Producer Panel on Direct Marketing - From Producer to Consumer
Brianna Buseman, UNL Meats Extension Assistant Professor, moderated a producer panel on marketing directly to the end consumer during the 2021 GSL Open House. The producer panel included: Dan and Clarissa Feldman of Setting D Ranch and Jaclyn Wilson of Diamond D Beef.
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[00:00:07.490]All right. Well, good morning, everybody.
[00:00:10.050]I'm excited to be here.
[00:00:12.580]Get out of campus for a day.
[00:00:14.820]It's always a good change of scenery.
[00:00:17.600]So as Dr. McCarthy said, my name is Brianna Boozman.
[00:00:21.470]And in my position,
[00:00:23.210]I teach a meat and carcass evaluation class
[00:00:26.620]at the university and coach the meats judging team.
[00:00:29.650]And then I also focus on youth extension specifically,
[00:00:33.770]so gotten to travel a lot this past summer throughout
[00:00:37.360]the state of Nebraska working with 4-H and FFA students,
[00:00:41.470]and really getting the chance to talk to them
[00:00:43.700]about where their meat comes from.
[00:00:46.320]So I'm really excited to be up here today
[00:00:49.030]to be joined by Dan and Clarissa Feldman
[00:00:52.470]with Setting D Ranch,
[00:00:54.100]as well as Jaclyn Wilson with Flying Diamond Beef.
[00:00:58.270]So following some of our conversations already this morning,
[00:01:03.520]looking at some different trends and things,
[00:01:07.890]we saw in that last picture
[00:01:09.630]that with some of the things with the pandemic,
[00:01:12.350]we saw grocery stores that were cleared out.
[00:01:15.820]We saw changes in how people were thinking about meat,
[00:01:19.740]thinking about where they were buying their meat from.
[00:01:23.490]And a lot of people were talking about and looking at
[00:01:27.710]turning to their local producer.
[00:01:31.110]And so today we've got two businesses here
[00:01:35.050]that have started in some direct to consumer marketing
[00:01:38.640]with beef that they raised.
[00:01:40.270]And so I'm gonna just turn it over to them first,
[00:01:43.640]just to start,
[00:01:44.473]give a little bit of introduction
[00:01:45.910]about themselves and their business.
[00:01:48.380]I've got a couple of questions to ask
[00:01:50.280]and then I'll open it up.
[00:01:51.640]If anybody has questions,
[00:01:53.870]maybe you're considering starting your own
[00:01:56.180]direct to consumer business from your farm.
[00:01:58.390]I would love to hear those questions today.
[00:02:00.930]So Jaclyn, if you'd want to grab the mic
[00:02:03.230]and go ahead and introduce yourself
[00:02:05.080]and tell us a little bit about your business.
[00:02:08.640]Sure, thank you.
[00:02:09.473]And just going off of Leah's presentation,
[00:02:12.220]I like my steaks rare or blue.
[00:02:15.543]And I think that is the only way to cook them.
[00:02:18.010]So I'm Jaclyn Wilson,
[00:02:19.810]I'm a cow calf producer from Lakeside, Nebraska.
[00:02:22.340]And actively involved in the industry
[00:02:25.220]along with a couple of other organizations,
[00:02:27.060]both in the state all the way up to the national level.
[00:02:29.990]For some of you in this room that I've already met today,
[00:02:32.540]you might know I do write on occasion
[00:02:34.610]for a couple different publications throughout the Midwest.
[00:02:37.680]So to give you a little bit
[00:02:38.830]of background history on Flying Diamond Beef.
[00:02:41.660]Flying Diamond Beef was actually started in
[00:02:43.540]fall of 2019 so we came about before the pandemic,
[00:02:48.780]which was truthfully a huge saving grace for us,
[00:02:52.140]but it also completely changed how we marketed
[00:02:54.340]and how we directed everything
[00:02:55.683]in terms of completely changed what we had originally
[00:02:59.740]intended to where we are at today, thanks to the pandemic.
[00:03:03.370]So it was a harebrained idea about five years ago.
[00:03:08.670]My best friend tried to get me to invest in a packing plant.
[00:03:12.400]And we worked on that ordeal for about six months
[00:03:14.980]before we finally decided at that time,
[00:03:16.850]it wasn't the right time for us.
[00:03:18.380]Which now kind of in hindsight, knowing where we're at now,
[00:03:21.783]we're like "well, that was stupid."
[00:03:24.445]But you know,
[00:03:26.240]then how it came about in 2019
[00:03:28.630]is my partner in a genetic company
[00:03:30.700]that I had started in 2011.
[00:03:32.730]Her and I started talking about, you know,
[00:03:34.680]there's such a need for people
[00:03:36.810]to understand where their food comes from.
[00:03:38.580]And we had something going for us
[00:03:40.320]in terms of we were single female ranchers.
[00:03:42.370]And so that was something that we could play,
[00:03:44.690]kind of play on that part.
[00:03:46.380]And so she was also an RN down in Colorado
[00:03:49.810]during some of the part of the week,
[00:03:51.110]so she had a great network down there
[00:03:54.430]of people that wanted to know and wanted to figure out
[00:03:56.730]how to buy beef in Nebraska Sandhills.
[00:03:59.160]So we started having those discussions
[00:04:01.130]and realized that we were in way over our head.
[00:04:03.350]And so we asked my best friend who was the one
[00:04:05.890]that we had talked about purchasing the packing plant with
[00:04:08.170]because her background was in meat packing
[00:04:12.570]and feedlot software,
[00:04:14.230]and asked her to get involved.
[00:04:15.640]And so she did,
[00:04:16.840]and we started to kind of grow and develop our business
[00:04:18.980]to where it's at today.
[00:04:21.640]The business boomed of course through COVID.
[00:04:24.890]For our first year we ended up taking over 60 head of cattle
[00:04:28.100]through the direct program with intent to grow it
[00:04:30.630]anywhere from 30 to 50 head a month.
[00:04:34.450]And then last October,
[00:04:35.283]my business partner was killed in an ATV accident.
[00:04:38.010]And so that really set us back.
[00:04:40.470]She was our marketing person, our networking person,
[00:04:43.270]and the one that actually liked to talk to people,
[00:04:46.360]and Dan and I aren't aren't as good at that part as she was,
[00:04:50.210]and so she's sorely, sorely missed.
[00:04:53.120]And it really changed
[00:04:54.550]and kind of how we are moving the business now.
[00:04:58.210]So we don't have as many cattle on feed this year.
[00:05:01.060]We're not pushing as much inventory as we are
[00:05:03.150]because we're starting to kind of go back to the basics
[00:05:05.180]and really focus on things like traceability.
[00:05:07.620]We want to be able to market a premium product,
[00:05:11.230]but if somebody asks us where that product comes from,
[00:05:13.860]we want to ensure without a shadow of a doubt
[00:05:16.410]that we can verify it came off of our ranch.
[00:05:18.730]So we were actually on June 7th
[00:05:20.470]the first branch operation business entity in the world
[00:05:25.800]that actually tokenized a set of feedlot steers.
[00:05:28.480]And so that was something that we're continuing to build on.
[00:05:32.420]That tangible proof that those cattle
[00:05:34.830]are what we say they are.
[00:05:36.710]And so like to talk a course more on that,
[00:05:40.320]but I'm going to turn it over now,
[00:05:41.430]but hopefully that will kind of get some of the questions
[00:05:43.300]rolling there about some of the ups and downs
[00:05:46.020]that we've had this last year.
