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Stories - Oct 27, 2020

Homewood Cattle Company

Sean & Ian Ferrell
Homewood, Mississippi

Homewood Cattle Company was founded by two brothers, Sean and Ian Ferrell, originally from Union, Mississippi. Sean is the Scott County Manager for Farm Bureau and married to his wife, Heather, who handles the books for Homewood Cattle Company. Ian is a directional driller for Halliburton and is engaged to Jessica Holmes. The brothers are first-generation cattle farmers.

In 2011, Sean moved to Scott County to begin work with Farm Bureau. Sean and Ian purchased three Charolais heifers from Mr. Larry Addkison of Louisville, Mississippi. Sean knew there were not many other local breeders of this type of cattle in Scott County, so he quickly saw this as a great business opportunity, thus the beginning of Homewood Cattle Company.

“Mr. Larry made a huge impact on our lives, and he is our biggest mentor in the cattle business. We wouldn’t be where we are today without him,” said Sean. Since 2011,they have grown their herd size from three head to the current herd size of 60 brood cows.

“We got into farming to get away from the fast-paced life,” said Sean. However, the deeper they got into farming and researching ways to directly impact their bottom line, the more they realized just how important technology is to profit margins.

“If you’re not using the latest and greatest technologies available,” Sean added, “you are going to leave profits on the table.”

Homewood Cattle Company uses various types of technologies to collect, manage and chart data on the herd. Data collected allows them to highlight projections on quality genetics and prove quality breeds. They also use herd management software to track measurements on each cow, which they can access from the touch of their iPhone.

“I can be sitting anywhere in the world and pull up a specific cow in our herd, and I can tell a potential buyer not only what the cow weighed at birth but also the characteristics about the cow’s parents’ EPDs (expected progeny differences) and even show them every time I gave that cow any type of medical treatments such as shots and vaccinations,” explained Sean.

The company has plans to add other types of technology to enhance their business operations which, they believe, will continue to set them apart from competition.

“If we are going to charge a premium price, we know we better have the data to back it up and justify the cost,” commented Ian.

The goal of Homewood Cattle Company is to sell quality purebred bulls to improve someone else’s herd. To accomplish this, data collection and information integrity are vital. According to Sean, their focus has always been on quality over quantity.

“We want to have a good product. When people see the Homewood Cattle Company, they will know they can trust it.”

The Ferrell brothers also attribute some of their successes to the persistence of maintaining personal contacts within the industry, such as sponsoring Cattlemen’s Association dinners and other events, as well as educating potential buyers on the advantages of using a Charolais herd sire. They are proud of the fact that up to 90% of their buyers are from word-of-mouth referrals, personal contacts and existing relationships from other cattlemen. According to Sean, “the most rewarding part of what we do is to see repeat customers who feel like Homewood Cattle Company has made a difference in their family’s bottom line.”

Their parents, Stephania and Neel Ferrell, managed Ferrell and Company, a local co-op in Union, from 1976 and worked there until their retirement in 2015. Watching their parents work tirelessly at the co-op inspired the brothers to dream of one day starting their own business. Now that the day is here, Sean and Ian hope Homewood Cattle Company continues growing into a thriving cattle business so that they can eventually pass the farm down to their children.

Selecting a lender was an easy choice for the Ferrells. They chose Southern AgCredit because they believe it has the same goals as Homewood Cattle Company, which is supporting local communities in rural Mississippi.

“Southern AgCredit has great loan products to help us meet our needs, and those products were introduced to us by a great friend,” said Sean, referring to their Southern AgCredit loan officer, Kevin Brown, who grew up in the same community as Sean and Ian.

“Kevin is a local guy and he knows rural Mississippi. We found it was easy to work with him because he understands us and our business,” added Sean.

The Ferrell brothers both agree they view Southern AgCredit as a partner and are excited to see this partnership grow.

Homewood Cattle Company has been a Southern AgCredit member since August 2019.