Sixty mother cows can be a handful even for the most veteran farmer, but throw in a full-time job, full-time graduate school, plus a rather active three year old and you may not see the Blakeneys outside of their fence rows often.
“There’s no extra time,” Sam says. “We don’t have any golfing habits or fishing habits. There’s a lot of early Saturday and Sunday mornings that most people much age wouldn’t think of. Nine times out of ten, we’re here on the farm.”
For Sam, owning and operating a cattle farm on his grandfather’s land has been his dream for as long as he can remember. Makenzi grew up on a farm near Vardaman, but not around cattle. As she grew to love it, she decided to take on a new challenge within the agriculture industry.
“We decided I would go back to school and get my master’s in agribusiness management from Mississippi State,” Makenzi says. “I am currently in my second semester of that. We are hoping I could possibly go into the ag lending sector after graduation because that’s how we had to start out. We want to help others start out in agriculture as well.”
For a pharmaceutical representative in animal health and a former elementary school teacher, the Blakeneys want to give back to those who came before them and those who follow, all in the name of improving agriculture across the state.
“As far as I know, I’ve never made a dollar in my adult life that didn’t come from agriculture either directly or indirectly,” Sam says. “The industry has been good to us, and any opportunity we can take to give back, we’re certainly going to take it.”
The Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation has played a big role in the Blakeneys’ success, too.
“We want to tell everyone about Farm Bureau and all the great things they do,” Makenzi says. “We want to share how they can not only can help us, but how we can help them. We just want to always represent Mississippi wherever we go.”
In addition to helping those around them, the Blakeneys strive to put their best foot forward as an example for their daughter, Blayre, who is already all about animals.
“We’re fortunate,” Sam says. “In my 9 to 5 job, I get to travel to see our friends and the people who helped us get to where we are today. We love everything about what we’re doing and hope to continue to prosper here.”