[00:05:49.690]All right, well we're gonna be like completely opposite
[00:05:52.390]so it's kind of cool to be able to sit here with you
[00:05:54.370]and share our story too.
[00:05:55.900]So I'm Clarissa and this is Dan
[00:05:57.500]and we are from Litchfield, Nebraska.
[00:05:59.830]And it's Dan's...
[00:06:01.660]He's a third generation rancher there,
[00:06:04.370]and I don't know what your dad mostly was row crop, I think.
[00:06:08.790]He is more of the talker on that end,
[00:06:10.710]I'm more on the business end, cause I just like to talk.
[00:06:15.020]I did not grow up raising kettle or anything
[00:06:17.440]so it's all new to me.
[00:06:18.710]I'm more the horse girl,
[00:06:19.900]the chickens and the hogs.
[00:06:22.100]So we have Angus and Hereford's and then of course,
[00:06:25.620]well they were all Angus,
[00:06:26.890]and then when I married him,
[00:06:27.780]we brought the Hereford's 'cause I just like them.
[00:06:30.100]And then same with the pigs,
[00:06:31.810]You know, grew up raising hogs so we have hogs as well.
[00:06:36.400]I don't know.
[00:06:37.900]I don't have any crazy things other than we've been doing
[00:06:40.850]this since 2018 on the direct consumer,
[00:06:43.630]we've always done the carcass.
[00:06:45.040]And then Litchfield is probably like 300 people
[00:06:48.140]maybe in the town.
[00:06:49.900]A lot of older people and they would come
[00:06:51.670]and they'd be like,
[00:06:52.503]"Can we just buy a steak or can we just buy a roast?"
[00:06:55.190]And I don't know, I thought about it for maybe six months.
[00:06:57.450]And I said,
[00:06:58.387]"well let's just jump off the deep end and try this."
[00:07:01.480]I don't know, can't hurt anything.
[00:07:02.660]I mean, if it can't sell, we'll just eat it right?
[00:07:04.690]I mean, we always grew up with meat in the freezer.
[00:07:06.870]So it kind of took off.
[00:07:08.790]We found a local USDA processing plant and St. Paul.
[00:07:13.300]Went and visited them,
[00:07:14.133]got our licensing and started there just based on Facebook.
[00:07:19.780]Finally built a website this year.
[00:07:21.930]You know, last year with the pandemic was kind of crazy.
[00:07:24.700]We just kinda kept putting the word out there
[00:07:26.430]and we'd sell product.
[00:07:28.560]Looking into next year it's crazy because
[00:07:31.280]I don't know about you guys,
[00:07:32.320]but we have to pick our locker dates in January
[00:07:35.170]and then you have to plan your animals to the dates.
[00:07:38.540]You know, mother nature doesn't work that way.
[00:07:40.440]So that always presents some great challenges.
[00:07:43.540]And then I think the big thing,
[00:07:44.630]like the last presenter said, is knowing the trends
[00:07:47.730]and like educating the public.
[00:07:49.430]So that's kind of our story.
[00:07:53.740]No, that's great.
[00:07:55.200]I know a lot of folks that I've talked to in the past year
[00:07:58.360]that have been looking into these.
[00:08:01.124]They're kind of starting their own business,
[00:08:02.640]have had the same mindset of, you know,
[00:08:04.690]it's worth a shot and worst comes to worse.
[00:08:06.880]If nobody buys it, we still have a freezer full of beef.
[00:08:09.990]But one of the things when it comes to selling to consumers
[00:08:14.490]is that legally in the United States, in order to sell meat,
[00:08:18.140]it has to have been processed under USDA inspection
[00:08:21.760]and not all small processors have that capability
[00:08:25.970]or have an inspector on site.
[00:08:28.140]So could you guys talk a little bit about
[00:08:31.140]really how you were able to manage
[00:08:34.420]and get those locker dates in place?
[00:08:37.230]We know a lot of places it's a year plus out
[00:08:40.160]just to be able to actually manage a consistent supply
[00:08:43.680]and to be able to work with those processors,
[00:08:46.530]to make sure that you're able
[00:08:47.880]to keep product in your freezer.
[00:08:54.300]So I think from our standpoint,
[00:08:55.870]it was just the key was
[00:08:56.870]creating that relationship in the beginning,
[00:08:59.020]and then knowing that
[00:09:00.800]we were pretty excited to start this business.
[00:09:04.070]And so getting our foot in the door
[00:09:05.410]And then from there always,
[00:09:07.670]always meeting your locker dates, you know.
[00:09:10.580]You know that's big to them
[00:09:11.750]because if they're a small processor
[00:09:13.410]and you don't bring what you say you're going to bring
[00:09:15.040]that hurts their business too.
[00:09:17.070]And as we continue to put more on the books our first year,
[00:09:20.640]they saw it for the next year, you know?
[00:09:22.250]And then after the pandemic,
[00:09:23.550]well, it's still kind of going on, but you know,
[00:09:25.810]we're the first call in January, what we want to do.
[00:09:28.580]And we're now their call when they have open spots.
[00:09:31.410]So it is very challenging to manage,
[00:09:34.680]but that's why he's here because he can manage
[00:09:37.300]all the cattle and figure out,
[00:09:39.160]you know, how we need to raise them.
[00:09:40.810]I'm more in charge of the hogs.
[00:09:42.480]He only likes them because they produce bacon.
[00:09:46.040]I don't know, do you have anything else to add?
[00:09:48.530]One thing on the ranch end.
[00:09:51.410]We actually had to go to a fall calving herd
[00:09:53.320]as well as a spring calving herd
[00:09:55.380]just so we had a supply of cattle year round.
[00:09:58.260]And that's been a challenging deal just to get going.
[00:10:02.090]And like Clarissa said,
[00:10:02.990]we had to make all of our 2022 dates on January 1, 2021.
[00:10:09.010]How do you know what you're going to sell
[00:10:10.910]you know, 24 months down the road?
[00:10:14.052]And now I got to get a cow bred,
[00:10:15.660]have a calf on the ground,
[00:10:16.660]and have it finished to fit those dates.
[00:10:19.250]That's been our biggest, I guess my biggest concern
[00:10:21.960]and thing I've had to deal with
[00:10:23.630]is we've gotta get that calf on the ground.
[00:10:25.670]We've gotta get it finished and make it fit
[00:10:28.250]so that we're not selling a yellow grade five calf
[00:10:30.780]that's been on feed a hundred days too long.
[00:10:34.210]And so to do that,
[00:10:35.830]we take the big end off of our spring herd.
[00:10:38.150]We take the small end off of our spring herd.
[00:10:40.780]Same way with the fall calvers.
[00:10:42.960]We're running some on grass.
[00:10:44.250]We're putting some right in the feed yard.
[00:10:47.450]One thing that does work for us,
[00:10:48.890]I've got a small backhoe in the yard,
[00:10:51.220]so I'm making feed every day anyway.
[00:10:54.470]So driving by our cattle and dump it off,
[00:10:56.930]you know, for 10 or 12 head is not a huge deal for us.
[00:10:59.870]And that's been one of our keys to successes.
[00:11:02.350]We're already driving by with a feed wagon
[00:11:04.510]if we need to feed a grower ration to 10 head
[00:11:08.020]and a finishing ration to 10 head,
[00:11:10.040]we've got the ability to do that.
