For Joe Garner, this farm here and this herd of cattle is a lifelong dream that, after many years, has finally become a reality. Garner, who’s family had cattle when he was younger, has always longed to have a herd of his own someday and now that the day is finally here, he says it’s nothing short of a blessing.
“I got my interest and my feet dirty in the garden,” says Joe Garner, President of the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association. “I started driving a tractor when I was in the eighth grade. We still put up hay and those kinds of things, but the cattle, they made a decision when I was five, to market the cattle. And so, I yearned for that day to cattle to come back into my life from that moment. So I started showing calves, steers, eventually showed some heifers throughout late middle and high school, and I guess it’s always been a dream to have a farm. It’s really a blessing to have a place like this.”
In 2014, Garner decided to get involved with the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association at the local level, where he has since served in various roles, the most recent of which is state President – something he considers an honor as he wholeheartedly believes in the organization and its mission to advance and advocate for the beef industry and serve the cattlemen of Georgia both in the field and Atlanta.
“The Cattlemen’s Association is charged to educate our producers, to help with marketing in some ways. We also have a strong legislative component where we actively follow bills and legislation through the process, each forty-day session there at the State Capitol,” says Garner. “It’s really a critical link for all of us, not just the cattle producers, but all farmers in general, to kind of keep some of that legislation at bay that may cause us undue harm, because they don’t see it from our angle. They don’t understand the implication that food and fiber doesn’t just happen at a grocery store. Food and fiber happens out here in the field.”
Not only does Garner believe in the Cattlemen’s Association, Garner also believes in the power of beef and says that it’s a wholesome, renewable product that not only feeds people, but enhances their lives by what beef cattle and beef cattle operations have to offer.
“Beef is a wholesome food. It is packed with many vitamins and minerals. It’s a firm source of protein and it is renewable. It allows us to keep the green space that is critical for all of our lives across the state. You know, many people may not own cattle, but I would venture to say a majority of people enjoy cattle out grazing in a field. They enjoy that green space. And that to me is a critical piece to the quality of life for all Georgians,” says Garner.
By: John Holcomb