Beef To Butcher - Farm to Fork Wyoming
Your. Support helps us bring you programs you love go. To Wyoming pbs.org. Click. On support and become, a sustaining, member or an annual member it's. Easy and secure, thank. You. As. All. Farmers, know you. Can have good ears and you can have bad ears like. How. In the hell do we pay for this. I've. Watched this business, become, so concentrated. Very. Efficient, you know we've got a really, efficient, system. And very cheap good Lord meets cheap. The. Prices have gone nothing, but up for the packer but, for, the cattle rancher I mean. Maybe, a slow steady rise but nothing, to, keep the branches in business. This. Commodity system, that America, is created as a small rancher it, doesn't work. What. If we could maintain control of the product throughout. Its cycle, from, birth to, play basically, and work. Toward a real, product, that is, indicative. Of why me and let wild and get the credit for. If. You create, a model, that's better, and still, put, some food on the table then it'll just take. Over naturally, and there's like people like won't resist it it just happens. Beef. To butcher, on this, farm-to-fork Wyoming. Funding. For farm-to-fork Wyoming, is provided, by viewers. Like you thank. You. In. The concentration. And. Specialization. Of the meat industry the. First, one the fall was the chickens, it hadn't, been that long ago I mean that was between, the, first and second world wars everybody, had farm flocks there was chickens everywhere so it was a little local. Kind. Of a meat. Economy. And what. Tyson, did was start buying. Those chickens, and and he, had a place that, would process them it close to a major city and so, he, got bigger and then he got bigger and then he started contracting. Chickens. And then he bought the chicken houses and then. He would. Supply him with the baby chicks and then he would supply them with the feed and pretty, soon he was totally integrated, he bought the processing, place and he marketed in himself and he had the trucks around him around so, it went from all these. Thousands. Tens of thousands of small flocks to, a more, concentrated, more concentrated, until now there's what, two or three companies that, owned about, all, the chicken, and egg things in, these huge houses, and it's. It's, it's, very very. Efficient. And, that's why eggs, and chicken are very, very. Cheap, so that was the first one to fall then the pigs came and, pigs could be worked on the same way and so of course we did it to, the extremes, pigs, got very. Cheap and now. The, bulk of the pork, that. Is the United States is I think it's Smithfield, now which is a Chinese, owned company so we've gone from, tens. Of thousands hundreds of thousands of pig producers, to. A couple and the, cattle, thing happened, to and I have was a part of that because what. I started, buying cattle with tons, and tons and tons of small producers and then those producers, got to be bigger. And bigger and less and less of them, then I went to Oklahoma. And, ran, a 25,000. Head feedlot. That, I expanded, the 50,000, head and. That's, that's. Big and that's, it, yeah. It. Ain't right but. It's very, very. Efficient. And it, makes for very consistent. Beef and. That's why you can go to a Walmart, in, 48.
