In a an interview last year with Cattle Network I was asked about my background and my ranching business.I thought to share the answer here.
I am a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine (1981) where I had earlier received a BS in Animal Science. I was in private practice for 10 years in Florida (my husband’s home state) before our move to Missouri.
We own and family-operate a 4,000 acre farm in southern Missouri.We proudly practice a sustainable agricultural management model that we believe benefits the animals, the environment,the product produced and the farmer who lives and works on the land. A big part of this management involves rotational grazing in the production of grassfed beef.As such we consider ourselves as grassfarmers who use cattle to harvest our crop.
In the past we sold all our calves through traditional marketing channels at weaning, or at weight ready to enter feedlots and sometimes we retained ownership to sell them as fats.We occasionally finished a few animals on grass for friends or family but because of location did not have access to a local market that would have appreciation of the benefits of grass finished beef.
As the use of Internet marketing become more common we launched in 2000 American Grass Fed Beef, www.americangrassfedbeef.comThis venue allowed us to connect with our target market all across the country. The company had very small beginnings (4 home freezers and shipping out of the garage) and is still a small, family operated farm that sells directly to the consumer.However, the venture has grown steadily since 2000 as the benefits of grass fed beef have become more known.
Each year we are finishing more and more animals on grass as we have seen the demand for grass finished cattle increase. We select calves at 500-700 lbs. to finish on grass and sell the remainder. This number is limited by the amount of finishing pasture we have on the farm and the anticipated market demand.
In 2005 we purchased a small processing plant, Fruitland American Meat, which is allowing us to grow our market and include the beef of other local producers that we market under our American Grass Fed Beef label…Our primary business is still shipping directly to our customers who find us by the Internet but we are in the process of expanding into wholesale.