up.” The couple is also actively involved with the local 4-H, FFA and FFA alum-ni groups, as well as their church. Sara helps teach a veterinary tech-nician class that enables high school students to earn a veterinary assistant certificate upon graduation. Scott serves on the Montague Coun-try Producers Committee, which looks at current issues and ways to help oth-er farmers, ranchers and dairymen in the county. Scott is also the vice president of Montague County Farm Bureau and has been on the board for seven years. He and Sara serve as the District 3 Young Farmer & Rancher Advisory Committee members and help with Texas Food Connection Day and Ag in the Classroom activities. “We enjoy giving back to the com-munity, especially helping the younger ones in our county,” Scott said. N OVEMBER 4 , 2016

TFB Announces Excellence in Agriculture Finalists

By Julie Tomascik
Associate Editor

A passion for agriculture, their community and family earned three couples recognition in this year’s Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) Excellence in Agriculture (EIA) competition.

The finalists in this year’s contest are: Scott and Sara Holloway of Bowie, Justin and Kacy Mitchell of Tyler and Ryan and Jessica Railsback of Cisco.

TFB’s EIA award recognizes young men and women who are involved in agriculture but do not earn their primary income from a farm or ranch enterprise.

Scott Holloway, 34, is a sales representative for an animal nutrition company, Alltech. Sara Holloway, 35, is a mixed animal veterinarian at Cross Timbers Veterinary Hospital.

Kacy Mitchell, 32, is a rental equipment sales representative for ASCO Equipment. Justin Mitchell, 33, is a lease operator for XTO Energy.

Ryan Railsback, 32, is a ranch foreman for a wildlife ranch, Paraiso Escondido. Jessica Railsback, 28, is a loan officer for Central Texas Farm Credit in Comanche County.

The winner of the TFB EIA contest will be announced at the organization’s annual meeting in San Antonio Dec. 3-5.

The state winner will receive: a Polaris Ranger UTV, courtesy of Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company; $5,000 cash award, courtesy of Farm Credit; $750 service voucher, courtesy of Chevrolet Certified Service; transportation, two nights lodging and meals to the TFB Annual Meeting in December; and a paid trip to represent TFB in the AFBF Excellence in Agriculture Award program in January in Phoenix, Ariz.

This year’s EIA runners-up will receive: a $500 cash award, courtesy of Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company; a pair of Justin boots, courtesy of Justin Brands, Inc.; a power tool, courtesy of Grainger; and transportation and lodging to the TFB Annual Meeting.

The winner of the AFBF EIA contest will receive their choice of a 2017 Chevrolet Silverado or 2017 GMC Sierra, courtesy of Chevrolet, and paid registration to the AFBF FUSION Conference in Pittsburgh, Pa. in February.

Three national finalists will receive a Case IH Farmall 50A, courtesy of Case IH, along with a $2,500 cash prize and $500 in merchandise, courtesy of STIHL.

Scott and Sara Holloway
Bowie

By Julie Tomascik
Associate Editor

On the farm, in the clinic or the classroom, the Holloways are devoted to their community and agriculture. And their family is at the center of it all.

Because for Scott and Sara, agriculture is the relationships they’ve built and continue to foster.

Scott’s role as a sales representative with Alltech, an animal nutrition company, allows him to get to know the families behind the ranches and dairies in Texas.

“I just try to get involved in the operation,” Scott said. “I’m not here just to do a job, but to help others. So often we don’t see those relationships in other areas like you do in ag.”

From feed and silage audits to herd checks, Scott helps farmers, ranchers and dairymen build on their successes, while facing challenges head-on.

“We (agriculture) are faced with so many issues,” Scott said. “With antibiotics and animal welfare, it’s our goal to get out there and help not only the producers, but the people we come into contact with who aren’t in the ag industry to help educate them.”

As a mixed animal veterinarian in a rural area, Sara’s skillset is needed by many.

Early mornings and late night calls have her working to help those in agriculture, as well as their urban neighbors.

“You never know what’s going to come through the door or what surgery you’ll be scheduled for. We feel that to serve this community, we need to be available,” Sara said about the staff at Cross Timbers Veterinary Hospital.

It’s a commitment she’s made. One that often takes her to farms and ranches where she encourages preventative measures and best practices for farmers, ranchers and dairymen in a tri-county area.

“Being informed about a client’s herd, being informed about their life, knowing what’s important to them is key to what we do—trying to take care of their animals,” Sara said.

After a day of working to help others maximize their on-farm efforts, Scott and Sara come home to their family farm, where they have a cow-calf operation and grow high quality coastal hay.

It’s their chance to raise their two children—Coleman and Charley Jane—in agriculture.

Whether feeding calves, checking cows or baling hay, Coleman is along for the ride.

“It’s amazing how much he understands the whole concept at the age of 4 and what’s going on,” Scott said. “It’s so good to bring them out to experience all these things that I had growing up.”

The couple is also actively involved with the local 4-H, FFA and FFA alumni groups, as well as their church.

Sara helps teach a veterinary technician class that enables high school students to earn a veterinary assistant certificate upon graduation.

Scott serves on the Montague Country Producers Committee, which looks at current issues and ways to help other farmers, ranchers and dairymen in the county.

Scott is also the vice president of Montague County Farm Bureau and has been on the board for seven years. He and Sara serve as the District 3 Young Farmer & Rancher Advisory Committee members and help with Texas Food Connection Day and Ag in the Classroom activities.

