Matt and Kortney McMahan run a cow/calf operation, in addition to a trailer business
Matt McMahan is a third generation cattle farmer in Bee Branch, Ark., Matt, his wife Kortney and daughters Karley (5) and Kinley (3), and son Koal (4 months) are Van Buren County’s 2017 farm family of the year.
Matt’s grandfather was a major influence on Matt’s decision to enter the cattle business. Not only did he encourage Matt, he loaned him the money to purchase his first 15 Angus heifers. Matt still farms that same 40 acres where he started and has continually increased his herd, both in quantity and quality.
“I’m a big believer in AI,” said Matt. “I bred my first heifers with AI using some of the best bull prospects of that time. I paid those cows off as quick as I could and kept buying more. I purchased some of my granddad’s cattle when his health began failing. I’ve been building my herd since day one.”
Matt’s grandfather passed away in 2011 and he, along with his mother, inherited 100 acres which Matt has continued to farm and grow his cattle operation.
Currently, the McMahans run 75 cow/calf pairs and three bulls. They have a set of Shorthorn cows for their girls to start their herd (the girls choose the Shorthorns). There are a few registered Angus cows in the herd, but the majority are Angus cross cattle. All of this is part of Matt and Kortney’s long term goals for the farm.
“We plan to stick with the AI program to increase the genetic quality of our herd,” Matt said. “We also will continue to cross breed to help us achieve maximum weight gain, which in-turn means more profit. We will work more Shorthorns into the operation to not only grow the kids’ herd but to let them have quality show cattle also.”
Although only 5 and 3, the girls, Karley and Kinley, are already involved in the cattle operation. Along with their Border Collie Frosty, the girls help work and take care of the cattle. They attend state and local cattleman’s conventions and attend local fairs, state fairs and a host of other farm-related activities. The girls’ Shorthorns have been shown as far away as Louisville, Ky. They are both members of the American Junior Shorthorn Association and upon momma and daddy’s recommendation will be joining the local 4-H club as soon as they are old enough.
Rotational grazing is an important element of the cattle operation. Fields are divided into 10- to 15-acre paddocks. Each paddock contains both shelter and water for the cattle. Weed control and fertilization also get a lot of attention from Matt. Fence and building maintenance are ongoing duties around the farm.
“We believe in being good stewards of the resources we have,” explained Matt. “We definitely have plans for more land in the future to expand our operation, so we take care of what we have.”
In addition to the cattle operation, the McMahans operate a trailer business, which is located on Highway 65 at the front of their farm. The trailer business was started in 2011 as way to diversify their business. The business specializes in Neckover livestock trailers and truck beds, and utility trailers. The McHahans were named the Neckover dealer of the year in 2015 and 2016. The trailer business helps the family to grow their cattle operation.
Matt and Kortney stay busy in their community. On the local level, they are members of the Van Buren County Cattleman’s Association, they sponsor local FFA and 4-H chapters, and are active donors for local benefits and county fairs. They are also Platinum members of the Arkansas Cattleman’s Association as well as the National Cattleman’s Association.
No doubt, Matt and Kortney are grooming the fourth generation of McMahans to carry on the cattle operation. M M Cattle Company will be in good hands.