Gragg Farms has cattle located at seven locations in the Boone area and in the edge of Virginia. It is truly a family farm with Paul, Sharon his wife, sons David, Chris, Michael and daughter Jodi all actively involved. Paul and Sharon are the administrators of the Mountain Care Facilities, an adult assisted living facility started by his parents over fifty years ago. In 1992 Paul and Sharon took over the management of the home. David helps at that facility and coaches the swim team at Watauga High. Chris is employed by Watauga Building Supply in
Paul & Chris were showing us
how tame the cows were
Boone, where David and Jodi also work; the hardware is owned by their maternal grandmother. Ray and I enjoyed meeting and visiting with her during our trip to Boone. Son Michael is a minister and helps out with the cattle and hay making as needed; he also has three children.
According to David, their best cow ever. She passed away in October, 2011 at over 12 years
of age. David said "Through her daughters and grandaughters, her legacy will continue. With
16 daughters and greadaughter in our herd
with WR of 33 @ 105 and YR of 9 @ 105".
Paul talked about his Dad buying his first farm and having cattle when he was only four or five years old. He
said they had a mini farm behind the rest home. He said they always had cattle, and he knew he wanted to work with cattle as he got older. He started out with cows and calves and progressed to buying steers in the spring and would sell them in the fall. As the boys got involved, they started out with commercial cattle but went back to buying, feeding and selling the yearlings. Paul said his first bull for the commercial cows was a Pine Drive Big Sky son
The calf protectors, these beautiful horses
belong to Chris and his wife Carolynn
Eventually they went to Mike Blevins in Blountville, Tennessee and bought twenty-one registered Angus females. They attended the Morning Dove Dispersal Sale in Yadkinville and met Bill Buckner from Burnsville, NC. Paul and Bill began conversing, and Bill advised him to buy cow/calf pairs with bull calves and sell the calf off so he would still have the cow for several more years and could regain half the cost of the pair. About this same time he also met Joe and Robin Hampton. He visited with the Hamptons several times and bought a 2RT2 son from them as the Gragg Farms herd sire. He kept off springs from this bull as bases for his females. He also purchased females from Joe and Robin's Angus Advantage coalition with Ike Jackson and Wolfgang
GF Ellunas Elite 7058 and her
sitz Upward 442W bull calf
Lutz. He also bought twenty three cows from Joe and Robin's Laurel Springs herd. As the boys got older and more involved with the registered side of the business, Chris went to the Graham A-I School in Kansas.
A heifer calf out of GF Emma
5002 x Sinclair Express 643
Several years ago, they met Robert Whitacre with Accelerated Genetics, and he became a trusted advisor and friend. Robert came and looked over their herd and advised them on ways to make improvements in their herd by having criteria when buying replacements. I asked them how they chose replacements, and they each have a list of things they chose from. Paul goes more on their looks and David being the computer guru goes by their papers and pedigree; Chris uses both.
Their current herd consists of approximately 200 Mama cows with a lot of Sitz, N Bar and Sinclair genetics. Artificial
insemination is used on approximately ninety percent of the cows. Of their bulls born on the farm, probably fifty percent are culled as steers and sold as feeder calves. Of the heifers, they will keep about half and market the other half thru production and private treaty sales. The boys would keep them all, but Paul says bills must be paid.
A group of spring bull calves
I asked Paul where he saw Gragg Farms in five to ten years down the road. He looked at Chris and David, and they all had their ideas. They all expressed a desire to have enough cattle to host their own Bull and Female Production Sale. In the past they've consigned to the Association sponsored Out West Sale, a Virginia Association sale, the Friends' sales and Mike Gillespie's sale. They hope to be partners in a sale this fall with other breeders.
A beautiful view from the
pastue of the Boone area
The next generation of Graggs is already getting their herd started. Paul's grandchildren get the calves born on their birthday. Daughter Jodi is due with her first child any day and with this being calving time, she might end up with a few calves at a very young age.
Chris is serving his second year on the board of directors of North Carolina Angus Association, David has served on the
handbook committee and is always ready to help with computer questions and is working on a program to help us clerk sales, Paul and Chris are on the Out West Sale committee and Chris serves as co-chairman.
Spring cows and calves grazing
We enjoyed our visit with them and seeing several pastures of cows and calves and the groups of heifers and bulls. I told them I couldn't come for the interview until it snowed; by mid January with no snow and the deadline for the article getting near; we scheduled a day convenient with everyone. The evening we left after the visit, David emailed to say "you left too early, we got snow this evening!"