From Farm to Table
By Anna Robertson Ham
Feeding your family quality options is something we all strive to do. It is difficult these days. As one makes trips to the grocery store and sees words like organic and grass-fed, it can make choosing overwhelming. But when you actually do get the opportunity to know where your food comes from – that makes all the difference.
Franklin Cattle Company is committed to providing local farm-to-table, 100% Certified Angus beef. The company was founded by Glenn Johnson and John Loar with a close partnership with Jason Potts at Greenview Valley Farm – the oldest registered working Angus farm in Tennessee. The company idea began over a few drinks at the Inaugural Hog Ball, in 2022. “We struck up a conversation about our mutual love of raising cattle, eating a great cut of beef and love of the outdoors. From there, it took off quickly,” says Glenn. “We also have a lot of complementary strengths. This felt like a natural fit to join forces. Once our families got involved, it was evident that we were going to work well together.”
John says that the best business partnerships often start just like theirs did, with a conversation and a connection. “I knew this was something we needed to pursue given Glenn’s background, experience and relationships within the local cattle industry,” explains John. “When my wife, Monica, and I purchased the property, we had little to no experience in farming or ranching. After getting to know my neighbor John Harlin and his ranching partners Robert and Jeff Green, I originally purchased six heifers and two bulls. Our agreement was that Robert and Jeff would provide oversight and teach me the business; however, I’m convinced I provided the entertainment. I think the eye rolls and laughter at my expense were added bonuses for them.”
“I look at it as a chance to develop new relationships and share information on our product. Our attention to detail, grass-fed and grain-finished, will be something that some customers will truly value.”
Glenn Johnson and John Loar
Glenn has lived in Franklin since 1994 and has been with the Franklin Fire Department for twenty-nine years, serving as Fire Chief since 2020. His wife, Ondrea, is the Director of the Williamson County Animal Center, so they have a mutual passion of caring for animals. “I started raising cows as a hobby several years ago,” explains Glenn. “I have always been an avid outdoorsman, so a hobby that kept me outside when hunting season was over, was a natural fit for me. I started selling beef basically as an outreach of my hobby. I had fun experimenting with different types of cattle, such as grain-fed, grass-fed, etc. Once I found a formula I enjoyed, it was fun for me to share that beef with others.”
John has spent over thirty-five years as a business executive in the corporate, sports and entertainment sectors. He moved to the area in 2019 to help bring a Major League Baseball franchise to Nashville, which is something he is still heavily involved with. “I immediately fell in love with middle Tennessee and the Franklin area. Raising cattle started out as a hobby. Now, I have been able to turn that passion into something much more,” says John.
Raising cattle and farming doesn’t happen without challenges. “We are new, which is not necessarily a bad thing,” says John. “Sometimes, a new business can breathe some new life into a local industry and potentially fill a need. By making ourselves known for quality, we can simply let our product and service to customers speak for itself to develop a positive reputation.”
Keeping up with demand is also a challenge Franklin Cattle Company faces. “We are focused on quality over quantity, replenishing our stock only from reputable cattle operations. Our biggest supplier is Green Valley Farms in Hickman County.” Glenn explains. Not to mention, this job doesn’t have a clock-in and clock-out option. “Animals need care every day, so this is a 365-day-per-year job. We are out there caring for them rain or shine,” he explains. “They are dependent on us, especially in the winter months. It’s ‘work’ but it can also be a stress reliever for me, honestly. When I’m out there with our cows, I’m just in another zone. Probably because it’s so different from my professional work – it is a real change of pace.”
Franklin Cattle Company’s goal is to stay small enough to continue giving their customers the one-on-one service they started with. Glenn feels there is no comparison between farm-raised, direct-purchase beef versus what you buy in the grocery store. “You can see the difference from the raw beef all the way through the cooking process. The flavor and texture are distinctive,” he explains.
“We want to stay focused on the customer by providing a service and quality product. Our objective is to work with local restaurants. Currently, you can experience our beef products at Cork & Cow and 55 South in Franklin,” says John. “I look at it as a chance to develop new relationships and share information on our product. Our attention to detail, grass-fed and grain-finished, will be something that some customers will truly value.”
When it comes to customers wanting to visit the farm, they welcome it. “Spending time with our customers on the farm and showing the care we put into our cattle is an opportunity we hope to see more of moving forward. Stop by the Red Barn anytime,” says John.
Franklin Cattle Company is currently a wholesale distributor to local restaurants and food trucks, with plans to offer direct-to-consumer sales in the future. Learn more at franklincattleco.com.