States Probably. Fifty and get, a steak and it's gonna taste the same everywhere. And cheap. Today, I'm cheap that that that the rancher that cow producer. Is. Going pro he's. Not getting a return for his and that's where our wyoming, beef is right now because, of the system he's. At the mercy of just, a handful, of. Fruit. Of processors. And, they could really just well I'll give you this budget he's got no alternative, where else is he gonna sell. It. Is a political bad. Time you know and it's a it's a political, mass that, has been created by a bureaucracy, that doesn't. Understand what rule Wyoming, even looks like and. It's like the ranchers, are the guys that have three, jobs and then there's the, guys that are selling them were the guys were three houses like. That's I don't. Think that's right nobody's, questioning them, they're just okay. That's what the market is well why is it like like that it's, just is, I'm. In the Wyoming legislature, when, I find something that's popular with my constituents, that all of them do or all of them come from, that. Is a win-win. Where. Where, which white which, Wyoming, you know the senator, or or Montana. Senator or New Mexico Center, is going to raise a flag and say I'm, here to defend ranchers, so, that they there can be parity, and these. Ranches, stop disappearing, from the plains of of our western, states. Why. Do we do away, with country of origin labeling x' and, we. Allow all this you, know South, American, and Australian, beef to just flood in you. Know its supply and demand like we know what that is but, like why are we doing that you, know while they're just like they're chopping down rainforests, to make room for more grasslands. It's like I, don't. Know I'm, guessing it's politics. Farms. And ranches, are struggling and customers. Are also looking for a food system that supports, their needs and values, and. People in Boulder really. Haven't understand that you vote with your money and you vote every, day with what you eat there's, a growing, interest in the public to, have a very. Transparent, of food source that. Doesn't involve toxic. Pesticides. Or, herbicides or. Even. Commercial. Fertilizers. And I think on top of that folks like to know that they're supporting, small business. So. It's a living circle, and the evolving circle, that, needs to have that education attached. To the product that's going through that circle, to, be transparent, and to, be sustainable for everybody they want to know where their food comes, from they want to feel comfortable with it all, ideals, that consumers, have to be willing to pay for. When. My father came back from the Second World War in. 1946. He was, paying he, told me, 35. Percent of his income for. Food, now. I think the latest statistic, is under 8%, of what, we're paying, for food, a recent. USDA, survey, showed Americans. Spent an average of almost 10 percent of their disposable incomes. On food, nearly, half of that on eating out. And we. Are have, had government, policies, for years and years and years, to help cheap. A cheap food policy. It's. So easy, to, get what we consider. Food which, I. Don't. Know that a lot. Of the stuff that we're eating these days isn't I. Mean. Yeah, I mean would qualify as food, as much as it would qualify as poison. Where. We're at now in the beef marketing. Spectrum. There's, really a social experiment, of. Whether. People will, realize, that. There is enough, value, in. Knowing. Who. And how it is produced that, they will pay, to. Keep. That person on the land that's. Where you get back to ranches, working with slaughterhouses with friendships, and you know transparency. And Trust and all these old things that are grown in our roots in America I'd say let's, go back to that. Relationships. From, the ranch to, the slaughter and packing, plant and the local butcher and food artisan, we'd. Love to see you know some processors, within the state of Wyoming we have so many cattle but we're shipping them all out right.
Now We got jerod in Hudson and I think he's 90 days out if, you want to get some slaughtered you better get on the list and what. Happens, is then people. You. Know there is no alternative besides. Hauling. 3, or 400 miles, it's. What just like economically viable why is it so hard to bring animals. That we raised on our family's farm to, a plate in a restaurant to a plate in a family's home you, know why is that so hard it shouldn't be hard but, it is because of the different. Restrictions that USDA has put into slaughter because, usda. Policy favors. Big industry, over the small packer some, states have stepped in with their own inspection. Programs, and, we. Have a lot of of. Redundancy. In these laws so. There might be ways to really. Help. Them so that one. Good example is, what we got in Wyoming right now if you want to be a butcher, and start a slaughterhouse you. Can go for a custom, exam, status. This ensures, that the shop meets basic, sanitary, standards but. There is no inspector on site people, bring their beef in or, meet, it and. The. Animals are slaughtered and and. Cut up to their specifications but. It's for their use only, they, can't sell it it's a good basic service but. Doesn't allow the product to reach retail, and wholesale markets. The next step in then is state inspection, of state inspected, was, set up to be as good, as or, better than. USDA. Inspected. The, difference being if their USDA, inspected, it can go, intrastate. Over, state lines state. Inspected it's got to stay within the state so. If. We are indeed, as good as or better than USDA. Why. The devil can't we ship it over state lines so in, order to take