Abby Nichols and her husband, Andy, live in Franklin with their two kids, Ellie,3, and Tyler, 2. “We live and work with my family on a grain and beef farm in Franklin. I mostly stay home with my kids, but also help manage our freezer beef business with my cousin, Zach Dougherty. I also help out on the grain farm during the busy season.”
The Doughertys’ farm, around 2,000 acres, includes beef cattle and a retail fertilizer and chemical business that custom applies fertilizers for other farmers. “My family settled in this area in the 1800’s. My grandpa was always a farmer, with the exception of the 4 years he served in WWII. My grandpa and grandma purchased the farm where we are presently located in 1961. My grandpa had dairy cows, but in the late 60’s he switched to raising beef steers. We have been raising beef cattle on this farm ever since.”
Angus is the breed of choice on the family farm. “We have 20 cows that have babies each year starting in February through March. We also purchase about another 50 head from an Indiana producer when they are about 700 pounds and finish feeding them out for freezer beef.” Abby and her family work hard to ensure proper nutrition, which produces delicious beef. “We believe it starts with a quality diet and proper care. We feed the steers corn that we raise and mix in a soybean-based supplement for additional protein. They also eat grass or hay every day. In addition, we provide ‘free choice’ mineral. Basically, we leave tubs with mineral and salt and the cattle just know when they need to eat it. I always say mineral is like the cow’s Flintstone Vitamin. Of course, the cattle have access to clean water. We feel a corn-based diet helps to yield beef that consumers desire--tender, well-marbled and delicious. The cows are fed quite differently. We really just want to maintain their weight and keep them healthy so they can have healthy pregnancies and deliveries. They also get free-choice mineral, as well as corn silage and hay in the winter and grass and hay in the summer.”
Abby says that she enjoys so much about her job. She enjoys working with her family and teaching her kids about agriculture. She also enjoys raising cattle and connecting families to their farm and the beef they raise.