Admitting When Someone Else Can Do It Better

Admitting When Someone Else Can Do It Better

I'm so excited to share about a big change in Beauty and the Beef.

I'll just blurt it out, and then go back and tell you all the back story that led to this decision.

I've decided to make a foundational change within our operations! 

I will only be finishing 100% Grass Finished Beef here at our ranch 

And I've partnered with my good friends and respected ranchers, The Miller Family, to provide us with the Signature Light Grain Finish Beef. 

Now let me tell you what led me to this decision.

Last summer it became clear I needed to make a change. I finished 18 head of cattle via our light grain finish, which was more than I had ever done at a time before. Which meant having more grain around.

We really aren't set up to store grain (we don't have any grain bins or even the fancy grain feeders). But what we do have is a lot of bears. So, I had to keep my grain storage area electric fenced off to keep the bears out. And it worked, I didn't have any bears in the grain itself, but the bears were coming into and around my yard area storing the grain. Which as you can imagine is problematic - the ol "check for bears before you go outside" routine.

The bears were also dining with the cows out in the field....there were numerous sightings of the bears jumping in the grain troughs out in the fields and eating the grain that was intended for my "pretty girls" as I called last year's bunch of cattle. 

Luckily, we didn't have any bear attacks (on people or animals!). But it was weighing on me that feeding my cows grain didn't feel sustainable long term. 

The other thing is that I have a hard time sourcing the grain I'd ideally want to have. I am in cattle country, not grain country, so it's hard to get exactly what I would want in terms of quality of grain. 

Lastly, logistically, I had to always keep my grain cattle separate from my grass cattle, which isn't the end of the world. But at the end of the day, it meant I was rotationally grazing 2 herds of cattle meaning double the work. 

All of these points sent me on a search to find a solution to my "problem". I have a lot of customers that choose the signature light grain finish (meaning the cattle stay out on pasture their entire life and just get supplemented with a light grain ration in the last few months before harvest) and I want to be able to continue offering that. 

I also knew I had to find an operation that raises their cattle the same way I do, a family I felt comfortable putting my stamp of approval on. 

Here's my criteria that needed to be met:

- no hormones

- no antibiotics

- the grain needed to be corn free, soy free, and GMO free

- the cattle need to meet my "light grain finish" criteria, meaning they stay out on pasture their entire life, primarily eating forage, and are just being supplemented with grain

- I preferred a small, family ran cattle operation 

- I hoped for kids to be involved in raising the cattle, as kids naturally bring so much joy and love to the animals

- And I needed the whole thing to "gut check", to know I was working with good people who would do right by the animals and do right by my customers

And you know what, I found a family that literally checks each and every one of those boxes! A total needle in the haystack, and frankly a blessing from God, which told me I had found the perfect family. 

I'm so excited to introduce the Miller Family to you!
Meet the Miller's! For more than 100 years, the Millers have called Hill County (Montana) home and farming and ranching their way of life. The family arrived in the Havre and Gildford area to begin their homestead in the early 1900s. Today, the 4th and 5th generations are still farming and ranching this land while training up the 6th generation pictured above. 

Dale Miller and his sons Justin and Jared share the same deep respect and appreciation for the land as their forbearers. Animal husbandry is part of the family's heritage - Dale's grandfather even rode in the same railcar headed West as the family's milk cow to keep her calm on their move to Montana. In the early years, the Millers raised both cattle and hogs to sell to their neighbors and provide meat for their own family. 

Today, their family runs a herd of 100 Simmental cows. The Millers began breeding Simmental cattle in the 1970's and they now have a highly respected breeding program, selling their bulls as breeding stock to other ranchers across the country. 

The Simmental cattle are gentle natured and well suited to the North Central Montana climate. The Millers feed their cattle hay that they have put up themselves along with a grain ration that they have farmed themselves. They feed a ration of small grains and pulses that is all corn free, soy free, and GMO free.

The Millers are happy to be partnering with me, saying "By partnering with Beauty and the Beef, Miller Simmental will reach more people who want quality food from well-treated animals and will be able to continue the proud tradition of feeding our neighbors with Montana born, raised, and harvested beef". 
Miller Simmental pairs graze over the summer months North of Gildford near the Milk River Breaks
Piper, Justin's daughter, with her 4-H steer which is one of the Miller family's home raised steers. The steers I will be offering through Beauty and the Beef are raised alongside the kid's 4-H steers, getting the same love and attention from the kids! 

Rye, Justin's son, with another home raised 4-H steer. They sure are handsome, aren't they!

Rye, having fun with his steer :) 

Horse teams are pictured in front of the barn at Dale Miller's grandmother's family homestead.

I'm thrilled to be partnering with the Miller's and I have complete confidence in their operations and the quality of beef we will be offering you. 

If you have any thoughts or questions, I'd love to hear them! 

The Miller cattle will be in my Summer Harvest, coming soon. Stay tuned for more details, pre-sales will open in April and the beef will be shipping out in August. 

Your Rancher,
Anna from Montana

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