Summer has officially started, and my beef intern adventures are in full swing!
This summer, I'll be bringing you the "What's the Beef?" blog series as I travel around the state to highlight the farmers and ranchers who work behind-the-scenes to bring you a safe, quality and wholesome product. Farmers and ranchers are some of the hardest working people I know. Growing up on the farm and working next to my dad, I know this firsthand, which is why I can't wait to bring you "What's the Beef?"
My family's farm resides in the Southwest part of the state. So, I couldn't think of a better place to start this series. I traveled about 10 miles north and stopped at the Seifert farm to talk with Justin Seifert, a third-generation farmer.
Now, this is the part where I would insert a picture of the meal that we shared together while conversing...but having my wisdom teeth removed a week before, I didn't have enough time to mince my food. I'm looking forward to being able to eat beef again really soon!
When I got to the farm, it was not hard to tell that this was a family farm with all hands on deck. If you can picture, a six-year-old boy by the name of Porter, on a gator dragging the yard and loving every minute of it...well, then you pictured it right.
I wanted to start with getting to know more about the Seifert farm, so I asked Justin to give me a little history lesson. He said, "I'm a third generation farmer, it's in my blood. Both of my grandpas were farmers. My dad is a farmer and I have three children with hopes of one of them wanting to become the fourth generation."
"I'm a third generation farmer, it's in my blood. Both of my grandpas were farmers. My dad is a farmer and I have three children with hopes of one of them wanting to become the fourth generation."
He also stated, "I wouldn't be where I am today without the help and support of my family."
I think the building blocks of all good things start with family and you can tell that this holds true at the Seifert farm.
Justin and his wife, Samantha, have 3 kids; Porter - 6, McCoy - 4 and Rylan - 2. I asked Justin to share the most rewarding part about raising his kids on the farm. He said, "One of the most rewarding parts of raising my kids on the farm is when they get up in the morning. They're waiting for dad, ready and they want to go do chores. They get to learn so much being hands-on and getting to see how the farm operation works. From what we are doing with the cattle, how we are handling them or whatever we might be doing that day - they love to be part of it!"
"One of the most rewarding parts of raising my kids on the farm is when they get up in the morning. They're waiting for dad, ready and they want to go do chores [...] They love to be part of it!"
I could hear and see the excitement of being a part of the family farm when Porter asked me, "Hey do you want to come see my calf?"
All of the kids ran over to a little shed where their calf was housed and immediately hopped into the pen and started telling me all about it. The kids all help take care of this calf which Justin says also teaches them responsibility and work ethic.
Justin has about 3,000 head of cattle on feed. The breeds range from Angus to Holsteins. All of these cattle are house in monoslope barns, which is a style of barn that has a higher roof on the front side, which faces south, and slopes towards the back. There are no permanent front or back walls, but curtains along the back side that can be lowered for weather if need be. The cattle are fed twice a day with TMR (total mixed ration) feed.
Like every other job, there are some challenges that come with raising cattle. Justin says the most challenging part are "the unknowns every day, waking up you never know what's going to happen or when it's going to happen. Every day is different, which is good in a way."
But with great challenges also comes great reward, which Justin acknowledges. He says, "The most rewarding part is looking at the animals before we take them to harvest and trying to picture how they looked when they arrived, then taking a step back and looking to see how they look now and how our hard work and time has really paid off."
"The most rewarding part is looking at the animals before we take them to harvest and trying to picture how they looked when they arrived, then taking a step back and looking to see how they look now and how our hard work and time has really paid off. "
No one is a stranger to the events that have taken place in our world in the last six months and neither is Justin. During this pandemic, consumers have become more aware that the convenience of having beef on the shelves at all times relies on the farmer and entire food supply chain. With that being said, Justin wants consumers to know, "There is plenty of beef ready for the consumer. If you can't find it at your local grocery store, don't be afraid to call a local beef farmer. Anyone would be willing to help you find an avenue to get the beef you're looking for."
"I'm proud to be a Minnesota beef farmer because I like to work with cattle and strive to produce a safe and healthy product for not only my family but for many other families as well."
Cooking beef doesn't need to be scary. So, meet Chuck. Chuck Knows Beef will help you determine what cuts to buy when in the store and how to prepare it when home in your kitchen!