A Cattleman's Calling
Joe Davis Shapes the Next Generation
Story by Keri Collins Lewis • Photos by Kevin Hudson
When third-generation cattleman Joe Davis was a teen, he had no idea his competition in the show ring would one day be his Extension agent in Union County.
“Gina Wills is a lifelong friend, and my sister and I showed against her and her sister Geri for years. Gina got me back involved in 4-H clubs and judging teams, and now my son is exhibiting cattle within the state,” Davis says.
“Any of the children involved in any aspect always learn some leadership. Our kids can talk to other kids, talk to adults, and usually speak to a group.”
Now Davis combines his love of 4-H and his passion for the cattle business.
Davis, who has practiced law since 1995, operates Red Fox Farms with his father, Johnny. In 2 years, they will receive their 50-year award from the Angus Association. Their registered Angus herd has produced several state championship calves over the years in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Alabama, including multiple "Mississippi Bred" champions.
Davis's new Angus enterprise concentrates on using in vitro fertilization to produce high-end heifer calves for the show circuit under the farm name PMCC, LLC. With partners Cha Cha Rita Farm, Cooper Angus, and Witcher Reds, Davis has had some early success with heifers winning supreme, grand, and reserve grand champion at the state and regional levels. Most recently, a PMCC heifer won reserve champion in Jackson at the Roll of Victory Angus Show, part of the Dixie National Junior Livestock Show.
"My earliest memories are of my mom, dad, sister, and I climbing into a single-cab truck pulling a trailer filled with our show calves and supplies and heading to a weekend show or sale somewhere in the South," he recalls. "My parents are great examples of how to live your life investing in others."
The highlight of Davis’s show career also occurred at the Dixie livestock show; he was a senior and his sister, Dawn, was a freshman.
“We both won our showmanship classes, and I won the champion bull and she won the champion heifer in the Angus show. It was such a highlight for us as a family after all those years of traveling across the Southeast.”
Davis explains how 4-H helped shaped him.
“I’ve grown up with 4-H and Extension being part of my life. I’ve had tremendous adults involved in my life, and a lot of my memories are from Union County adults—the agents, personnel, and volunteers,” he shares. “Early on, I learned respect, treating other people nicely, and work ethic. When I think of some of the agents I had growing up, that’s what they taught us. We learned our projects and our contests, but they were teaching us by example how to treat others, and that your work ethic determines your success in life.”
Davis appreciates the leadership skills 4-H’ers learn.
“Any of the children involved in any aspect always learn some leadership. Our kids can talk to other kids, talk to adults, and usually speak to a group,” he observes.
In addition to being a volunteer and county 4-H awards sponsor, Davis is an innovator. Wills said, as chairman of the beef show, he added the Top Hand Award to encourage participants to stretch themselves and learn new skills.
“Any exhibitor can enter, and it involves nominating one calf, taking a quiz, participating in showmanship, and judging two classes,” Wills explains. “Points are kept on each category, and a junior and senior winner receive awards each year.”
For many families, the Union County Fair kicks off the show season and is on their calendars every year.
“Joe works so hard to make families feel welcomed. He wants them all to be winners. He even provides homemade ice cream and watermelon on show day for the contestants and their families,” Wills adds.
Davis works at the 4-H Concession Stand at the Union County Fair each year, which is the program’s biggest fundraiser. Given his role as the fair board’s vice president, he could easily be too busy with other responsibilities, but he maintains his commitment to 4-H.
“He is always willing to help out in any way possible,” Wills says. “He and his family support all of our kids, no matter what.”