The Campbell Family - Deer Creek Farm
Deer Creek Farm raises registered Simmental and SimAngus cattle and consists of 60 cow/calf pairs. Parts of the farm have been in the family since at least 1844.
VBC: Tell us about your business
Mark: My personal recollection goes back to my grandfather, who had stocker cattle. Then, at his death in 1977, my parents assumed operation of the farm and switched to a commercial cow calf enterprise. It was in 1989 when my sister, Amy, purchased a Simmental show heifer from Lakeview Simmental in Woodstock that we got started with Simmental cattle. Since that time, we replaced the commercial cows with registered stock and recently received recognition from the American Simmental Association for registering cattle for at least 25 consecutive years. We market some of our cattle through private treaty sales and Virginia Simmental Association-sponsored sales. We have an annual on-farm production sale that began in 2014. Our main goal with that sale is to market Simmental and SimAngus bulls to commercial cattlemen, but our heifers have been in high demand. We market bulls through Virginia BCIA bull tests and our own production sale. Since both of my parents are deceased, my wife, Dana, and I, with our two sons, Hayden (14) and Daniel (12), are the owners and operators of the farm. In addition to the cattle herd, we have a small flock of Dorset and Hampshire-cross sheep and 55 acres of land in timber production.
VBC: How many people work on your operation and who takes care of what?
Mark: My [other] full time job is with Virginia Farm Bureau as Sr. District Field Services Director. I am a liasion between Virginia Farm Bureau and 10 county Farm Bureaus in central Virginia. All family members help on the farm (myself, my wife Dana, and our sons Hayden and Daniel). We all help when we’re working the cattle. I do most of the feeding, but Dana and our sons help when I’m not at home. Dana is the main record keeper and assists with the sheep at lambing time. She also helps Daniel with his show lambs. I help the boys with their show heifers. As our sons get older, they are settling in to some of the jobs on the farm that they are good at and like. Hayden loves farm equipment, and especially likes making hay. Daniel is a good stockman and does a great job working cattle in a quiet and efficient manner. Both sons and Dana help out with whatever task there is to do. Both sons like the farm and want to remain in agriculture, but each of them have different interests in agriculture.
VBC: I'm sure it's great for the boys to learn responsibility at a young age. How would you describe a beef producer?
Mark: Farmers and ranchers work extremely hard, we care very much for our animals, and we're extremely dedicated to raising and producing food for the whole world.
VBC: What's your favorite way to enjoy beef at home?
Mark: Ribeyes on the grill!