[00:11:11.530]And that's really helped us out trying to fit those cattle
[00:11:13.820]in to a certain spot.
[00:11:18.900]Yeah the packing plant relationship is key.
[00:11:21.420]We actually, I'm sure most of you know,
[00:11:23.433]it's really tough to find a USDA inspecting plant
[00:11:25.940]here in Western Nebraska.
[00:11:27.980]It's also tough to find one in Wyoming and South Dakota
[00:11:31.070]and Colorado or anywhere else you look.
[00:11:33.160]So when we were originally
[00:11:34.670]starting to look into packing plants,
[00:11:37.380]we kind of ran out of options just at that time
[00:11:39.927]and that was before the craziness that ensued.
[00:11:44.320]There wasn't really any place out there
[00:11:45.910]that wasn't booked out.
[00:11:47.000]And we had retailers at that point,
[00:11:49.630]we had restaurant groups that we were talking to
[00:11:51.430]before the pandemic hit about
[00:11:53.727]"when can we start tasting product?"
[00:11:55.620]And we're like, okay, well we have cattle that we can pull
[00:11:58.100]'cause we were using a different,
[00:11:59.230]we were using a finishing feedlot at that time
[00:12:01.170]down in Harris, down around Harrisburg.
[00:12:03.470]And so we have cattle we could pull,
[00:12:05.320]we don't have a plant to take them to.
[00:12:07.220]And so I lucked out one day,
[00:12:08.570]just kind of by the grace of God,
[00:12:09.780]we were looking online at Colorado's USDA plants
[00:12:12.390]and came across one down in Westcliffe, Colorado.
[00:12:14.840]And I'm not for sure if you guys know where Westcliffe's at,
[00:12:17.040]but it's west of Pueblo.
[00:12:18.840]So from Lakeside, Nebraska it's an eight hour drive
[00:12:22.420]and you can imagine taking a load of fats down there
[00:12:24.470]or bringing beef back.
[00:12:25.430]It's a jaunt.
[00:12:27.150]And so I called him on a Thursday.
[00:12:28.920]I said, "Hey, what do you guys have scheduled?
[00:12:30.640]I just want one animal in."
[00:12:31.920]And they go,
[00:12:32.753]"well, we can get you in here in the next couple of weeks."
[00:12:34.230]It's like, great.
[00:12:35.250]Said, "Hey, by the way, this is what we're doing.
[00:12:37.510]Would you guys be open to this discussion?"
[00:12:39.190]And they said,
[00:12:40.023]"Absolutely. Can you be here Monday?
[00:12:41.800]I said, "Sure, we'll be there Monday for a tour."
[00:12:44.100]So myself, the two other partners at that time
[00:12:46.010]we went down there, walked in, it's Amish owned.
[00:12:48.980]It was kind of a little shocker at first.
[00:12:50.610]And I'm like, "okay, this could work."
[00:12:53.060]It's kinda in the mountain valley,
[00:12:54.190]they're down below Westcliffe
[00:12:55.580]and just continued to build the relationship with them
[00:12:58.150]and it's been great.
[00:12:59.610]You know, anytime we take cattle down,
[00:13:00.980]the owner would come out, he would unload.
[00:13:02.730]We talk, we go walk through the plant.
[00:13:04.670]We'd see what was going on.
[00:13:06.650]The one saving grace for us is that the plant wasn't,
[00:13:10.780]hadn't received a lot of business at that time,
[00:13:12.710]just because of where they were demographically located at.
[00:13:15.810]And if they did,
[00:13:16.730]it was stuff like little five weight Scottish Highlands,
[00:13:20.170]or they'd have like 900 pound Longhorn steers
[00:13:23.070]that might be seven years old.
[00:13:24.500]And so here, I'm bringing him,
[00:13:26.440]oh, the first couple hadn't,
[00:13:27.500]which we've changed our feeding a lot since then.
[00:13:29.730]I'm bringing him 1700 pound red Angus prime cattle.
[00:13:34.460]And so needless to say it was an adjustment for all of us,
[00:13:38.310]but that just building that relationship
[00:13:40.720]with a plant is key.
[00:13:42.080]We we've tried to use another plant,
[00:13:44.570]It did not work for us
[00:13:46.040]just because the packaging was inequivalent.
[00:13:48.920]When I would drop my cattle off,
[00:13:51.080]I did not feel good when I left there.
[00:13:53.300]And I think that's a part of it.
[00:13:54.640]You have to be comfortable with that plant to
[00:13:56.940]as much as they are comfortable with you.
[00:13:59.090]Definitely. Those relationships are very important,
[00:14:01.730]both working with the processor,
[00:14:04.520]but then also working with the folks
[00:14:06.630]that are actually buying your product.
[00:14:08.820]So could you briefly talk about
[00:14:11.770]kind of who your customer is?
[00:14:13.320]I know you mentioned that you work with some restaurants.
[00:14:16.700]Is it mainly local folks?
[00:14:18.870]Are you able to ship product?
[00:14:22.360]Is it farmer's markets?
[00:14:23.770]Really who is your customer base?
[00:14:29.560]So that was also another thing that pandemic change did
[00:14:32.290]is it changed our customer base.
[00:14:33.690]So originally our goal was to do the restaurants
[00:14:36.530]and to do on the front range of Colorado
[00:14:38.603]because that's where we're closest to.
[00:14:40.740]And one of the things the pandemic did
[00:14:43.200]is it completely changed how we marketed our product.
[00:14:46.250]All of a sudden we're no longer looking
[00:14:47.820]at restaurants because there's no restaurants open.
[00:14:50.080]Instead we're hitting the streets
[00:14:52.200]and we're talking to consumers
[00:14:53.640]and surprisingly what we thought was going to be
[00:14:56.140]more of a upper middle class to high end product,
[00:15:00.800]we had people that were asking
[00:15:02.270]if they could purchase it with food stamps.
[00:15:04.480]And so that was a little bit of a difference
[00:15:07.550]than what we were planning on.
[00:15:08.720]We were completely focusing on the front range.
[00:15:11.340]Now we sell more product in Omaha
[00:15:13.240]and Lincoln and throughout Nebraska.
[00:15:15.410]And so I think that was one of the things
[00:15:17.450]that we learned is kind of everything that we had
[00:15:20.020]in mind completely changed and I think for the better.
[00:15:23.610]You know, originally Jamie,
[00:15:25.710]who is the business partner that passed, you know,
[00:15:28.610]her focus was going to be completely on deliveries
[00:15:31.090]and marketing and all that.
[00:15:32.540]Now I love making deliveries.
[00:15:34.870]I love it when people come up to our trailer
[00:15:37.140]with their Flying Diamond Beef bag and ask us to refill it.
[00:15:40.000]I mean, it's awesome.
[00:15:41.070]And it's such a neat fill because
[00:15:43.070]I'm the first person that touches our cattle.
[00:15:45.390]I'm the one that tags, weighs, bands at birth.
[00:15:47.870]You know, I'm also the one that takes them to the plant.
[00:15:50.180]I'm also the one that does a lot of the work in between.
[00:15:52.370]And so it's neat to see
[00:15:53.900]not only that the consumers
[00:15:55.260]are enjoying what we're producing,
[00:15:57.010]but I can meet them and say,
[00:15:58.577]"this is pretty cool that you're eating what I produced."
