Ellerslie Farm in Berryville
As I came down the rolling hills to the driveway of Ellerslie Farm, I could see Erik Good and Jerrod Stephens standing at the big white barn. They were discussing the plans for the rest of the day as they waited for me to arrive to the farm. Both Eric and Jerrod motioned for me to get in the truck, and they happily showed me around the operation and the pastures. Both Erik and Jerrod are great friends and business partners who rent the farm for Ellerslie from family. They are first-generation farmers for this operation.
VBC: Tell us where we are and a little about the place!
Erik: Our operation is located in Berryville, Virginia. We raise about 70-75 head of beef cattle on this farm. We're diverse in the fact that we raise our cattle and row crops. I'm in charge of raising the cattle on this farm and my own farm.
Jerrod: And I take care of all the row crop aspects. We get along well and management together has been great.
VBC: It sounds like you have a good system. What is something unique about your farm?
Jerrod: With the two of us being partners in management - both managing different aspects of the farm, I feel that it is unique that we are able to work so well together and help each other when needed. We are good at staying out of each other's way unless we are needed to help make decisions or if we are needed to help with a task.
VBC: Why is beef production what you do, and how would you describe the life of a beef producer?
Erik: Beef production is what we do because we grew up eating beef, and I always enjoyed the life aspects I learned from being involved in agriculture. The one word that sums up life as a beef producer is commitment. This job requires a person to work many hours and be dedicated to ensuring they are raising cattle in a humane way and producing safe food for the consumers. This job has many obstacles that are thrown at you when you're a producer, but in the end, it's all worth it.
VBC: How do you raise safe and high-quality beef?
Erik: We limit the use of antibiotics every chance we can, but we ensure that our cattle are well vaccinated. We use the best quality feeds we have or that we can get access to. We don't use any added hormones.
VBC: Do you use any technology?
Erik: Vaccinations are always advancing. We consider this the technology that we use on the beef cattle portion of our farm to help us manage the herd's health.
VBC: What is one of your favorite parts of being in the beef community?
Erik: Seeing the differences within the animals. They are all different and each bring something new to the operation. We have also enjoyed the communication and relationships we have built with the producers and community members.