Montgomery County Young Farmers Mike and Denise Henry check calves with their children, clockwise from top, Amber, Porter, Amy, Davis and Abby.
The Henrys, along with their five children, live near the Pintlala community where Mike grew up with his three brothers and one sister on a family farm. Today, Mike and Denise have 600 brood cows as well as registered Angus and registered Charolais cattle. They operate a custom preconditioning business for weaned calves with members of Mike’s family and own a thriving catering business aptly named Michael’s Catering.
As the 2005 Outstanding Young Farm Family, the Henrys will participate in many activities promoting Alabama agriculture during the coming year. They received the use of a 2006 Chevrolet TrailBlazer for the next year and a personal computer from ValCom Business Centers of Alabama.
While Denise sees her primary role in the family as mom and cook, she helps with the farm’s bookkeeping and really likes the catering business. Mike said they could probably make more money in the catering business if he put the kind of time and effort into it that he does into his cattle operation, but his passion is beef. He and Denise have their own herd, but they work with two of Mike’s brothers, a nephew and his parents as well.
Mike hopes to expand his cattle business to 700 head of brood cows and with Denise’s help, he expects the catering business to grow as well. He also operates a bull-leasing program where he often buys replacement heifers sired by the leased bulls, and he helps his customers market their steers.
"Cattle prices have been really good — not as good as they could be — but it’s one of the few commodities that has been making money," Mike said. "I was very fortunate to buy in low and sell high — and that’s the basic way to make money."
The Henrys are members of Liberty Church of Christ and are active at their children’s school, Hooper Academy, where Mike serves on the board of directors. A former State Young Farmer chairman, Mike now serves as vice president of the Montgomery County Farmers Federation.
"The Young Farmers program has allowed me to meet people and develop relationships with other farmers all across the state," Mike said. "Sometimes you think you can’t make a difference. Being involved with the Young Farmers and Alfa has opened my eyes to how grassroots can make an impact on policy and in politics — state and nationally."