(Recipe at the bottom)
This is our beef.
Some of you are thinking, “No duh. You raise cattle. Of course it’s your beef.”
But it’s actually pretty rare that we eat our own beef. We normally buy our beef at the grocery store, just like most of you!
The only reason we have our beef in the freezer right now is a funny story actually- one that involved a wild calf, broken fences for 6 miles cross-country, airplane rides and such - but I’ll tell that story another day. 😆
Today, I want you to know that my beef-raising, farm family buys our beef at the grocery store just like millions of Americans.
We trust the quality, nutritional value and safety because our beef is what’s being sold in the grocery store, alongside beef that came from farms just like ours all over the country.
So why don’t we keep our own beef?
It’s not feasible for us.
We are a cow/ calf farm. That means we have the mamma cows and bulls. We raise the calves on pasture until they reach around 500-600 pounds. From there, they will go on to other farmers who will finish them until they are ready to butcher. Then, they end up in your grocery store.
This system actually allows cattle farmers of all sizes - from 5 head to 5,000 head- an opportunity to stay in business.
We would love to feed cattle. But there’s several reasons we don’t.
First, is our cash flow. When we sell our calves right at weaning time it gives us income that we need to keep operating. Like many young and smaller cattle farms, it would be financially challenging for us to keep our calves for longer periods because that’s longer time we do not have income flowing in, and longer time we have expenses.
Second is risk. The longer we keep our calves, the more cost we have in them and the longer we are exposed to market risk. Feeding cattle is expensive and when they are ready for market they are ready. You can’t simply hold on to them waiting for better prices, which means you’re at risk of losing money.
It takes a very established farm, typically with larger numbers of calves, to be able to withstand the cash flow ups and downs of feeding cattle. When those farmers buy our calves from us, they help us by taking on the risk until the calves are ready.
Finally, is our facilities. We are set up with great pastures for raising baby calves, but we are not set up with the areas and equipment we would need to feed all of our calves. It’s expensive to have good facilities to feed cattle and not feasible for us at this time.
So for us, at this point in our farming journey, selling our calves to farm families better equipped to feed cattle is our best option to stay in business. Plus, we have confidence that the families that finish our cattle are experts in what they are doing and provide the best care, feed and environment our calves need to thrive.
So next time you’re walking through the grocery store and grab a package of steaks or burgers, know that our farm family, and families just like ours appreciate you!
Mississippi Pot Roast
Salt and Pepper
1 stick of butter
1 package Ranch seasoning
1 package onion soup mix
Dry roast and season with salt and pepper. Use oil in hot skillet to brown roast on all sides, 2 minutes per side.
Transfer the roast to a slow cooker. Place 1 stick of butter, ranch seasoning and onion soup mix over roast. Set peppers on top.
Cook on low for 8 hours. Shred, discard large fatty pieces and serve.
Kate Lambert grew up in northern Illinois, not on a farm but active in FFA and showing livestock.
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