Hometown: Tontitown, Ark.
Family: Wife, Lori; grown children, Zac and Kathleen
In Town: When Tom graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a degree in biology, he thought he wanted to be a biologist. However, he ended up working for the health department for several years.
“The pay scale along with the politics involved convinced me to go to private industry,” he said. “While working for Tyson, I completed a master’s in food science at the University of Arkansas. Still with Tyson, I now work in food safety and quality assurance department at the corporate level where I manage the food safety and quality assurance departments for 20 prepared foods facilities. I also travel, sometimes outside of the country, to visit national account customers.”
In the Country: Tom and his wife live on 3 acres in Tontitown, Ark.
“We never had the time to raise cattle even though it’s something I always loved,” Tom said. “However, once our children were grown and I began to travel less, we bought 20 acres in an unusual gated hobby farm community that used to be a 300-acre farm. In 2006, I began a polled miniature Hereford herd. The breed is beginning to become popular at state fairs, so that part of my customer base is made up of 4-H and FFA students, as well as other interested small acreage farmers from as far away as Georgia, Iowa and Texas. I also liked the breed’s conformation because they resemble the Hereford breed in the 1950s, short and stocky. They have more ribeye per hundredweight than the standard-sized Hereford. Further miniature Hereford’s are hardy and fill out well after calving. Finally, these miniatures are extremely docile. I have two working bulls and trade or purchase bulls fairly often to keep the bloodlines productive. When I buy a new bull, I choose mostly by appearance and the animal history. One practice I have is to use a specialized fly vaccine developed by a Huntsville veterinarian that is geared toward the local fly population and has proven to be very effective.”
Future: “I plan on working these cattle as long as I can and am converting part of my barn on the Lowell land into an apartment I call ‘my barn dominium.’ This allows me to be around during calving or spend the weekends or late nights working on the farm. I hope to expand when I retire, but my wife wants to travel so will have to work that out when the time comes.”