I am the third generation on our family ranch in Helmville, Montana. Our family has been operating our ranch with diligent care through each generation. We are a small ranching operation, which means that we are able to carefully tend to each acre of land and to each animal that we raise here.
Anna on Fancy, photo credit: Sara Chamberlin
Ensuring regenerative practices are used on the ranch is so important to us. We feel that as ranchers, our primary call to duty is to be stewards of the land. Afterall, if we are good to the land then we know the land will be good to us and will provide a healthy ecosystem. To us, that healthy ecosystem isn’t just for us and our livestock, but also for the wildlife and the countless number of species that frequent the ranch. We feel that finding a way to live in harmony with what is naturally intended to be here is part of our calling in being land stewards. We have a healthy population of native trout species in the creek that has been restored on our ranch to prevent erosion and build a healthy streambed for the fish to flourish in. We have elk, deer, mountain lions, wolves, black bears, grizzly bears, coyotes, fox, geese, ducks, birds of every variety, beavers, otters, sandhill cranes, blue herons, rock chucks, and the list could go on and on. This wide variety of animals are all part of creating a diverse and healthy ecosystem. Each species plays a part in the grazing/eating of the habitat and also a very important part in improving the soil health. We rotationally graze our cattle and our horses to help nourish and restore our ground, all of which is part of our regenerative approach to ranching. We want this ranch to be sustainable to be passed down for agricultural purposes for many generations to come.
We strive to be as natural as possible on our ranch. For example, we have chosen to not use any store bought chemicals for fertilizing. Rather we spread the livestock manure on our fields to naturally fertilize. We have gravity fed water systems to prevent the need to pump water for our livestock, which helps to reduce fuel usage. We also practice flood irrigating on the ranch which is a no fuel usage method of irrigating. As being aligned with nature in every way we can, we do not subscribe to labeling of “all natural” or “organic”, etc. I’ve done a lot of research and have consistently found that when reading the fine print of the details for the labeling, there is always something that would surprise, and even disappoint, you in there. For that reason, we have focused on doing what is right for the environment and what is right for the animals and not put our resources into specific labeling. I can assure you that each animal is raised to the quality of what we would eat ourselves and feed to our own family!
We lovingly care for our herd of cattle. During calving season we carefully monitor each momma to do our best to ensure everything goes smoothly and each baby has a good start to life. We are very fortunate and most years we have a 100% success rate during calving season, which is rare and we are proud of it! We value raising our cattle with respect and integrity, not only for the benefit of the animal but also for our own health through the beef that we eat. We know that quality of the end product of beef starts when that animal is born and in the way that it is raised from day 1.
Our cattle are all pasture raised. They graze in the Montana mountains and on the lush green pastures of the valley ground. They are always in wide open spaces with ample forage and clean water. I am a big believer that happy cows = delicious beef, and ensuring the cattle are always in a healthy environment is big part of them being happy.
Our cattle are grass-fed and pasture raised throughout their entire life. We have the option of a 100% grass finish or we also have a 6 week grain-finish option. The cattle remain on pasture during the 6 weeks of graining. We do a low poundage of daily grain in addition to the forage they are eating. My grandfather was a butcher (in fact, there is a long line of butchers in my family - check Our Story out to learn more!) and he is the one who taught us this method of finishing cattle. He saw thousands of animals go across the line and this was his preferred way to finish an animal. To me, I really like the increased flavor that the grain gives, along with the tenderness, juiciness, and flavor. The marbling of the animal really changes in those 6 weeks of grain and, in my opinion, that translates into the quality of the meat that you eat. As the animal stays on primarily forage the whole time (small amounts of grain), it retains most of the same health benefits that you see in grass-finished versus grain-finished cattle. We are proud to be able to offer both the grass finished and the grain finished options so you can choose what the best fit for your family is!
We sell our beef in bulk so we can honor each animal. We feel called to give our cattle the best possible life while they are here with us. And in return, our cattle give us the ultimate gift of nourishment through their nutrient dense meat. In order to properly honor that animal, we ensure that each cut of meat is utilized by selling bulk beef bundles. Meaning, each bundle of beef will have a variety of all the cuts in it. You'll get a variety of steaks, roasts, burger, and everything in between! We also offer organ meat, including liver, heart, tongue, and oxtail. To our ancestors, organ meat was the ultimate delicacy as they knew how nutrient dense these cuts are. We are proud to give you the opportunity to also enjoy the organ meat from the same animal you get your beef.
We also do our bulk beef seasonally to align with mother nature’s natural cycle throughout the year. Our Harvest's are timed when the cattle are in their natural prime condition, which makes all the difference! There is no doubt about it! It's just like eating fruit when it is in season - you'll taste the difference! It is really important to us that you have quality meat and the ability to connect directly to your food source, and for this reason we like to honor our Harvest's of our cattle through bulk beef bundle options.
If you have any specific questions about our ranching philosophy, please join our newsletter to learn more about the ranch happenings! You are also more than welcome to reach out with your questions at anytime. Our beef buyers become connected to this land and to these animals. You are woven into this ranching story and I will be transparent with you in all of our conversations!
Anna from Montana
Anna, at the butchering facility