Marvin and Holly Golden have lived on a family farm for all of their married…
While LJL Ranch was started by Luvern and Jimmie Lou Blair in 1965, farming has been in the Blair family since the 1700s. “Most of my personal history is farming,” says Ferrell Blair, Luvern and Jimmie Lou’s son. “We’ve always been farmers.” Ferrell grew up helping out with the farm and the cattle. His dad taught him to love and care for the land and their animals—and the important relationship that exists between the two. Today, Ferrell along with his sister and mother carry on the family’s farming history and raise Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW beef cattle at LJL Ranch in LaGrange, Georgia.
LJL Ranch is situated among the rolling hills of Georgia. “It’s not too flat, and not too steep,” says Ferrell. “We’ve been on the same piece of land since 1965, and it’s amazing to see how much our farming practices have greatly improved the land over time. There used to be places that were bare and rocky with no topsoil, and now there is topsoil and grass is growing.”
Ferrell manages a herd of Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW beef cattle at LJL Ranch. “We breed mostly Charolais and Simmental to Beefmaster bulls,” says Ferrell. “Cross breeding works well for us because we can go outside of the breed to bring in traits that are good for our herd. I look for things that can correct any issues we might have – such as heat resistance to make sure cattle are better suited for our hot and humid climate, resistance to parasites, and more. Cross breeding helps our herd be more adaptable.”
For Ferrell, the most important aspect of his animal husbandry practices are attention, observation and care so that he can ensure the cows are comfortable, at ease and thriving. Pasture-based management is an important part of his farming practices too. “With pasture-based management, I can literally see where and how the land has improved over time. We’ve built topsoil in places where 20 years ago there was none. By rotating and grazing, planting winter grass, cover crops and legumes, we’ve been able to penetrate the soil and build up the ground. I can see the benefits of what we are doing for the land and the soil—and it’s great for the cows too.”
AGW certification was appealing to Ferrell because of the added level of verification the Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW seal provides. “I wanted to get certified so that everybody would know that I’m doing what I say I’m doing,” says Ferrell. “Verification is important, for both my current customers and future customers.”
Going forward, Ferrell wants to keep the farm going so that his children can enjoy it. “For me, my long term goals are making sure that I preserve the land properly and show that farming can be done in a way that’s good for animals, the land and people. I like being able to share what I want to preserve.”
Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW beef from LJL Ranch is available at several retail outlets in LaGrange and for online order with local pickup and delivery. Check AGW’s online directory for details. For more information, visit ljlranch.com, follow the farm on Facebook and Instagram and contact Ferrell Blair at firstname.lastname@example.org and through the contact form on the farm’s website.