Locust Level Farm is a century farm that serves as the original homesite of the McDowell family after their immigration to the United States. The farm started as a tobacco and small grains operation with cattle, pigs, and small ruminants. Upon graduation from Virginia Tech, Michael McDowell, the family’s fourth generation and the farm’s current owner, took over the farming operation.
After he took over the farm, Michael added feeder cattle to the tobacco and small grains, then transitioned from the feeder and commercial cattle to purebred Angus and Polled Herefords. The farm shifted again to no longer produce the small grains and tobacco, focusing solely on the Angus. We currently concentrate on managing the forages and improving the genetic selection of our Angus cattle.
Along with Michael, the McDowell family also includes Michael’s wife, Wanda, along with their three children — all of whom are doctors of different disciplines. Their oldest daughter is a veterinarian, married to a veterinarian. Having two veterinarians in the family allows the McDowells to focus on the health of the cattle, along with being at the forefront of the farm’s intensive AI and embryo transfer program.
After four generations on the farm, raising cattle is our livelihood. This is not a hobby farm — it’s our way of life. The cattle have to work for us, so they will work for you.
Michael McDowell has been working to improve the cattle genetics and reproductive success of the operation since graduating from college in 1978 with animal science and agronomy degrees. These practices continue today as we strive to breed cattle that are the complete package. We want our cows to be easy calvers that will produce high-growth calves with top quality carcass traits. They have to do this on fescue grass in the hot, humid environment of the southside of Virginia — it’s a lot to ask of an animal with a black hide, but that is our goal.
We aim to achieve this goal by combining over forty years of experience in evaluating Angus genetics with the most cutting edge technology. Utilizing AI and embryo transfer in combination with proven sires allows us to produce consistent genetic progress within our herd. Through prioritizing the health and genetic advancements of our cattle, our farm continues to grow and improve the beef industry and the Angus brand.