November 29, 2021

Working with cattle develops into freezer beef sales project

LEROY, Ill. — Emerson Tarr has a passion for the cattle industry that has led to selling freezer beef for her FFA supervised agricultural experience project.

“I’ve grown up around cattle. I went in the ring with a show heifer in hand for the first time when I was 4 years old,” Tarr said. “I have grown to love not only the showing aspect, but the educational aspect of how much you learn exhibiting cattle.”

Tarr started her FFA project with an embryo sales book.

“I had a donor cow for flushing embryos and I would sell the embryos,” she said. “The cow died a couple of years ago and we were just getting started selling freezer beef, so I took that over.”

The LeRoy FFA member buys cattle from her family’s cattle farm.

“I communicate with my customers through social media and direct communication,” said Tarr, who has been named one of four finalists for a FFA national proficiency award in the area of agricultural sales — entrepreneurship.

The winner of the national award will be presented during the 94th National FFA Convention and Expo Oct. 27-30 in Indianapolis.

“I send a cut sheet to my customers and I communicate with Bloomington Meats, which is where we do the processing,” said the daughter of Stan and Jennifer Tarr.

Most of Tarr’s customers are local.

“I use social media to find customers,” she said. “I also get new customers from my current customers because one connection leads to another.”

Depending on supply and demand, Tarr sells from three to five head of cattle per year.

“I sell quarters, halves and ground beef,” she said. “And I have one family that buys a whole animal each year.”

Tarr was with her dad when she learned she was named a national finalist from her FFA adviser, Jason Perry.

“I was in the barn washing show heifers when I got the text message,” she said. “That was pretty special being in the barn where it starts with my record book — I’m honored to have made it this far.”

During high school, Tarr was quite involved with her FFA chapter, serving as the secretary, vice president and president.

“I took advantage of every opportunity I could,” she said. “Extemporaneous public speaking was my favorite event and I also did livestock judging and went to many leadership conferences and state convention.”

In addition, Tarr has been a member of the Illinois and American Junior Simmental Associations for 11 or 12 years.

“I am currently serving as president of the Illinois Junior Simmental Association,” she said. “I am also honored to be elected to the American Junior Simmental Association Board of Trustees to serve as the north central region trustee.”

Tarr is a freshman at Lake Land College where she is in the ag transfer program and plans to complete a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications and marketing.

Currently the FFA member doesn’t have a specific career goal.

“But my dream job is the junior adviser position at the American Simmental Association,” she said. “I also see myself doing a variety of things because I enjoy social media and I also love writing and talking to people.”

Martha Blum

Martha Blum

Field Editor