our next step we. Have to have a change in federal law to. Allow for local, butchers to be able to do essentially, count as a USDA, qualified, butcher so, that's, why the the. Meat thing has not grown it's just that infrastructure. Right there you hit, it right on that we got to get more of those processors. Meanwhile. After, decades of struggle Wyoming. May be seeing a change of heart with, a series, of USDA, inspected. Processors. Planning, to come online this. Is the first. USDA. Plant in the state of Wyoming in 45. Years it's, the only one that is full slower to, packaging. With. The capacity, of 50, animals a week it's, an important, step for a number of local ranchers, now, if, they want to get was the program, of no. Antibiotics. No hormones, with. No natural beef they got a place that. They can they, can supply us and we, have several ranchers, around doing that and that's what we need we, need the local we, want to stay local with, our cattle, and we, want the local ranchers to have a place other than taking, them to feed Lots like in Denver whatever. We. Can play with the feed Lots our pain and it, benefits us it benefits them, with their Freight they don't have though the frating, an intervention. You. Don't find able to butcher shops anymore if it is a dying trait, it's the humongous plants. That, they. Do 2,000, cows a day this. Is just, as completely, different we. Will take the, primal. Off the cow and. We will cheesecloth it into. Something like this you. Will end up trimming all the mold off it's. A it's not a bad mold it's. A good mold gets, tested as well timeframe. So far has been between, 30, and 45 days that's, where we've been most successful. Some. Point we will will. Perfect it and then we'll fire up our dry aging cooler, and then we'll mass-produce this stuff but for now we're just trying to we're, just playing with it there's only place around as aged meat. My. Hamburger, is aged the, steaks rage, that's. What we're we're, striving for. We're. Rendering plants. And big packer infrastructure. Is lacking a, lot, of by-product, ends up in landfills, but. Skilled shops like black-bellied, market make sure less goes to waste, and so as butchers, not, as Meat Cutters it's. Our duty to, maximize that whole animal and the way we do that is with methods, and techniques that we've learned over the years from tradition, of, preserving meats, and fabricating. Needs to make them more appealing for, the, general public that might not be used, to seeing that or be used to consuming, it you, know we go to the organs obviously, if we go let's talk about liver pastrami's, let's, talk about dry cured pork kidneys, let's talk about head cheese is because rube eyes will sell themselves, all.
Day That we've tenderloins, will sell themselves, so being. A craft butcher, goes, into that whole animal utilization, to, not only make it edible. But, to make it appealing and to make it educational, and be. Able to relate why that, you should consume this because it's healthy because you're helping everybody, else who doesn't understand that system, you know well butchery. For a long time was, at the bottom of the social status, of the you know they were way down there but. That's, rapidly. Coming, up. The. People that I have working for me here are more than just butchers, like 30 awesome, human beings with a vision with, emotion. And connection. And. To actually have a platform in a program to, where I can do this and educate, a team I feel, like it is kind of a little special spot. And. The. World of ranching, is also, about the creative, use of resources. It's. Really, hard to write down what, that Rancher her farmer should do he's, the one that knows the asset, that he's got best and. I really think that that maybe we let the market take care of that that in fact the farmer, and rancher tells, his story and. Lets the consumer, to decide what story they like best they're. Gonna go with the guy that's doing the best job in. Clark. Wyoming, the, Gallagher's run a self-contained, porn, finished, cattle operation, we run a cow-calf operation. And we do do some crops we have some corn and alfalfa. All. Of the feed we raise it ourselves so, no, antibiotics. Or hormones all. Over the corn that we raised and we feed them is all non-gmo. And no, pesticides, that are used on it either anymore. It seems like an Ag unless you've inherited the land or unless you maybe have another. Income. Stream you have to kind of create one and so we got into direct marketing, our beef, and our pork and then, the corn maize that brings in quite a few guests, in the fall helps, with the income on the place. The. Choice of crops and cattle, are part of a nutrient, cycling strategy, this. Used to be farm. Pretty hard out here beets. And beans. And stuff like that and and this, grounds just really not suited, for that type of production it's it's a little lighter soil in most places. We. Feel like the cow the, cows benefit, the ground so from. Our standpoint that, manure, is pretty valuable you. Know it's it's a. It's. Replaces. Commercial, fertilizer, and. Commercial. Fertilizers, not cheap so so. To us manure is a pretty valuable nutrient. In fact I can take a pretty sandy, piece of ground when we first came here and started farming we had ground that wouldn't wouldn't. Really produce anything, and then, if the wind blow away you know and we've we've, put a lot of manure on that ground more than just running the cattle on it actually spreading manure on the ground cleaning pens and putting it on there and and now, that that, ground is almost. As productive, it's the rest of the place. The. Alfalfa is, probably, the crop