Keith Cole is Cumberland County’s Outstanding Livestock Producers for 2018.
The Cumberland County Soil Conservation District presents the award each year to a livestock producer who has demonstrated how utilizing conservation techniques can improve their livestock farming operation.
“Keith has done a tremendous job with his livestock and farming operation as well as his role as an agriculture educator. He is an excellent steward of the land and we are proud to present him with this award,” said Al Wilson, secretary-treasurer for the district.
Cole operates a beef cow and calf farm where he uses Angus and Simmental cattle. Each year he raises several show steers that are very successful in livestock shows across the state.
His current operation includes about 70 acres of pasture and hayland in the Homestead community on the family farm where he grew up.
He has incorporated numerous best practices for soil conservation at the farm:
•A well and pumping plant
•Alternative water systems
•4,235 feet of pipeline and five freeze-proof water tanks
•heavy-use protection areas for feeding pads
•nutrient and pest management
•6,192 feet of cross-fencing for rotational grazing
•2,912 feet of exclusion fencing to limit livestock access to ponds, creeks and other sensitive areas
Cole is also on his second contract with the Conservation Stewardship Program, an incentive program that helps participants build on existing conservation efforts to strengthen their operation. He has utilized the cost-share programs and services available through the Cumberland County SCD, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture.
In addition, Cole teaches agriculture science, vet science and landscaping through the Career and Technical Education department at Stone Memorial High School. He also serves as a leader for the FFA organization.
“Keith has not only done an outstanding job with his farming operation, but he’s made an impact on so many high school students during his years as a vocation agricultural teacher,” Wilson said. “His love and knowledge of livestock has been evident in the numerous award-winning livestock judging teams he has coached over the years.”