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December 17, 2013

Pull this bitch and pop the clutch, time get this blog out of the barn…

I’ve just listened to about an hour or so of “Cows” with @Jerodmcdaniel on, the subject turned quickly to “grassfed hippie cows” so that puts me in a special place to offer some commentary, insight and general bullshit. To start with, I’m not far off ideologically from any of these guys. I’m a fourth generation wheat farmer from western Oklahoma. I grew up on a tractor, rollin over dirt like God intended, releasing carbon like a mofo. I went off to Oklahoma State and got me an Ag Econ degree, came back in 98 and started living the dream. The way they talk about alternative agriculture is the way I used that talk about it, that default dismissal of anything that isn’t corn/wheat/beans.

When I started farming, cattle were cheap and wheat was under the LDP price. I was the epitome of a price taker, good and F’n hard. I did what any real farmer does, just kept blowin and goin, tried no till, realized that we don’t get enough rain for soybeans, no matter what the glossy magazines say. My libertarianism led me to reading some Joel Salatin, who if y’all don’t know is a self made millionaire selling meat raised on rocky mountainsides in Virginia. So while I’m scraping together shitty wheat crops with ever higher inputs, some hillbilly accented yokel is raising meat in pastures, butchering some of it and delivering it, raking in that retail dollar plus another 40%, he was grossing 300k on 160 acres before he was even famous…


I’m listening. I’m really listening. I’m reading. I’m travelling. Virginia, Texas, Kansas, Mississippi. Having conversations (and beers) with people from Canada, South Africa and Argentina. It changed me. I’m not full hippy granola or anything, I mean, this house is sitting by 150 acres of GMO canola. But it did change the way I see the world, the way I see food as well as Ag. Disclaimer: A lot if this coincides with my wife getting to wine, and starting a winery. That shit will change the way you see things too. Anyways…

I threw out the feed the world propaganda. What is that to put on a prospective farmer? “Hey, we know it lots of work, capital investments and usually low margins, but the entire world is counting on you, so buy another tractor or some kids in a country you will never go to might starve to death!”

I got nothing against honest charity, but sell that shit somewhere else.

But I ramble.

I believe that grassfed is better. I raise em fat, try to get as much green grass and legumes in an as I can. There is science regarding Omega 3’s, I won’t get into that. If you wanna feed corn to cows who am I to argue? My people are wheat farmers, we have no emotional baggage about growing corn, feeding corn to cows, etc. With that said, my old man thinks I’m nuts most of the time. He does have some emotional baggage regarding hay, which is another topic.

In short, who am I? I’m a guy that has a fifteen hundred acres or so of cropland and pasture, mainly raises cow calf pairs, and runs homegrown stockers. Most of those stockers are sold through conventional channels, but every year a few more are held back and rotated through the best pastures I can get my hands on, to be sold as halves and quarters to soccer moms in the OKC metro area. I get a decent price, I usually average twice what the animal would be worth commercially. Fuck retail and that nonsense, soccer moms are more loyal anyways, and yes Jerod, they buy freezers and take the whole animal. The good old boy that doesn’t care about his food as long as it’s cheap? Hey buddy, the feeling is mutual. I could sell for more, but I’m cultivating these customers for that day when the prices go down again. Mine won’t. A lot of farmers get city jobs to help make ends meet, I sell meat to the city.


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