[00:16:03.440]From our standpoint,
[00:16:04.530]I think from the very beginning we've always been local.
[00:16:07.610]We have went into shipping and we have a real customer
[00:16:10.700]down in Florida that likes our steaks.
[00:16:13.240]Her first feedback was,
[00:16:14.197]"it was so good, my husband licked the plate
[00:16:15.980]when I got done eating." So,
[00:16:18.290]I guess that's good for Nebraska beef.
[00:16:21.070]I think it helps us too because we offer beef and pork.
[00:16:23.740]So we are spending all the time
[00:16:25.460]at farmer's markets this year
[00:16:27.210]and it's kind of like a one-stop shop minus
[00:16:28.090]they complain we don't have chicken and lamb.
[00:16:32.040]Draw the line there.
[00:16:33.400]I raised chickens growing up and I don't like the job
[00:16:35.940]I ever had butchering them.
[00:16:37.120]So, the, pin feathers are kind of a bitch
[00:16:40.810]to be honest with you.
[00:16:42.030]So I'm gonna let someone else deal with that.
[00:16:45.450]But yeah, I thought too the same thing, you know,
[00:16:49.780]target restaurants in hindsight 2020, you know.
[00:16:53.070]It's great that it fell through and nobody called us back.
[00:16:57.470]The key piece that the locker taught us right away
[00:16:59.980]when we were talking with him
[00:17:01.480]is that you need to be able to sell your grind.
[00:17:04.050]Your steaks will sell all day long.
[00:17:05.600]You need to be able to sell your grind.
[00:17:06.920]So just like with the trending posts of ground beef,
[00:17:10.010]we've been pushing like recipes with ground beef too.
[00:17:13.030]And I think the other piece for us
[00:17:14.880]is where we're located around
[00:17:16.530]like Kearney and Broken Bow and stuff.
[00:17:19.430]You know, everybody has access again, like I said to it.
[00:17:22.200]So we have to look at our prices.
[00:17:24.010]Of course we watch our margins,
[00:17:25.720]but we can't go charge a high, high price
[00:17:28.350]if we want to move product.
[00:17:29.980]And so it's probably not always the best business model,
[00:17:33.330]but we're more solely on volume and return customers.
[00:17:37.130]And we're actually getting that a lot.
[00:17:39.130]So this winter will be a test for us,
[00:17:40.850]how well we did at farmer's market.
[00:17:42.640]Right now we're getting a lot of pre-orders
[00:17:44.700]for pickup on Saturdays.
[00:17:45.850]So, here's hoping it continues to the winter.
[00:17:49.960]Awesome. Any questions from the audience?
[00:17:54.660]Have anything burning they want to ask?
[00:17:57.150]I got something.
[00:17:58.660]You kind of touched on it about,
[00:18:00.600]that's always the catch with, you know,
[00:18:03.040]I want to sell feed and then you get like sell the steaks.
[00:18:06.460]Can you sell this?
[00:18:07.293]And all of a sudden you got,
[00:18:08.126]you're buying a freeze truck or freezer of hamburger.
[00:18:11.380]I know you say you're just starting kinda out
[00:18:13.010]just selling halves or fulls and quarters.
[00:18:20.426]What troubles are you getting?
[00:18:21.517]Can you expand on how you tried to tackle that problem?
[00:18:27.710]So I'm gonna repeat that
[00:18:29.070]just in case anybody in the back couldn't hear.
[00:18:32.250]The question was with excess grind,
[00:18:34.980]you have excess freezer space.
[00:18:36.670]Starting selling halves in quarters, that sort of thing.
[00:18:39.610]Just what kind of troubles had they had
[00:18:41.940]getting started and going forward?
[00:18:44.450]I think this is another one where the pandemic
[00:18:46.440]was actually good for business for us.
[00:18:49.160]Nobody could get hamburger.
[00:18:50.580]They were learning to cook at home.
[00:18:52.730]And we're seeing a lot of those people come back
[00:18:54.760]and ordering hamburger.
[00:18:56.940]We have a lot of families, you know, with little kids.
[00:18:59.240]Hamburgers easy, you can do it in half an hour.
[00:19:02.290]And the other part of it is education.
[00:19:05.830]We do a lot...
[00:19:06.960]Half of our job or three-quarters of our job
[00:19:09.240]selling meat is educating people.
[00:19:11.940]And so Clarissa does a great job on our Facebook page
[00:19:14.450]of putting different recipes up.
[00:19:16.950]And that's been key to us to keep that grind moving.
[00:19:20.370]We also price our grind so that it's,
[00:19:23.080]I mean, I can't do a Walmart $1.99 a pound,
[00:19:26.920]but we price our grind pretty much as a break even for us.
[00:19:29.750]We just want to move it.
[00:19:31.110]Now there's times during the year
[00:19:35.405]that we can sell it for more 'cause people are needing it.
[00:19:38.240]The other thing is we try and up our grind.
[00:19:40.780]We try and add value to it.
[00:19:42.190]So we're not doing it yet,
[00:19:45.220]we're gonna look into jerky and stuff like that.
[00:19:47.570]We actually have our certified kitchen so we can do our own.
[00:19:50.290]But the best example I've got is on the pork end.
[00:19:53.620]Ground pork. We can sell some sausage,
[00:19:55.610]but ground pork doesn't move very fast.
[00:19:57.560]What do you do with all that grind?
[00:19:59.130]We put all that into brats.
[00:20:01.290]We do make some little hot dogs
[00:20:02.770]out of some of our beef and pork,
[00:20:04.150]it's mixed together.
[00:20:05.310]Well, whatever we can do to add value
[00:20:07.360]to that grind has been key for us.
[00:20:11.660]Actually, our secret weapon
[00:20:13.000]is my grandma's meatball recipe.
[00:20:16.100]People want that stuff pre-made.
[00:20:18.320]It's raw, they just go home
[00:20:20.350]and make their own meatballs or whatever.
[00:20:22.150]They buy it by the pound, like crazy people.
[00:20:25.890]So yeah, figure out ways that you do
[00:20:28.620]and you'll get rid of it.
[00:20:30.750]Yeah and I think that's one of the things
[00:20:32.500]when we were talking to restaurant groups
[00:20:34.000]is, I mean, that's exactly what they wanted.
[00:20:35.540]They wanted rib-eyes.
[00:20:37.210]They wanted tomahawks.
[00:20:38.260]They wanted, you know, T-bones,
[00:20:40.870]they weren't really fans of the strips.
[00:20:43.340]They wanted filets.
[00:20:44.450]I mean, they wanted those premium cuts.
[00:20:46.930]And unfortunately you take away your premium cuts
[00:20:49.910]it's hard to fill those orders of, you know,
[00:20:52.320]those wholes, halves, quarters, or your packages,
[00:20:54.560]or even your individual cuts
[00:20:55.710]because that's what a lot of people want.
[00:20:57.620]And so you do, you're exactly right.
[00:20:59.750]You have to find other creative ways to market it.
[00:21:01.950]You know, one of the things
[00:21:02.810]that we struggle with marketing is short ribs,
[00:21:04.840]but if you go to any restaurant anywhere right now,
[00:21:07.191]what they pay for short ribs is asinine.
[00:21:09.890]I mean they're pricing short ribs like their pricing filets.
[00:21:13.340]And so that's something I think you need to really analyze
[00:21:17.240]where the market is.
