This is our SCAA Officers and Directors, give or take a few, I'm the one far right!
Windy Bartee, the past Secretary of SCAA wrote this about me and the farm years ago for an article in the South Carolina Angus News and also for the North and South Carolina Cattle Connection. I loved it then and I still love it today. Sharing her thoughts and views on who I am, what I do here and what I love, ENJOY!
Spanish Oaks Angus Farm is a one woman show and that woman is Sharon Furr. To look at Sharon you would never guess that her passion was Angus cows. She is petite, energetic, stylish but very savvy. She does not look the part of a typical cattle rancher. But Sharon has deep roots in the land. Her grandfather, Russell McAllister, had a truck farm in western Mecklenburg County. As all farmers are dependent on the land, weather and God, so he and his family were. .. Sharon and her Angus herd are now. Her mother Jean McAllister Furr grew up as one of 8 children. Jean said, “When things got bad, I saw my mother stand looking out the window and crying.” But they always made it through the tough times. Sharon grew up with these ties to the land. She went to N.C .State to earn a degree in animal science. But after graduation she got side-tracked to a job with Duke Power in Charlotte. She worked there for 20 years before she moved to the farm in Chester County. The land called her back. Sharon said, “Mama and Daddy bought the farm for [my sister] Cindy and me in 1998. That was our inheritance. The goal was for she and I to have our babies and raise them together on the farm. That best laid plan didn’t work out so well. Cindy and her baby - Mac were killed and I was never able to have children. Years later, here I am alone now on a huge farm – no Cindy!” Sharon and her sister Cindy retained their maiden name after marriage to keep the Furr name for the future since her parents had no male heirs. When Sharon started on the farm she needed a little help learning about cattle raisings. But in the good southern tradition of neighborliness, her neighbors, Bubba Colvin and Herbert Lutz, jumped right in to help and guide her. Mr. Colvin had a commercial herd down the road, Mr. Lutz ran a dairy. They acted as her mentors and gave her a hand when it was needed. Sometimes they got up in the night to help her with calving. When asked how she decided on Angus, she replied,” I would never have anything else – I learned that a long time ago at school –the bulls are docile, which is a great thing when it comes to something you have to work with that weighs upwards of 2500 lbs sometimes. But the real plus side to Angus is they are good mamas, have little tiny babies, feed’em out real good, and have a great disposition. Too bad real mamas don’t take after them! I’ve always thought God created animals a lot smarter than us.” Sharon started by buying nine Angus cows that were unregistered but good producers. She said, “As the years have passed by they are the mothers that have continually paid the bills on the farm.” Sharon began her herd with only nine cows but it has grown to 125 mamas. Her Angus cows are giving back good calves for the Spanish Oaks herd. In 13 years her cows have produced 38 sets of twins. Sharon buys cattle from Lydia and Kevin Yon, and she loves them. They have advised her and helped so much through the years. Sharon said, “I love them and their cows! “ Sharon's been helped by others as she re-learned her animal science courses. She took an A.I. course and remarked, “Bob Rice and Dr. Harold Hupp helped me with re- learning or should we say refreshing myself at A.I. up at Clemson at the ABS A.I. School after some 20 years away from it.” Sharon has both commercial and registered Angus. Some cannot be registered for various reasons. Sharon noted,” If the white is above the navel, an Angus cannot be registered.”(An anomaly has been noted that some unregistered heifers at sales actually brought a better price than registered . Her herd is Johnes certified free, bvd free, tb free and she can only purchase cattle from farms that rank the same or higher than her farm, really she's pretty much a closed herd. Sharon follows this guideline, down to the wire. Sharon stated, "I do nothing to contaminate my herd." Spanish Oaks sells all natural, pastured raised beef - NC Certified, SC Certified, and USDA Certified now. If you need to find Sharon you can find her usually out checking her Angus cattle, Sharon cares about her Angus babies and their mamas. She knows who each one is by names, and you can see the love for them in her eyes. When they go into labor, Sharon stays with them until the calf is born. Calves are weighed and tagged immediately. She cleans up everything after that. The Spanish Oaks Angus give back with their good genetics. So does Sharon. She and her family have experienced unusual sadness and loss of her only sister Cindy and their only baby McAllister. But Sharon in her loss has used her talents to give back. She founded the CindyMackie Foundation in memory of Cindy and the baby. Not only is she running the Farm and the Foundation, but she's also published a book, and writes for the paper weekly, you name it she's doing it.
The strong genetics and faith Sharon received from her parents, along with the good genetics in her herd are paying dividends for her life and in the lives of others.