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Spring at home - Lawson Farms: Rooted in faith, family and farming

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by Leah Dobbs/Spencer Magnet Freelancer

 

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Nathan Lawson of Big Springs Beef and Lawson Farms considers himself blessed to be a farmer and to share it with past and future generations.

Lawson Farms started twelve years ago with thirty-two beef cattle that the family raised for their own consumption. They also grew corn, soybeans, alfalfa, wheat, and tobacco on their 800-acre farm. Then they started selling beef to friends, and Big Springs Beef grew from there.

Now they have 140 cattle. This year, they decided to stop growing tobacco and to focus on raising beef.

Their calves stay on the farm from birth to finishing, rather than moving on to other farms after birth. It takes up to two years to see any profit from a new calf, but the greater investment is worth it to Lawson.

Lawson said, “We work really hard to make sure that we’ve got a good product that’s got integrity. People can count on it, they know what it is, they know us well enough to know that they can trust how we’re raising the cattle, how we’re caring for the cattle, and you know we have something that we consume ourselves.”

For Lawson, farming is all about relationships. His grandfather was a tenant farmer, and his parents had their own farm. Nathan credits his father for instilling the love of farming in him, as well as a strong work ethic. Now, his father is a partner in Lawson Farms.

Lawson met his wife, Wanda, at the University of Kentucky. She’s from a large farming family,  one of twelve children, and her family relied on their farm for their income.

It was important to Nathan and Wanda to raise their own children on a farm. The couple has five children ranging in age from three to seventeen. Two of their children are adopted, two fostered, and one is biological.

Lawson’s not sure if his children will want to continue farming, but he hopes that they take the lessons they learned on the farm into whatever they do.

Lawson said, “When my wife and I made plans to get married, raising our children on the farm was our goal. We felt like it was the best way that we could raise our children and instill in them the work ethic and the right attitude and understanding about life and death and all of those things and how to set your goals and accomplish them. We felt like it was the best setting for us to be able to do that because that was what we knew best.”

Even if his children decide not to farm, Lawson hopes that future generations will find the same love of farming that he has. He considers himself fortunate to have been involved in the FFA program at Spencer County High School. For students who are considering getting into farming themselves, Lawson suggests doing their research and counting the costs, especially the time investment.

Lawson thinks it’s important for the next generation to be interested in agriculture, and he’s trying to pass his love for it onto his children.

“When those calves start being born, we know spring’s just around the corner. I think it’s really just enjoying creation and being able to see life work the way it was intended to work. And being a part of trying to take care of that. That’s what I really appreciate about farming the most, is being able to be a caretaker of the land and of the livestock and pass that on to my kids,” says Lawson.