[00:21:18.300]At that time my business partner, Dana,
[00:21:20.690]she's phenomenal at that.
[00:21:21.800]She's really good at getting that price point
[00:21:23.700]almost exactly where it needs to be
[00:21:25.290]so people are willing still to come to us
[00:21:27.660]instead of going to Costco.
[00:21:29.030]Which we do compete a lot with Costco on the front range.
[00:21:32.520]And so I think, you know, there's some great things there.
[00:21:35.220]I think we're also kind of making this all,
[00:21:37.480]all roses and unicorns right now and it's not.
[00:21:41.000]I mean you know,
[00:21:41.833]where one of the question comes about shipping
[00:21:43.770]and I don't know of what you guys experience with shipping.
[00:21:46.190]Our shipping is...
[00:21:47.900]It's a bitch.
[00:21:50.190]I mean, honestly.
[00:21:51.080]And the reason being is because,
[00:21:52.840]I don't know about if you guys know,
[00:21:53.673]but UPS in Alliance is only open for a half hour every day.
[00:21:57.850]And so, but then you have to find dry ice.
[00:22:00.920]And how many of you have gone to the grocery store lately
[00:22:03.530]and tried to find dry ice?
[00:22:04.730]I mean, we've got so desperate,
[00:22:06.380]I actually looked up homemade dry ice recipes
[00:22:09.050]and you can do it with a pillow case
[00:22:10.740]and a type of fire extinguisher.
Just so you know.
[00:22:15.700]Just so the younger ones in here
[00:22:16.960]can try that when you get home.
[00:22:21.030]I have yet to try it yet
[00:22:22.220]I have been tempted at a time or two
[00:22:23.940]because we have struggled with dry ice.
[00:22:26.770]And I mean, and that's just it,
[00:22:28.070]when you start talking about logistics and storage
[00:22:30.160]and dry ice and shipping, I've got...
[00:22:31.650]I actually did bring our beef trailer here
[00:22:33.459]'cause I had to make some deliveries on the way.
[00:22:35.610]It's sitting outside for those
[00:22:36.940]that are interested in seeing that aspect of it
[00:22:38.970]because a refrigerator or storage,
[00:22:40.510]or where are you going to put all of this product?
[00:22:42.260]Or what about liability issues or traceability issues
[00:22:44.700]and blah, blah, blah.
[00:22:45.533]I mean the list is massive.
[00:22:47.010]Or insurance, or we found out life insurance.
[00:22:50.270]I mean, there's so many factors to these trademarks.
[00:22:53.830]I mean, good heavens.
[00:22:56.360]So I mean, I would love say as the parents say,
[00:22:58.860]it is unicorns and roses, but it is not.
[00:23:01.560]And it is more than a full-time job.
[00:23:04.550]But the thing is,
[00:23:06.080]and I can tell you right now,
[00:23:07.810]our business is hardly breaking even.
[00:23:10.810]But the thing is,
[00:23:11.900]to see people eating your product is amazing.
[00:23:15.180]It is so, so neat and has changed how we run a ranch too.
[00:23:18.940]It's changed how I feed our cattle.
[00:23:20.750]It's changed our what we do when we take them to a feed lot.
[00:23:24.130]We have a background lot similar to these guys,
[00:23:26.350]but I found out really quick I hate to finish out cattle
[00:23:30.160]because there's a lot of days in the summer
[00:23:31.510]I was having to feed cattle
[00:23:32.343]and I did not want to be feeding cattle.
[00:23:34.250]So instead we work with a great feedlot.
[00:23:36.850]You guys might,
[00:23:37.683]if you're traveling to Alliance on highway two,
[00:23:39.700]they have the bison on the north side of the road.
[00:23:41.950]We were actually their first beef customer.
[00:23:44.500]But they let us go in,
[00:23:45.610]we can sort off what we need,
[00:23:46.870]we use all of their facilities.
[00:23:48.190]I just text them and say,
[00:23:49.023]"I'm gonna be there tomorrow."
[00:23:49.856]And they go, "you know where everything's at.
[00:23:51.050]You do what you want to do."
[00:23:52.410]We don't re-vac, we don't reimplant going into a feedlot.
[00:23:56.500]They let us get away with that
[00:23:58.090]and a lot of feeders don't.
[00:23:59.210]We also take them to a certain weight.
[00:24:01.060]I found out I was feeding cattle 250 to 300 pounds heavier
[00:24:04.210]than I should have been based off the yields.
[00:24:06.100]So it really has changed how we've,
[00:24:08.510]how we're finishing out our cattle
[00:24:09.877]and how we're marketing now.
[00:24:11.370]So, I mean, yeah, I highly encourage it,
[00:24:14.030]but be prepared it's not gonna be those roses and unicorns.
[00:24:18.350]And even things just to kind of add on that
[00:24:20.257]and you can touch on this for some more
[00:24:23.050]of the maybe difficulties that you had
[00:24:26.130]kind of jumping into this business,
[00:24:27.630]but even getting your own label for your product.
[00:24:30.610]So if you're not just using what the processing plant has,
[00:24:33.800]there's very, very stringent regulations
[00:24:36.400]on what has to be included in the label
[00:24:38.690]and branding in terminology that can be used.
[00:24:42.480]So kind of with that,
[00:24:44.800]and just with some of the comments you made,
[00:24:46.940]did you guys, some of the struggles I guess,
[00:24:49.240]that you guys have had jumping into it
[00:24:52.040]or things that you've learned from bumps in the road?
[00:24:55.620]Yeah, well, the label part.
[00:24:58.830]So we do something different.
[00:25:00.780]Right away I wanted to stand out in the freezer,
[00:25:03.090]but I was only thinking local,
[00:25:04.720]like just take it home and put it in your freezer.
[00:25:06.920]So we went with a red butcher paper
[00:25:08.640]and I have everything wrapped
[00:25:09.710]because it's kind of funny how you take people back
[00:25:12.470]to the day they were raised.
[00:25:14.320]You know, it's nostalgic to them,
[00:25:15.670]so they want to be part of it again.
[00:25:17.620]And so that's I think
[00:25:18.670]why the meatball recipe works really well.
[00:25:20.750]And another thing that we did
[00:25:21.810]that I didn't think about sharing at first,
[00:25:23.360]but we are licensed to grill our food at farmer's markets.
[00:25:27.430]And so there is nothing better
[00:25:29.300]than the first year we did samples.
[00:25:30.870]We'd grill right on the spot and hand out samples
[00:25:33.220]and people will buy it.
[00:25:34.420]Well now they're just coming to eat our food
[00:25:36.840]and they're loading up their bag on the way out the door.
[00:25:39.780]So either way we're moving products.
[00:25:41.380]So another way to move your grind.
[00:25:42.810]Another way to move things that you're like,
[00:25:44.897]"gosh, nobody wants to buy a short rib." or something.
[00:25:47.290]You know, you can get rid of it.
[00:25:49.110]You just gotta be really creative.
[00:25:51.450]But yes, our labeling with the plant.
[00:25:54.440]A lot of it is again, consumer education too,
[00:25:56.790]because they're used to going to the store
[00:25:58.540]so everything is cut, you know,
[00:26:00.380]the way they fabricate meat for the stores
[00:26:01.213]and so they're not getting that with a small processor.
[00:26:06.320]So again, consumer education, because I've had people like,
[00:26:09.127]"well, my bacon was a little salty."