we rely, on the most, and, we. Always follow alpha, with corn there is a lot of nitrogen value, in alfalfa when you plow it under so in corn. Is a big nitrogen, user so, that's kind of why we use corn. That. And we, have a use for it in our in our feed. We'll. Take this grain off of our grain, corn and then, the. Cows will be turned out and Nellie they'll. Eat the leaves and the husks, and some of the stalk and then about the last four, to five months, before. They're harvested, which we usually harvest them anywhere from 18 to 20 months they're. Gonna be on a corn. Die and a dry corn diet, which. Increases. The marbling makes the product a little I wouldn't. Say a little I'd say a lot more palatable, you know it makes it's, what beef is really, I guess at. Least that's what how we feel. We. Started at farmers markets and, then the next year we doubled and we've gradually, just kind of done that year after year the sale is the hard part, the raised in the crop and. In. Everything, that goes along with raising it we're already doing that but, to take it to the next step and to sell it that. That's the hard part and direct. Sales wouldn't, be possible without a good relationship, with the small slaughter packer facility.
But, For this they've, had to go out of state. We. Have found a great. Family, to work with Stillwater, packing, up in Columbus Montana, and, I think that the one thing that we really appreciate about, them is, the. Fact that they don't use any chemicals or sprays. During, the butchering process everything. Is just. Controlled. By, temperature. And humidity, so what, our butcher, offers, it just complements, what we do and. It just it, keeps a great product out there it's a different ballgame it's not, you. Don't just take it to the elevator and sell, your truckload of stuff and and. Walk, away and have no responsibility. We would like to be able to take all, of the beef that are born and, sell. Straight, to consumer, on, the, Carter ranch intensely, RC. Has been developing, an unusual. Premium, market, for older grass-finished, cows the. Grass finished thing was interesting you know we were we were gathering, a bunch of cows and like looking at like some of these things their butts on them look just like these big, ol fin, it they look like finished, beef and I. Grabbed I called my boy Nate singer, who's, from, Cody boy down, at black belly and I'm like how old is it it's like it's gotta be seven eight years old, well. Like alright bring it back to the ranch like let's let's, finish, it out and see what's up so I took him down we killed nine and out of the nine like 30%. Of them went prime which. In the commodity. Grain. Finished, beef industry it's. Like four, to six percent of grain finish animals, go prime, we blew those numbers out water we're like whoa where, we got him you, know and it's all grass it was all grass fed and we. Finished nine in. The next year we did. Twenty. Twenty. Something not, very many the next year and then, we were like oh my god like this is something, it really is amazing you know to have grass bed that looks like this. You. Know it's really special to, have marbling. Within a grass fed carcasses, like pretty unheard of and that's what really gives, grass-fed. Meat a bad name is that, typically. Grass-fed. Animals are, raised, there. Raise these animals, within like a commodity, setting, and like they. Want to kill them before they're 30 months old well the problem with that is like these animals like there's not as much carbs, fat. In grass, to. Get these animals you, know to pack it on and that's why they use corners, like you can just pump them 20 25. Pounds of corn a day and these things just get fat with a cow eating, grass it takes like three times longer. Cattle. Genetics, play an important, role in this which, in America have, been geared, towards, a corn finish. And. So. Most. Grass-fed, beef pretty, lean and people. Come in and they're like hey give me a grass-fed steak and, then, they cook it and they like you know especially if you ask for like a steak well-done you've. Blown it I mean, and so. They come in they cook it and there's no fat in it so it's just like this dry hunk of meat and they're not impressed and like kind, of gives it a bad rap but. People. That have been trying this stuff for like whoa what's that you know you, can't have marbling, with an grass-fed, beef. And. With those twenty son we took them from, my two years old up to 12 years old and we age them and, we actually figured, out our dry aged to make them palatable and to make them maximize, our. Market, is what we call the double, aged beef so, they're old and then. We, go ahead and age them they were considered, throwaway caps you know these old B's this, old market, from you, know Wyoming. Where, they have, their cow. Calf operation 100%. Grass-fed on, Range land most. Beautiful man in the country but, when they finish producing, they're considered throwaway they're useless so now we're kind of upcycling. Them by, taking them and spending, another year getting, them fat on the, grass we, grow our grasses all summer, long and it's. Picked up by a hay crew piled, and, we use it to, feed our cows in the winter so we don't you. Know they can eat the natural native, grasses all. Year, round they, inoculate, it with some, bacteria, and so. That makes. It ferment. So once it's packed then it just like sets up the bacteria does its thing and. You. Know you come in in the wintertime it's 20 below and you can't. Get hot lunch here's some of the haylage. Not. The different grasses and. It has a sweet smell almost almost, like molasses, I. Think. It makes a good nice.
