Century Farm: Mtn. View ventures into the rewarding world of Wagyu

by | Jun 10, 2024

Mtn. View is a sixth-generation farm located in the foothills of Hickory. Throughout their years as a Century Farm, they’ve grown strawberries and sweet potatoes and raised Hereford and Black Angus cows. Mtn. View became a full-time Japanese Wagyu farm just two years ago. Current owners and married couple, Laura and Chase Blalock, made the shift to become more sustainable for upcoming generations. 

Laura’s great-great grandparents Quince and Ida Deal and their grandchildren picking strawberries in the 1940s.

After starting with just four full-blood Wagyu, the farm has grown exponentially and is currently home to 45 cows. Mtn. View will soon say hello to 11 new additions with calving season in full swing. Twelve more will join the herd in the fall. Numbers are only the surface level of Laura and Chase’s success with the farm. The Blalocks are widely respected throughout the Wagyu industry and their Hickory community because of their dedication to the business and love of their roots. 

Calving season at Mtn. View

Laura’s great-great-grandparents purchased the farm in 1913 when her great-grandfather was born. He lived on the farm his entire life, building even stronger family roots and raising Laura’s grandfather, who then brought Laura’s mom up on Mtn. View. The cycle continued when Laura and Chase moved to the farm in 2015, officially taking over its operations. Laura and Chase have three sons: Easton (13), Parker (5) and Ford (2). The five of them make up the entire farm staff. In addition to the Wagyu, you’ll also see their nine bird dogs roaming the fields.

The Blalock family

Parker and Easton refilling a mineral feeder

A typical day at Mtn. View includes checking on the Wagyu, their water and special-rationed feed. “The trick to Wagyu is it is not a fast-paced growth,” said Chase. “It’s not like regular cattle where you want them to gain crazy amounts of weight every day.” Harvesting begins for these Wagyu after they’ve been on the farm for at least 30 months, nearly double the time frame for regular cattle.

Feeding time with the Wagyu

Chase’s favorite part of being in this industry is the data, such as tracking DNA, growth and Expected Progeny Differences (EPD). “Our cattle are dual registered with the American Wagyu Association and the Australian Wagyu Association,” said Chase. “It’s just amazing how much you can find out about these animals and what you want to do with their breeding plans in the future.” 

Every advancement in cutting-edge technology grows the efficiency of accessing this data. “It’s at your fingertips, and the younger generation will be invested in it,” continued Chase. “There are advancements like virtual mating, whereas at one point you had to depend on what somebody sat down and wrote about the bull.”

Laura personally prefers the networking side of the business. “There’s not as many of us out there as you think, especially in North Carolina,” said Laura. “We’re like a big family.” Whether that’s keeping up with each other or sharing advice, the Wagyu community is always looking to help and show their support. 

Chase plays a crucial part in their networking as a land broker for National Land Realty. He has the advantage of cultivating deeper relationships with his clients, and fellow farmers, by engaging in intelligent conversations about what they can do with their farms. “It builds connection and resources,” said Chase. “As a community, we’re bringing awareness to agriculture through land sales and letting people know how to live this lifestyle.” 

The Blalocks resources don’t stop there. They are tight knit with their county extension office and the Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers program. Chase is also a member of the Catawba Valley Cattlemen’s Association. “There were a lot of reasons why we went into Wagyu,” Laura said. “Truly we just fell in love with the breed, the people, the beef—all of it!”

Grazing Wagyu

In the next few years, the Blalocks would love to explore agrotourism—the budding industry that it is. Their family farm resides in the heart of Mtn. View, and with that comes a twinkling fascination with the farm’s efforts from the community. Friends and neighbors already love to ride by and look at its gorgeous landscape (and of course the Wagyu). The Blalocks dream of opening a store and establishing a large e-commerce presence for their beef sales.

A beautiful scene from Mtn. View

When asked about their farm’s biggest accomplishments, the Blalocks wasted no time expressing their gratitude for their Century Farm recognition. Laura was incredibly close to her grandfather and had gone through a tough time when he passed. It’s the most heartwarming honor to follow in his footsteps. 

Not only are Laura and Chase proud to have the responsibility of preserving the farm’s heritage, but they’re excited to continue the legacy for their sons. Their focused teamwork is the most instrumental contributor to Mtn. View’s successes. Make sure to follow Mtn. View Wagyu on Facebook to stay in the loop of the Blalocks’ journey as sixth-generation farm owners.

Family members gather on a Sunday afternoon at the original home. These steps are still standing.

Preserving Mtn. View’s heritage, the Blalocks take a family picture on those same home steps.