[00:26:10.610]I'm like, "I apologize,
[00:26:11.870]but actually in real life,
[00:26:13.200]every animal is going to absorb and cure differently."
[00:26:17.460]You know, we're not raising complete commercial bread hogs
[00:26:21.320]across the board.
[00:26:23.010]And then they might get a sirloin package
[00:26:25.450]that one steak was thicker than the other
[00:26:28.050]because it was the end.
[00:26:29.420]Well, they would throw that away into the grind
[00:26:32.260]and they're not going to do that at this packing plant
[00:26:33.943]because they want you to have the steak.
[00:26:36.320]So it was just again,
[00:26:37.220]reminding people how that works.
[00:26:39.270]And also with the labels are
[00:26:42.850]you wanna call a tenderloin steak in our locker.
[00:26:44.970]Well, people don't know what that is.
[00:26:46.630]So if you tell them it's a filet then they're like,
[00:26:48.187]"oh okay, now I need seven packages. Thank you."
[00:26:51.440]So it's just,
[00:26:53.440]you know, just working through all those kinds of things.
[00:26:57.580]Yeah in our case, the plant that we deal with,
[00:27:00.510]they fortunately had the label makers there and everything
[00:27:03.100]so they did all of that for us.
[00:27:04.550]So we had to do was send them our logo,
[00:27:06.130]but you're exactly right.
[00:27:07.300]I mean the quality control is tough.
[00:27:11.440]And we found that when we actually tried another plant too,
[00:27:13.823]because we wanted to run cattle out at two different plants,
[00:27:17.090]this plant was significantly closer to us,
[00:27:19.510]we had like $900 worth of product loss off of five head
[00:27:23.060]that we took down there
[00:27:23.893]because the packaging was too thin on their VacPack.
[00:27:26.780]And so it's like, "oh their labels were crooked."
[00:27:29.360]I mean, that is one great thing about the colony
[00:27:33.080]that is running the Westcliffe plant.
[00:27:34.760]You know, our labels are on there pitch perfect straight,
[00:27:36.780]but it's those little tiny, minor details
[00:27:39.470]that you don't think about.
[00:27:40.470]Or you know, you want a steak that's cut an inch thick
[00:27:44.160]and you have one plant that cuts at 7/8
[00:27:45.980]and you have one plant that cuts it a legit inch.
[00:27:48.110]I mean, those start to add up over time,
[00:27:50.550]whether it's in product loss
[00:27:51.940]or also in consumer comeback.
[00:27:54.638]And I think that's one of the biggest things
[00:27:57.000]that probably one of the struggles that we had.
[00:27:59.330]The other struggle I think on the production side
[00:28:02.274]is the quality of beef.
[00:28:05.800]And what I mean by that is our plant,
[00:28:08.660]we can pay to have a grader come out up from,
[00:28:12.480]I believe she's in New Mexico,
[00:28:13.810]and she can come up and grade prime choice,
[00:28:16.220]et cetera, whatnot.
[00:28:17.960]So at first we were selling prime
[00:28:20.210]and we were selling choice on our website.
[00:28:22.110]Surprisingly, we hardly had anybody that went to prime.
[00:28:25.300]And I think one of the reasons being is that price point
[00:28:28.150]makes a huge difference,
[00:28:29.580]you know, on prime and choice.
[00:28:31.320]But if you start talking to consumers in a grocery store
[00:28:34.020]to ask them,
[00:28:34.853]"Do you really know what the difference is
[00:28:36.180]between a prime, choice, select, standard?"
[00:28:38.190]They have no clue, it's just a name.
[00:28:40.760]So instead one of the things that we did about two years ago
[00:28:44.930]is we have a partnership with Neogen.
[00:28:47.750]Not for sure if you're familiar with Neogen.
[00:28:49.570]It's a genomics company that's based in Lincoln,
[00:28:52.360]they do genomic testing.
[00:28:54.000]They actually do 16 different parameters
[00:28:56.100]in their igentity program.
[00:28:57.570]We specifically choose now
[00:28:59.160]based off of one alone for our beef program
[00:29:01.690]and that is tenderness.
[00:29:03.130]We want to be able to market our cattle
[00:29:05.200]that are in the top quarter on that tenderness gene alone.
[00:29:08.450]So these cattle that we have on feed right now,
[00:29:10.740]they've been through the Neogen's genomic program.
[00:29:14.030]These cattle also have Bluetooth sensors
[00:29:16.050]implanted into their necks.
[00:29:17.770]It's a partnership with an Australian company
[00:29:19.770]that we're working with because we want to be able to get
[00:29:22.030]the health data on those animals at all time.
[00:29:24.070]We want to know what their temperature is,
[00:29:26.220]what their blood pressure is,
[00:29:27.280]what their heart rate is.
[00:29:28.590]You know, are they eating?
[00:29:30.030]Are they moving?
[00:29:31.270]Does GPS on them too.
[00:29:32.800]And the reason being is because we want to see
[00:29:34.920]how these cattle are actually performing.
[00:29:37.520]And then what we did is we had a company called Plain Sight
[00:29:41.110]based out of Texas that came in
[00:29:42.590]and they did facial recognition of these steers.
[00:29:45.530]So they came in and did biometric algorithms
[00:29:47.740]on these cattle too.
[00:29:48.660]I mean, I know this is way out there,
[00:29:50.700]but I mean, you talk about 10, 15 years
[00:29:52.970]down the road in the industry
[00:29:54.100]and to let you know,
[00:29:55.250]one of the biggest packing plants
[00:29:56.790]in the U.S. is already doing biometric algorithms.
[00:30:00.210]They're already doing facial recognition on cattle.
[00:30:02.440]I don't know if you're aware of this or not,
[00:30:03.820]but they use it for inventory control
[00:30:06.170]because they found out their workers,
[00:30:07.480]they get put to a certain number
[00:30:08.820]and then they have problems counting past anymore
[00:30:11.740]and so they're finding out that computers are rarely wrong.
[00:30:14.010]So this stuff is already in place
[00:30:15.750]in some of the biggers now,
[00:30:17.240]it's just us to find where we can have a niche for them.
[00:30:19.610]And then what we did is we put these cattle on blockchain
[00:30:22.400]and I'm not going to sit here and try to explain blockchain
[00:30:25.980]because I will come across
[00:30:27.860]as a really dumb blond in this case.
[00:30:29.367]And it's going to go over my head
[00:30:30.472]if I'm gonna honest.
And it's going to go-
[00:30:31.693]It's so far over my head,
[00:30:33.700]but that's what we're working on right now.
[00:30:35.610]And so, I mean, at the end of the day,
[00:30:38.500]there's so many things that you see because if a consumer...
[00:30:41.720]Well, first off, they'll look at that price,
[00:30:43.690]they'll look at what that product looks like,
[00:30:45.650]and then they'll cook that up.
[00:30:47.040]If you can get them to the point where they cook it,
[00:30:48.690]you better dang well make sure
[00:30:50.020]that it's a tender good product on their plates
[00:30:51.950]or they'll never come back.
[00:30:53.360]And then that's I think the biggest struggle
[00:30:55.190]is how do you ensure without a shadow of doubt
[00:30:57.660]that that's the best product
[00:30:58.700]that you can put on their plate?
[00:31:00.380]We're trying to figure that out.
[00:31:03.210]Tenderness consistently rates as the highest
[00:31:06.590]consumer cared about trait when it comes to beef.