Intestinal. Flora, these. Old animal that's seven, years of, grass. Like how many pounds. Of grass has that cow consumed, it's like the knowledge is in that fat predominantly. They're our the, cows that we raised but you know it's like this challenge of like if, you're on our menu in a restaurant you. Have to have you. Have to supply a steak all, the time we, had to branch out and talk. To our neighbors and our ranch or friends. And everybody's, food brought get everybody in. It's. The soil and the grass it's this location is, what makes them awesome that's, our mission it's just to meet. With these ranchers, go, to their property, RFID. Chip these years of these cows to trace them back to the home ranch it's, like the orchard copper sheet over cysteine I showed you to, have a portfolio in, five years of orchard, ranch Carter. Country ranch no, whit ranch whatever answer it may be that we're buying from how. Many years older cattle is the picture is identifying, and notes and all these things that really profile. Does, older beef in Wyoming because that's I, think where the difference is is, that we have the land to do it with the resources to do it and we have the hard working people to do it. You. And so, we've just been kind of developing, that program and. You. Know it's. Working. As. Niche. Market, producers, brought in their distribution there's, an emerging, technology that, could strengthen, transparency for. The customer, it's, called blockchain. Talking. About blockchain, technology. And what, that brings to the table for the state of Wyoming, that the, media, go, to, is. Traceability, right, so blockchain, is a distributed. Ledger back. In the day you. Know all was was an affidavit, you're, like is, this animal grass-fed, you. Bet here. You go well, it's this thing there's, traceability, all in, its a lot there's not you know it's not so much of a paper trail to try. To track, down there's, actually you know computer, right so you have access a lot easier access to it so you can have that agent source verification, that's, USDA, certified. But. On top of that you can prove natural, you can prove non hormone, on. Down the line and then you'll be able to take your. Phone scan, a QR code on that stake and it'll. Take you back to show you exactly what where, that animals from, her age any, pertinent information her.
Shots Like whatever, it. Probably wouldn't surprise you to learn then that the big Packers are not interested, in doing this you cannot, do it the big plant because it's too chaotic if, you're doing. Hundreds. Or even thousands. Ahead a day there's. No way but if you're doing one at a time some, of the medium to small Packers, are very interested, and it is it is a possibility, at, this time for them to do it and what the dream is is that, somebody, in LA, you, go to the meat counter and, click their phone on a piece of meat at the end, the rancher, and his wife and his dog will pop up you know ahead at the end of the story and people walk that that's what they want they want that connection. Pretty. Amazing it's about you, know it's like you. Know it's the games the games changing. This. Episode, of farm-to-fork wyoming, is available, order. Online at, shopping. Pbs.org. This program, was produced by Wyoming PBS, which, is solely responsible for, its content, to, learn more and watch Wyoming, PBS programs online visit. Us at Wyoming. Pbs.org.