Ok, so we're not very happy about it. Still working out the kinks in the fodder system. Apparently, since we're longhorn beef ranchers and not grass-farmers (yet) we had a few more things to learn about a few more things to get the temps/seed/moisture/you-name-it under control. But we are growing greens, so that's a plus. Only the chickens will eat it, so not quite the plus we had hoped, but we're working on it.
If you have been following us for awhile, you may have noticed we don't back down much when challenges arise.
- First season, it was literally taking a stance "against the grain" and establishing a grass-fed only operation within the first few months. The challenges then were getting the weight on the buggers, so we processed much lighter animals but still guaranteed no grain.
- Second season, a harsh winter blew through and with our animals spread out in 4 different counties we practically ran the tires off our trucks & trailers to keep everyone fed. We experienced our first losses too; heart-breaking. We realized we might not want to keep going, but we did. Gluttons for punishment, I guess....
- Third season, some personal challenges arose that forced us to make some tough decisions about moving forward. This was the season where quitting became almost a daily practice. God is gracious though and where doors closed, windows flew open and we established some otherwise unknown contacts to keep going.
- Fourth season, major steer loss occurred. We didn't share this openly, but we strive to be transparent, so here it is: we had a sick animal come in with some steers we purchased. It was a major blow to our operation, already struggling, and with the loss of so many head (the carrier was the last one to go after losing 9) it seemed impossible to keep going. Unbeknownst to you all, your comments, remarks, shares and just general continued business was enough for us to stay the course. We are DEAD SERIOUS when we thank you for your continued support. That might have been the last year had it not been for you.
- Fifth season, we lost some leased land, which reduced some of our capacity for production. However, almost in the same breath, we were contacted by some very influential breeders in our industry that offered to step in and help out with both production (off-site) and steers for beef. It was a major plus, as their genetic quality is far superior than what we can afford to do on our own. We count ourselves exceptionally blessed with these connections & the beef quality standards were raised once again. In addition, we connected with a different processor who understands the necessity of presentable packaging and have not looked back since.
- So far this year, we did again lose more leased land as a result of a tough winter that depleted funds (a wet winter literally used up almost twice as much hay!). This hasn't stopped us. We have already been adapting regenerative practices as much as we can and this forced us to look at a newer level of growing hydroponic grass. We're still in the development stages of growing palatable grass, but we're still growing and learning and trying. Our animal health is worth it, our faithful clients are worth it, our environment, well-being and future of our ranch is definitely worth it. We've been working for free far too long to give up now!
We are truly SOLELY DEPENDENT ON BEEF & LIVESTOCK SALES with no subsidy money from local, state or federal agencies. We're different in that way as a farm; literally every single dollar you INVEST we RE-INVEST to continue to grow & produce the best quality longhorn beef. We appreciate your continued business, look forward to pushing forward with you and always, always, ALWAYS strive to find more creative ways to "meat you". Grab life by the horns.... and hang on!
Blessings & Longhorn Beef Forever, Allen & Kimberly