[00:31:09.720]So that's interesting that you talk about that.
[00:31:12.010]A lot of my grad school research was on tenderness.
[00:31:14.370]So hit a soft spot for me.
[00:31:16.395]Any other questions from the audience?
[00:31:20.050]When you're selling direct to consumers,
[00:31:22.240]do you have a hard time explaining to them
[00:31:25.730]why that rib-eyes steak costs $50 a pound
[00:31:29.630]and ground beef or chuck costs $3 a pound.
[00:31:33.560]Because some people think that a steer is all ribeye steaks.
[00:31:40.450]So question was explaining the differences
[00:31:43.060]in price of a ribeye versus ground beef
[00:31:46.600]to consumers and just getting that message across.
[00:31:51.950]Yeah I can hit on that a little bit.
[00:31:53.280]It's not so much the difference between the pricing
[00:31:56.160]it's they can't understand why you can't make a whole steer
[00:31:58.540]give you rib-eyes and nothing else.
[00:32:01.410]We would love to, if anybody in this room,
[00:32:03.490]I know there's a lot of intelligent people in this room,
[00:32:05.470]but if anybody could figure out how to do that,
[00:32:07.300]I would pay big bucks for it
[00:32:08.730]because I mean, that's exactly it.
[00:32:10.473]I think it's not so much that,
[00:32:12.477]but the biggest difference issue in price
[00:32:15.650]is trying to compare it
[00:32:16.990]to grocery store pricing and retail pricing.
[00:32:19.770]If you can get them on that product.
[00:32:23.330]somebody asked me what our favorite cuts were.
[00:32:25.150]I'll be all ground beef and our chuck roast.
[00:32:26.780]Those are my two favorites because I can't find anything
[00:32:29.570]in the grocery store comparable to what I'm trying to sell.
[00:32:33.370]Now, so if I can get them on that,
[00:32:35.610]now there's a place definitely
[00:32:36.900]in retail for that cheaper pricing
[00:32:38.470]and for those people want that.
[00:32:39.670]And I'll never say don't go to a grocery store
[00:32:41.990]and not buy beef because no matter what,
[00:32:44.030]we all need to be buying beef.
[00:32:45.740]But I can say,
[00:32:46.573]"Here, try this and see if you like the taste of this
[00:32:49.670]maybe better than what you're getting in the grocery store."
[00:32:52.410]You know, even though that's,
[00:32:54.150]I see Ann Marie's in the back of the room
[00:32:55.620]with the beef council and that was
[00:32:56.700]probably not the right thing to say,
[00:32:58.440]but I mean, that's still at the end of the day,
[00:33:00.470]we still want to push our product.
[00:33:01.900]So it's not so much the price points between the difference,
[00:33:05.299]you kind of try to break it down and you teach them,
[00:33:08.320]these are the cuts you can get from a beef.
[00:33:10.070]We can't turn a New York into a ribeye.
[00:33:12.940]You know, we can't turn a chuck roast into a round roast,
[00:33:15.860]but you know, this is what other cuts you can get from.
[00:33:19.000]You know, we talk a lot about the flat iron.
[00:33:20.730]We talk a lot about our skirt steaks.
[00:33:22.220]You know, these are our London broils.
[00:33:24.060]I mean, these are some cuts that we can,
[00:33:25.770]we do certain times of the year
[00:33:27.600]that we can maybe adjust a cut just a little in it.
[00:33:30.120]It's really good for the consumers to understand.
[00:33:36.780]Could you guys discuss what you do
[00:33:37.750]with your drop of your hides, organ meat?
[00:33:40.446]Hides, organ meat,
[00:33:42.490]what you guys do at the drop.
[00:33:44.440]And maybe that's something that happens at the plant.
[00:33:46.553]That is more of their decision.
[00:33:49.250]Yeah, for us it's the plant's decision,
[00:33:51.390]but we do take our liver and heart and tongue from the beef
[00:33:55.450]and liver from the pork,
[00:33:56.810]because there's a high demand for pork liver where we're at
[00:33:59.570]for all the Germans.
[00:34:01.520]So we just price it to sell.
[00:34:03.890]We don't try to make anything off of it.
[00:34:05.610]I suppose we could,
[00:34:06.443]if you wanted to dabble into the raw dog food market,
[00:34:09.530]but that's a whole nother thing
[00:34:11.310]that maybe we'll work into later.
[00:34:14.790]Yeah the plant does take the hides.
[00:34:16.510]The (indistinct) we can request it at processing.
[00:34:19.170]Truthfully the thing we're always almost always
[00:34:21.340]sold out of is oxtail and tongues.
[00:34:23.610]I have yet to cook a tongue recipe.
[00:34:25.710]I've just can't quite do it yet.
[00:34:29.270]I've heard a lot of great things about it,
[00:34:30.800]but those are the two that,
[00:34:32.750]I mean, we're always sold out of.
[00:34:34.940]We do do knuckle bone, soup bones.
[00:34:37.120]We actually include them in a number of our packs.
[00:34:39.410]We have people that really utilize those a lot.
[00:34:42.430]Same thing, I don't cook with them myself truthfully,
[00:34:44.770]unless it's microwaveable, I hardly cook with it at all.
[00:34:47.060]But I mean,
[00:34:48.201]it's nice to have some of those options.
[00:34:50.130]We've talked to some dog food,
[00:34:52.300]some pet stores over in Cherry Creek,
[00:34:54.630]and they're interested in the bones.
[00:34:56.310]It's just a matter of having not enough hours in the day
[00:35:00.100]at this point to get that all figured out.
[00:35:03.410]And something I can add on that.
[00:35:05.010]I've gotten a number of questions about that this summer,
[00:35:07.760]that a lot of small processors
[00:35:09.830]do have trouble with that drop credit.
[00:35:12.460]You know, big packing plants,
[00:35:13.870]they have enough inventory that they are actually
[00:35:16.750]making a lot of money on that drop
[00:35:18.940]because there's a use for it
[00:35:20.460]when you have the numbers for it.
[00:35:22.300]But small plants that are doing, you know,
[00:35:24.540]maybe 10 head a day are oftentimes paying for rendering.
[00:35:28.130]It ends up actually being a very big expense.
[00:35:30.370]So that was good question.
[00:35:32.080]Any other questions?
[00:35:36.670]One more thing I guess I'll add and ask you guys is,
[00:35:41.430]you know, getting into these things,
[00:35:43.370]whether it just be freezer space or that packaging
[00:35:46.270]or your marketing advertising,
[00:35:47.730]there can be some decent expense with that.
[00:35:51.080]Were you able to find any grant programs,
[00:35:54.550]any sponsors from organizations in the state or country
[00:35:59.500]or any just kind of small business support through that.
[00:36:04.300]And maybe you didn't have any experience working with that,
[00:36:06.690]but anything that you looked into for those?
[00:36:10.950]Well, I've done some looking,
[00:36:12.180]but we have never done any going after it
[00:36:14.640]because I have never cut enough time in my day
[00:36:17.200]to actually fill out a grant application.
[00:36:20.170]The one USDA one was like 50 pages
[00:36:21.003]and it was like the week before it was due.
[00:36:25.020]So avoided that, we have just purely managed our finances
[00:36:30.240]solely through hard work and self discipline
[00:36:34.310]to get to where we are and just keep,
[00:36:37.180]you know, working on our margins.
[00:36:39.030]That's all we've done so far.
