Falkner Farms provides steady supply of fresh ingredients

Published 7:05 pm Friday, March 15, 2024

Profile 2024: The Falkner Farm family provides steady supply of fresh ingredients 

By Angela Cutrer 
Photo by Joey Brent

A familiar friendly face at Oxford’s annual farmer’s markets, Reed Falkner – representing his family’s Falkner Farms in south Oxford – provides pasture-raised chicken eggs, as well as grass-fed and grass-finished beef, all with a big smile and a humble personality. 

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In 2023, Reed’s dedication to his work had him named as one of the “20 under 40” in Lafayette County. His vote tally came from people who know his family, know what hard work is and know what kind of man Reed is. One can’t hide from honors bestowed from those who know first hand the kind of leader you are. But that is just a simplified definition of Falkner and the family from which he sprung.

Born and raised in Oxford, Reed’s childhood revolved around sports as well as the family farm. He attended Delta State University and then headed to California and Georgia for work involving fitness.

By 2016, Reed – whose life now included his wife Elizabeth – arrived right back in Oxford, where Reed began work as the head coach and a teacher at Coffeeville High School. However, by 2020 when COVID-19 reared its ugly head, Reed went back to the place he knew best: the family farm. He said it seemed to be calling him, as that was where he learned to work and play hard while enjoying the nurturing of animals as well as the earth. 

Anyone in the business knows that farm life is not for the weak. Luckily, Reed embraces the hard work necessary to be successful. He learned by watching his father, Ley, and the two now run Falkner Farms, along with other family members pitching in.

Falkner Farms has a large egg and Angus beef production, which is why its products are well known around the county, including in Oxford.

Caring for cattle and chickens is something Reed “just knows is where he belongs.” He has 10 years in the selling of eggs and beef and he finds the activity more than satisfying. “It’s a family farm that started as a hobby farm and transitioned to a small business,” he explained. “We have cattle, horses and chickens. We started with like 25 birds and now have 1,500 birds.”

Reed’s brother, who works on the University of Mississippi campus, helps out when needed, but mainly it’s Reed and his father in the trenches.

Reed was a coach and teacher for two years before COVID-19 lockdown. “That kind of messed with everything [at his job], so I jumped into working on the farm,” he said. “I thought I’d try it and see how I felt about it. I ended up changing career paths a little bit during COVID and then I decided to keep doing this.”

And yes, let’s talk about the elephant in the room: Reed is one of those Falkners – the ones who begat William Faulkner, who decided to add the “u” to his name because he was fancy like that. Fancy or not, the Falkners have long been a part of this community, as well as the North Mississippi area.

Reed’s great-great uncle William had a brother, John, and that’s Reed’s family line. “It’s definitely an honor to be related to William – it’s something we are proud of,” Reed said. “We have some of his old keepsakes and it’s really cool to be related.”

Reed shares his life with Elizabeth and their three little future farmers: Annie, 5; Dolly, 3; and Sadie, 1. Perhaps when they’ve grown up, Reed will have help with perfecting their cattle’s genetics, something Reed is interested in doing.

The Falkners’ current plans for their small business is to expand their farm-stand exposure and maybe open a storefront in the near future. “We’ve gotten really good feedback on our farmers’ market products and we hope to have more offerings for people.”