Kristy Griffis Arnold knew at an early age that farming was her passion.
Kristy grew up on her family’s 465-acre Boggy Creek Farm and earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science and pre-vet medicine and a master’s degree in agricultural education from the University of Georgia.
Kristy’s grandfather purchased the farmland in 1941 with the support of Ag South Farm Credit. When the time came, Kristy's father took over the family operation. But, there was little doubt that Kristy would ever do the same.
Full of surprises
Yet in 2006, Kristy took over from her father, Ronnie. “You can’t deny what’s in your blood,” she says.
Since then, she manages the farm’s 350-head commercial cow herd and other operations. The farm’s contract embryo calf operation works with purebred stock producers to super-ovulate and fertilize eggs with semen from donor farms as a means to develop superior genetics. When the cow embryos are seven days old, they’re either frozen or inseminated fresh into Kristy’s broodstock. She raises the calves for seven months before returning them to the donor farms.
Never a dull moment
Kristy says there is no such thing as a typical workday. Doing what needs to be done, she preps cows for embryo transfer, builds fences, hauls cattle, operates a tractor to plant or harvest the rye, oats, hay and millet that feeds the cattle.
“You have to love the life to be a farmer,” she says. “I love what I do.”
An active member of the community, Kristy serves as president of the Wayne County Livestock Association, a position she has held three times since she was 18; she belongs to the Wayne County and Georgia Young Farmers Associations; serves as Vice President of the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association; sits on the executive committee on the Beef Quality Assurance Committee; and she’s a supervisor for the Satilla District Georgia Soil & Water Conservation District.
Kristy’s efforts have paid off. In 2010, the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association gave her and Ronnie the Georgia Producer of the Year Award. In 2012, the Arnolds won the 2012 Wayne County Farm Family of the Year Award. And in 2014, Boggy Creek Farms won Georgia’s Beef Quality Assurance Award.
It’s too soon to know if Kristy’s two children will take over as the next generation of farmers at Boggy Creek Farms. Regardless, she hopes they will uphold the family legacy of leaving land and livestock in good condition for generations to come.