We started our weekend in bed, making cattle deals over coffee before 7:00am. If that doesn't sound appealing, cattle ranching might not be for you.
But for us... it's filled with excitement.
We found some more cattle that are a good fit for our current operation. Right now, we have been on the lookout for mostly steers (castrated young male cattle) that are within a reasonable driving distance, at a fair price, and come from a sound farm, and that are the breeds we desire. This exact calculation can be hard to land - it takes time to search them out.
This is important to us because we want to ensure we bring home healthy animals and can offer shares at a good value for our customers.
Out west, where most of the country's beef cattle are raised, there are various types of ranching operations:
Seedstock Operations: Maintaining a herd of purebred cattle based on improving genetics for a breed of cattle.
Cow-Calf Operations: Producing and growing cows (female cattle of breeding age), heifers (young female cattle), and bulls (intact males) for the purpose of food.
Backgrounders/Stockers Operations: These operations purchase calves around 6 months old from cow-calf operations & continue to raise them, usually on pastures, so they can forage and are grass fed until they reach near butcher weight.
Feedlot Operations: Once the calves reach near butcher weight with the stocker, they are transported to the feedlots to be finished either on grain or grass. Once they reach full weight, they will be sent for processing at a butcher facility.
At Dirigo Ranch, we essentially complete each of these steps (less seedstock at the moment) in a beef cattle's lifetime as our herd size is significantly smaller than those operations out west.
The benefits of a smaller herd are that we have increased oversight of the health and care of our cows. The downside is being able to supply the demand for local beef (which, thanks to our readers, is pretty good right now!).
This weekend, we solidified deals on multiple new cows to keep up with demand and start a breeding herd for continued sustainable production of local, ranch-raised beef. All of the new stock are fairly young, so we are going to have them here for some time before they are able to serve us - so until then, we serve them. We care for them, love them, and feed them the best ways we know how.
We are thrilled to be making progressive growth here and look forward to continuing to grow herd size so we can bring our beef to you!