[00:36:42.860]Yeah the one thing that we did is
[00:36:45.140]so we set up the business separate from our ranch.
[00:36:47.730]So I'm a fifth generation producer
[00:36:49.620]and that's where we're pulling all our cattle from
[00:36:51.400]is between my dad and my elite partner on our cattle.
[00:36:53.770]And so the business is buying the cattle from the ranch.
[00:36:57.390]Fortunately, my dad and I,
[00:36:58.900]we were both were in agreement that this beef business
[00:37:01.940]at first was a good thing. You know?
[00:37:03.950]I mean, his opinion might've changed since then.
[00:37:06.350]I haven't asked him yet for sure,
[00:37:08.010]but I think one of the things that saved us is that
[00:37:11.470]you know, we were able to process these cattle
[00:37:13.490]and start marketing these cattle before Dad or I said,
[00:37:15.877]"Hey, can you get us paid for these cattle?"
[00:37:17.970]And so we didn't do anything.
[00:37:19.770]We looked at a grant once this last year
[00:37:23.000]and it was for a...
[00:37:24.640]I think it was for a women in production grant,
[00:37:29.650]but you had to have already be in business for so long
[00:37:32.660]and so it kind of just took us out for another year.
[00:37:34.930]But I think that's something we really want to look to
[00:37:37.310]because there is,
[00:37:38.260]it is so high cost and there's a lot of toys
[00:37:40.930]that we want to buy for the business
[00:37:42.920]and really don't want to go to the bank
[00:37:44.970]and ask them for it quite yet.
[00:37:48.040]Time for one more audience question, if anybody's got one.
[00:37:55.720]Okay the last thing then that I am going to ask is
[00:37:59.630]where in the next year to five years,
[00:38:03.340]what is kind of your growth goal?
[00:38:06.040]Where do you guys see yourself going?
[00:38:08.040]We've just got a couple minutes left.
[00:38:09.450]So just to kind of wrap it up,
[00:38:11.540]where do you see yourself growing with it?
[00:38:14.920]I don't know if you heard,
[00:38:15.753]but yesterday they sold a picture of a rock
[00:38:17.450]on Blockchain for 1.3 million.
[00:38:20.510]And so Blockchain I think for us
[00:38:22.750]is probably kind of starting to look like the future
[00:38:24.880]in how we're going to market our product
[00:38:26.780]or some of our products.
[00:38:29.290]We're fortunate in the company
[00:38:30.820]that's developing the program.
[00:38:32.010]They're actually doing built-in royalties,
[00:38:33.560]which doesn't make any sense to me
[00:38:34.393]because I don't understand if you eat at all
[00:38:36.660]and it's all gone, how can you still be making money on it?
[00:38:39.180]But that's what they're trying to do with it.
[00:38:41.720]So we're going to be doing a lot more of Blockchain,
[00:38:44.510]a lot more traceability, a lot more genomic testing.
[00:38:47.340]We'd really like if there's any university people
[00:38:49.640]here in the room that has grad students that want a project,
[00:38:52.460]we'd really like to do sheer testing
[00:38:54.850]against our genomic testing on this group
[00:38:56.960]of feedlot steers to see if it compares
[00:38:58.730]with environmental differences in there.
[00:39:02.160]I think that's something that we really want to pursue
[00:39:04.520]is that side of it.
[00:39:07.030]And of course, growth, you know,
[00:39:08.240]we've had, now we're getting to the point
[00:39:10.200]where having meat marketers come
[00:39:12.450]and visit with us about marketing our product.
[00:39:15.070]We've had conversations with just two of them in the last
[00:39:17.500]week and continue to push those inventory numbers.
[00:39:21.590]And unfortunately probably bring in a middleman
[00:39:24.240]to help us market some of those.
[00:39:25.960]They've got the ways to go about doing it.
[00:39:27.900]And so I think those are kind of where we're looking at.
[00:39:30.570]You know, even though it's been a hell of a lot of struggle
[00:39:33.060]this last year with losing a partner
[00:39:34.780]and everything else and just going through the marketplace,
[00:39:38.040]you know, I think we love it.
[00:39:40.150]I mean, it's so cool to know about your product
[00:39:44.070]and where it came from
[00:39:44.903]and it's made us better managers
[00:39:47.430]and producers and from the ground up.
[00:39:52.370]Oh, I think from our standpoint
[00:39:54.300]is just keep building from where we're at, keep expanding.
[00:39:57.620]If I could expand our shipping and figure that piece out,
[00:40:01.200]that would be really great as well.
[00:40:03.570]But to be able to do that,
[00:40:04.740]we also have to have enough inventory.
[00:40:06.340]We purchased a building that has a walk-in freezer.
[00:40:09.470]So, you know, we're expanding there.
[00:40:11.330]I think we've decided if we can mark it,
[00:40:13.420]probably the entire calf crops through our business,
[00:40:17.210]that would be our goal.
[00:40:18.210]And of course I would love to be self-employed.
[00:40:21.260]Not that I don't like working for other people,
[00:40:23.590]but you know, self-employment has its perks as well.
[00:40:26.760]So I don't know, you have anything to add?
[00:40:32.320]Eventually I'd like to just finish everything,
[00:40:34.340]run it all through the business.
[00:40:37.140]When we started this,
[00:40:38.250]it was a really good way to get rid of a pinkeye calf.
[00:40:40.940]Or if you had one that was a little late
[00:40:43.270]that was gonna, you know,
[00:40:44.560]get sold off at the sale barn
[00:40:46.170]and lose three 400 bucks on him
[00:40:48.210]and go to the exact same guy
[00:40:49.190]that bought the rest of your cattle.
[00:40:51.530]We brought all those home, we finished them
[00:40:53.790]and that's kinda how this whole deal started.
[00:40:56.420]Now I'm looking at is I don't have to hedge cattle.
[00:40:59.260]I don't have to worry about what they're gonna bring.
[00:41:03.631]We're gonna market them all this way,
[00:41:04.680]we know what they're gonna bring.
[00:41:06.170]It's a fixed deal on the end
[00:41:08.730]and so I can figure this stuff out in between.
[00:41:11.700]I'll figure out how to raise them
[00:41:12.620]cheap enough to make money.
[00:41:14.000]If I know what the end is right now,
[00:41:15.690]it's all up in the air as far as the calf crops.
[00:41:18.590]So that's my goal,
[00:41:19.730]is eventually getting them all marketed that way.
[00:41:23.630]And I'm going to continue to capitalize on the need
[00:41:25.980]for people's pre-made meatballs.
That's my other thing,
[00:41:29.350]if I can figure out how to land
[00:41:31.710]wholesale accounts in grocery stores
[00:41:33.930]with Nebraska raised beef and pork made meatballs?
[00:41:38.970]That's the dream.
[00:41:40.130]You know, in a few years,
[00:41:41.180]every Hy-Vee in Nebraska, Setting D meatballs.
[00:41:44.440]You know, that's where you guys are gonna see.
[00:41:46.300]Well thank you so much for joining us today,
[00:41:48.960]sharing your guys' perspective.
[00:41:50.630]I'm sure that they'd be open for questions
[00:41:52.960]throughout the day and I know Jaclyn said her trailers here.
[00:41:56.290]If anybody kind of wants to see
[00:41:58.290]some of the marketing product that they have done.
[00:42:02.090]So thank you.
[00:42:03.160]Join me once more in thanking our panelists.
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