Basic 8: Critters

Cattle in Fentress County


Now let’s talk about the animals produced by Tennessee’s farms. They are known as livestock.

As you drive from one end of the state to the other you’ll see a lot of cows, also known as cattle. Tennessee’s farms have a lot of cows; in fact the main livestock item in the state (by dollar amount) is cattle.

Beef cattle are raised to provide meat products for people to eat as steak and hamburgers. There are also some parts of Tennessee where female dairy cows are milked at least twice every day, with that milk processed and sold for people to drink. But there aren’t nearly as many dairy farms in Tennessee as there used to be.

Cluck! Cluck!

Chickens are a lot smaller than cows. Within the world of farming, chickens come in two types: Broilers, a chicken raised for meat, and a layer, which is raised to produce eggs.

By the way, chickens don’t have fingers. Chicken “fingers” are parts of chicken breast cut up into small pieces and fried. And there is no such thing as buffalo wings! When a restaurant sells what it calls buffalo wings, it is selling chicken wings with hot sauce on them.

Oink! Oink!

Know what these are? They’re pigs, or, as farmers usually call them, hogs. When pigs make it to your kitchen they are usually known as bacon, ham, sausage and pork chops.

Although you’ll find pig farms all over Tennessee, the top three counties in Tennessee for hog production are Henry, Weakley and Gibson counties — all in the western part of the state.

Here are a few more interesting things about livestock in Tennessee:

  • Baaaah!
    PHOTO: TN Dept of Agriculture

    There are many sheep and lamb farmers in Tennessee. Although people do eat sheep and lamb, the main reason they are farmed is because sheep fur (known as wool) makes great winter clothes.

  • Tennessee ranks second in the nation in goat farming. Most goats are raised for meat, but some are raised for milk. East Tennessee, where the land is very hilly and hard for many kinds of farming, has proven to be a good place to raise goats.

Now let’s see if you have been paying attention.

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