Kristy Griffis Arnold knew at an early age that farming was her passion. She 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, both from the University of Georgia.
Kristy’s grandfather purchased the farmland in 1941 with a Farm Credit loan. When the time came, her father took over. There was little doubt that Kristy would do the same.
“You can’t deny what’s in your blood,” she says.
Kristy took over from her father, Ronnie, in 2006. Since then, she has managed 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 brood stock. She raises the calves for seven months before returning them to the donor farms.
Kristy says there is no such thing as a typical work day. 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.