Out to Summer Pasture
Photo by Janice Cartwright

Yesterday I was able to attend a class about Growing Food Businesses sponsored by AERO. The day circulated around produce and Farmer’s Market opportunities. I’ve not been one to delve into Farmer’s Markets yet, but with our homegrown beef it is something we wanted to know more about. Additional information is almost always helpful for obvious reasons, but it also triggers new thoughts.

There’s something about being in certain groups of people that get your wheels turning. I didn’t know any of these folks and I won’t be seeing them regularly, but the energy present from a group of entrepreneurs certainly was fun. Being with others who want to create something new or use things they have to produce a product that will benefit others reminds me of the fact that we too are entrepreneurs.

I realize that as beef producers we aren’t classically seen as entrepreneurs, but really we are. The definition of entrepreneur is “someone who initiates or finances new commercial enterprises.” (Encarta Dictionary) Some don’t think of ranching as a commercial enterprise, but cattle are bought and sold as a business, so it classifies. Thinking about things in this way makes me want to mull over new ideas, see new perspectives, and dialogue about what’s been working and what hasn’t.

Since we are small scale, the idea we currently have implemented is selling beef directly to consumers. While this isn’t a new idea, what we finish them on isn’t average feed. Our beef are finished on natural forage. Last year they grazed on a cover crop of radishes, turnips, triticale, and sunflowers. When we do grain the steers, we give oats and barley. The cattle that grazed on the cover crop alone (without grain supplementation) gained an average of three pounds a day.

We love seeing things from different angles. It seems imperative to make it in our day and age. What about you? How would a new perspective shift your day? What new ideas can you implement?

Let’s not be afraid to try new things!


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