Did you know George Strait has a degree in Agricultural Education? Brantley Gilbert showed hogs at the fair. Luke Bryan grew up on a peanut farm in Georgia and worked in his dads fertilizer business before heading to Nashville.
Many country music artist sing about farming, but few actually have real farm experience.
I knew the members of the group Alabama had grown up in cotton country, but was surprised to learn Randy Owens, the lead singer of Alabama not only owns Tennessee River Music Herefords and Angus, but has been actively involved in the cattle industry his whole life.
Owen’s farm is located in Ft. Payne, Alabama where he grew up. It’s a 3,000 acre operation that consist of 500-head of Hereford and Angus cattle. Much of land that he owns and is now part of the farm was sharecropped and rented by his family for row crops.
The name of the farm comes from Alabama’s first number one single, Tennessee River Music.
In a 2006 interview with CMT Owen said, “I’ve been in the cattle business all my life. I didn’t get in the cattle business. I was born in the cattle business. Hog business, chicken business, farming business. I grew up with my parents picking cotton. We had pigs, chickens, cows, dogs, sheep, goats, mules, horses. The only difference is, when I got a little successful in the country music business, I wanted to raise registered Hereford cattle. Then a few years later, I got some registered Angus cattle. Here again, you can’t seem to ever get this straight to people, but I didn’t decide. … The only thing I ever changed was the fact that I bought some registered cattle.”
He went on to say, “I’m also very knowledgeable about the cattle business. I keep up with it, and I have all my life. It’s not like I’m some guy that just decided to have cows. I make all the decisions about what goes on at my farm”
He says his knowledge of the cattle industry comes from his father and two grandfathers.
“My Paw-Paw Owen always had cattle and mules. My grandfather, Henry B. Teague Sr., had cattle, horses, a beautiful farm. He could pick more cotton than anybody I’ve ever seen, to this day. Of course, nobody picks it anymore. He picked a double row. When I hear that song by Merle Haggard (“Tulare Dust”) about “Seeing Mom and Dad/Both of them taking a double row,” I know what a double row is. ”
Each year the farm holds a production sale and the Hereford operation will celebrate its 30th consecutive production sale May 25th, 2013. Owens performs at the sale each year and all concert proceeds are donated to the Hereford Youth Foundation.
Owen said in his book, Born Country, “What I’ve tried to do with the book is let kids who grow up on farms in the sticks know that it’s cool to do that; it’s cool to be a kid that drives a tractor and raises corn and cotton, and if you want to do something else in life, that’s possible, too.”
It’s neat to know someone with such star power appreciates his heritage and spends his time doing much of the same activities our farm families do.