“We enjoy giving back to the community, especially helping the younger ones in our county,” Scott said.

Justin and Kacy Mitchell
Tyler

By Gary Joiner
Editor

Justin and Kacy Mitchell are the fifth generation to own and operate her family’s commercial cow-calf and hay operation near Tyler.

The couple has always been linked to agriculture. Kacy said on their second date, Justin started an IV on a family-owned calf that needed immediate help. The calf somehow survived.

Justin and Kacy, now married seven years, continue to infuse their own time, resources and passion into a family operation that began in the late 1800s.

Their time on the Smith County farm and ranch is balanced with their work commitments off the property. Kacy is a rental equipment sales representative for ASCO Equipment and works with the agricultural and construction industries.

“It’s neat to be able to talk about agriculture with people who have a similar background. We have a lot in common,” she said. “But at the end of the day, it’s great to be able to come home and be on the production side of agriculture as well.”

Justin is a lease operator for XTO Energy, a large oil and gas producer. He is responsible for production on more than 140 wells and monitoring reservoir productivity.

“At the end of the day, we know that we can rely on each other, and that things are going to get done,” Justin said. “A lot of times we say we’re too big to be part-time but too small to be fulltime. We’re right there in that inconsistent, hard middle. It’s something we choose to do, though. Our priorities are what we make them. Everything’s going to get taken care of.”

The operation excels in identifying niche markets that bring premiums when selling cattle and producing high-quality forage for feeding and sale. The family also operates a pecan orchard and has grown watermelons in recent years.

The Mitchells have worked extremely hard over the past seven years to grow their own cattle herd. They raise Brangus-cross commercial cattle for beef production. They recently introduced Wagyu bulls on first-year heifers for calving-ease purposes and a highly-desirable calf for a select market.

They have grown their hay operation over the past several years, as well, leasing more tracts where they have planted and harvested Tifton 85 and Coastal Bermuda for hay.

“Anytime we have an opportunity to get calves up, we work as many as we can. And if we’re going to do hay, we try to do it in a strategic manner so that we’re maximizing what we get done in the amount of time that we do have,” she said. “It’s a full-time job here, even though we have fulltime jobs elsewhere.”

The couple is very active with the Smith County Farm Bureau and with the Texas Farm Bureau. Among their leadership roles, they have served as members of the Smith County Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher Committee and the Texas Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher Advisory Committee. Justin is a member of the current AgLead XIII class.

“The networking relationships, above all, are what we cherish here. We’ve got friends who we’ve made through Farm Bureau that are family now,” he said.

Ryan and Jessica Railsback
Cisco

By Julie Tomascik
Associate Editor

Ranch management is a rewarding task. But add challenges of an ever-changing environment, a growing family and helping other farmers and ranchers through ag lending, and it’s hard to imagine how one family can keep it all going.

But it’s a juggling act Ryan and Jessica Railsback deliver with passion and optimism.

Ryan is the ranch foreman for Paraiso Escondido, where he manages the wildlife, brush control, building improvements and their partnership cattle herd.

The ranch has white-tailed deer and other native species, along with fallow deer, axis deer, Aoudad rams, elk, wildebeest and blackbucks.

Part of Ryan’s job includes guided hunts and the behind-the-scenes efforts to make those possible.

“On commercial hunts, I am responsible for making sure we have enough animals, which animals to take, lining up help and the paperwork,” he said.

Hunter education and managing land with cattle and wildlife are Ryan’s passions. Both of which he was able to combine into a career.

“The cattle and wildlife complement each other really well, especially the white-tailed deer and smaller cervid species that are browsers,” Ryan said.

The wildlife aspect is an important economic factor for the ranch.

The Railsbacks also partner with Paraiso Escondido’s owner on a purebred Red Angus herd.

It ties into Jessica’s family history of agriculture, which dates back to the 1860s. It’s a legacy she’s proud to continue.

That firsthand agricultural experience helps her professional career as a loan officer for Central Texas Farm Credit. She provides financing for real estate, agricultural operations and livestock and equipment purchases.

Seeing the farmers and ranchers accomplish their goals is rewarding.

“It’s easy to get personally involved in their operations, because they pretty much take you in as family as well,” she said. “Once you get to know them, you get to know their family and their operation. Watching them grow and succeed is fulfilling.”

Both Ryan and Jessica are passionate about agriculture. It’s something they want to pass on to their son and daughter—Reed and Kendall.

“It’s wonderful that Ryan and I can both have careers in agriculture,” Jessica said. “Because our kids can see that we work as a team and we strive to do our best. Hopefully, they’ll learn that and take what we give them and apply it going forward. We hope they take it, cherish it and promote it even better than we have.”

But water has been a major issue for the ranch and others in the area.

“We have been through several different water drilling companies and surveyors. We have looked at old water well records,” Ryan said. “There’s just nothing in this area.”

That’s when the ranch started harvesting rainwater. Now there is about 300,000 gallons of storage water, making the ranch self-sufficient.

The couple’s diversity on the ranch helps them in their dedication and determination to assist others. They participate in Texas Food Connection Day activities with Stephens County Farm Bureau. They’re also active in their church and attend and assist with AgriLife Extension programs.

Read the full article at http://texasagriculture.texasfarmbureau.org/article/TFB+Announces+Excellence+in+Agriculture+Finalists/2629365/354594/article.html.

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