Wayne Allen and Patrick Greene consider themselves a dying breed. Dressed in cowboy hats and boots, along with their Wrangler jeans and vests, they are the image of the iconic cowboy. As cattle farmers, both men agree they could do no other profession.
Allen and Greene developed their passion for cattle-herding growing up on farms. "If you love what you do, you don't work," said Greene. "One of my favorite things is the birth of a calf."
Little Springs Farm, located on Moores Farm Road, specializes in commercial cows. It was in the last two years the farm began to move toward registered bull markets and commercial-bred heifers. Registered cattle are considered the pedigree breed - grown for the strength in its bloodline. Commercial cows are sold to the food industry.
"We're selling bulls to customers to breed calves," explained Greene. "The offspring of registered cattle will be sold as commercial."
The average lifespan of a bull ranges between 10 to 12 years old. When the cattle are unable to produce, they are sold for slaughter. The farm currently holds 400 cows on the farm.
"My granddaddy always told me that a cow works for you, you don't work for them," said Allen. "If she's not producing, then she's just eating and living for free."
The farm sits on a 3,000-acre tract of land, the largest in Newton County. There are 13 ponds within the farm that are utilized as its primary water supply; one pond spans over 39 acres.
Little Springs grows specific types of grass catered to the cattle like clover and rye - clover, a sweeter type of grass, is a particular favorite of the cattle's. The farm also grows and sells hay and wheat, which are also used for cattle grazing.
The farm recently received accolades from the American Hereford Association. Four of their cows were named Dams of Distinction. The award also recognized the cattlemen responsible for cultivating the exceptional breeds.
According to the AHA, a "cow receiving the Dam of Distinction honor is a cow that meets the highest standards of commercial cattle production."
The Dams of Distinction are judged by the following: produce a healthy calf every year; has produced at least 3 calves; produced a calf within 30 months of age (Little Springs' cows have produced at 24 months-old); the interval between the first and second calf should be no longer than 400 days; and weaned a calf born since Jan. 1, 2009.
With their homes located on farm, Allen and Greene can be found working seven days a week, along with two other employees. Despite Allen's position as farm manager and Greene's position as cow manager, both men have a respectful working relationship.
"The way I look at it, we're not anyone's boss," said Allen. "We work together and there is no ‘I'm your boss and you need to do what I tell you to do' type of relationship. I'm not going to be like that."