A Cattleman’s Call
Nic Cornelison credits his grandfather for teaching him the ropes. At 10 years old, he spent the summer building a fence with his granddad to enclose a cattle pasture. His payment? The purchase of 42 bottle baby calves that he’d be responsible for raising to sell. “He didn’t pay me money. He said, ‘I’m gonna buy you a job,’” Cornelison recalls. “I’m so thankful today because of it.”
In 2005, the Cornelison family purchased a group of Brangus cattle and started Lake Majestik Farms in Flat Rock, Alabama. The family-owned farm began with 140 acres and has since expanded to more than 6,000. Today, day-to-day operations are focused in two distinct areas. Folks interested in farm-fresh beef can purchase it on the farm, online, or through their Chattanooga office. On the commercial side, they raise and sell cattle to cattlemen. “We get a premium price for our product because we know how great the quality is,” Cornelison says. “We ultrasound all of our cattle yearly for ribeye size, intramuscular fat and marbling, plus back fat.”
But as well as he knows his cattle, there are certain aspects of the job that are hard to prepare for or study. “There are so many environmental factors and outside influences that change the value of cattle daily,” he says. “It moves more rapidly than the stock market!” For example, he remembers a fire at a beef processing plant in Kansas that created ripple effects. “People couldn’t move cattle, and it essentially knocked the bottom out of the price.”
Lake Majestik Farms utilizes rotational grazing practices to preserve land nutrients, even when weather interferes. “In the last month, we’ve had to move every single cattle we own to the mountain because the valley pastures are flooded from rain,” he says. “Typically, it’s good to pull your cattle off to let grass grow, but it won’t grow if it’s under water.”
The ranch is also a registered supplier of seed stock (high-pedigree breeding cattle) and embryos from their Brangus herd. “Our mission with the seed stock industry is to create bulls for the commercial cattlemen that they can’t find anywhere else and that will better their herd every time they use them,” Cornelison says. Lake Majestik Farms conducts national and international breeding business with countries including Argentina, Thailand, and Australia.
For Cornelison, extending family traditions brings joy. “We talk and work side by side, seven days a week,” he says. “As soon as my son gets home from school, he is on horseback helping check baby calves. I don’t see any lifestyle I would want for me and my family other than living and working on a farm.”
Photos Courtesy of Lake Majestik Farms