Brookview Farm lies 15 minutes east of Lexington, Kentucky in the fertile and historic Boone Creek watershed of Western Clark and Eastern Fayette Counties at the railroad crossing known as “Pine Grove”. Brookview’s history dates back to the land grant days of Kentucky’s early settlement and has long been known for its’ place among the top breeding farms in Kentucky.
During the turn of the 19th Century, 4th generation owners Mr. and Mrs. J.D. Gay (Jake and Lucy) lived on the Colby Pike near Pine Grove, where Mr. Gay was a breeder of champion fighting chickens, a renowned fisherman and sporting shot and a successful cattleman. By the 1930’s, the operation had been joined by the Gay’s son, Doug, whose penchant for invention and cattle breeding would take Brookview to national prominence.
Mr. J. Douglas Gay, jr. of Pine Grove, known to most as “Doug” grew up on the farm where his mechanical mind was allowed to grow and develop in the rural surroundings of Central Kentucky. Over the next 50 years, Brookview would become the birthplace of numerous farming and scientific ideas such as a revolutionary bluegrass seed stripper (Sphar-Gay Seed Co.), a collapsible/reusable tobacco hogshead, tree and plant fertilizer spikes (International Spike) and Lexington’s first television station (WLEX- with Guthrie Bell). While all of these ideas were notable in their own right, Doug Gay’s proudest achievements came in the area of cattle breeding. The family’s involvement in cattle breeding certainly dates back well before Jake Gay’s time, and Jake for his part was a very successful cattleman, backgrounding and finishing steers at Pine Grove and developing a commercial cattle herd but greater things were on the horizon.
In the early part of the 20th Century, Jake Gay became partners with his wife Lucy’s family, the Graddys of Versailles, KY, in a number of head of Hereford cattle. By the 30’s, as Doug Gay’s involvement in the farm became greater, Brookview was on course to become a major player in the Hereford scene on a National level. Over the next 50 years, Doug Gay carefully bred and selected one of the premier Hereford herds in the United States at Brookview and his influence on Hereford genetics was well known, based largely on the selection and development of an outstanding string of bulls, which included Prince Domino 144th and TR Zato Heir 181st. His accomplishments in the show ring were numerous and the Brookview herd, which had grown to over 400 cows grazing 2400 acres, became a stop on any cattleman’s tour through the Central Kentucky area. Gay served not only his own interests in regard to the Hereford but also served many years as a director of the Kentucky Hereford Association and as President of the American Hereford Association in 1953-54. Sadly the Hereford chapter of our history ended shortly after Doug Gay’s death in 1988 when a local bank became trustee of Gay’s estate creating a farming operation between the trust and Doug Gay’s 2 eldest daughters named Brookview LLC.
The history of Brookview following the death of Doug Gay mirrors that of so many farms. The waning popularity of the Hereford led to the business decision to cross Angus bulls over the purebred Hereford herd and the resulting “black baldy” herd roamed Brookview for the next decade. Saddened by the loss of the Herefords and frustrated with her inability to affect the management decisions of the operation of Brookview LLC, Doug Gay’s eldest daughter, Monnie Gay Long and her son, Jacob Douglas Owens decided to leave the LLC in late 2000 keeping the name Brookview and leaving the bank to run the trust under the new name Brookfield LLC. The past decade at Brookview has been a very busy one mainly in the area of rebuilding the worn infrastructure of the farm and dedicating ourselves and our operation to principles of land management that are mainly lost today. We have fenced off access to our ponds and streams, controlling erosion, helping water quality and developing habitat for wildlife. Wells and springs have been developed for the safety of our water supply and over 7000 trees have been planted not only for wildlife habitat, but also for practical shade and pleasurable esthetic purposes. In 2006 we began our involvement in the Devon breed with the purchase of 15 heifers and a bull from the Lakota Ranch herd in Virginia. Our herd has grown to over 60 Devon and Devon X females in that time and in 2009, Owens and his wife Jenny started “Brookview Beef”: a retail beef company selling antibiotic, steroid and added hormone-free grass finished beef to local restaurants and consumers.
Brookview Farm is and always has been, above all, a family operation. Currently there are three generations involved in the ownership of the farm from Monnie Gay Long; her son and daughter in law, Douglas and Jenny Owens to her grandchildren; Walker and J Owens. They as a family strive to live up to the excellence of their past, not only as a Devon breeding operation or as a retail beef sales company, but as stewards of a sustainable farming operation for the generations of family to come.