Devon Cattle & Linear Measurement
In this month's training, we talk with Jamie Hostetler. Jamie is a Red Devon producer working to produce gourmet grassfed beef. He has worked a lot with Gerald Fry over the years and is doing an excellent job of producing grass fed beef that is highly nutritious and a gourmet eating experience. Jamie is Amish/Mennonite so he does not take pictures, he just happened to be sitting at my table at a Grassfed Exchange conference a couple of years ago and I took this picture from the video that we shot. Jamie is a great guy with a lot of experience and knowledge; he shares his story with us below and it is these experiences that have taught him what he shares with you in this rare training by Jamie Hostetler.
I grew up in northern IL on a grain/livestock farm. After an 8th grade education I worked at home on the farm taking care of the typical work that goes into a farm occupation. In 1986 we as a family started raising free range turkeys and also started a feed mill to supply local farmers with feed for all of their livestock feed. My job was to take care of the turkeys as well as do all the grinding of feed for the mill. I always enjoyed livestock more than the corn/bean farming so I started purchasing baby Holsteins and raising them to the finish in 1988. In 1995 the fed Holstein market changed with our market virtually drying up and corn prices climbing to over $5.00/bu. and I understood for the first time the real significance of reverse financial leverage. When the smoke cleared I was upside down $103,000 and with an hourly job to recoup my losses it didn’t take long to understand I needed to do something different. I was offered an opportunity in sales in the telecom industry and added part time to my schedule until early 1996 when I left the feed business to pursue the telecom business full-time along with taking care of the hog barns. I recruited and supported a sales organization of approximately 2,000 people in the telecom business until the fall of 2004 when the telecom company I was working with filed bankruptcy and my income dried up overnight. Through this time I had a growing interest in nutrition and at least in part understood the importance of sourcing healthy foods for my family. I took a number of weeks and researched my options and along with several of the sales leaders in my previous organization we started working with the Shaklee corporation. I spent 3 years then full time doing health consultations and assisting people that were dealing with health related issues as well as teaching groups across the USA the importance of getting away from chemicals, GMO’s and etc. as well as focusing on the importance of high quality foods and nutritional supplementation. As my family grew and my oldest approached graduation I knew that I wanted to get back and work more with my family and so in 2006 we started a grass-fed beef operation with 20 medium frame bred heifers AI’d to a pure bred Devon bull. We then slowly grew our grass-fed business in IL until 2010 when we moved to eastern IA . Our farm is located in the bluffs of eastern IA approximately 4 miles from the Mississippi River in Jackson county. We purchased this 172a farm in April of 2010. This farm land is very rolling and not as suited to conventional grain farming practices.
We had been growing a grass fed beef business over the last number of years so we put our whole farm back in grass and hay production for our Devon cattle. Our salad bar of fresh grass & legumes is made available to our cattle on a daily rotation basis and then let rest to regrow. This method of grazing called High Stock Density Grazing is known as one of the most effective methods of rebuilding top soil, organic matter and overall improvement of soil health. We direct market our 100% grass fed beef to health conscience families all over the Midwest. Grassfed beef is known to have a higher level of the healthy omega3 fatty acids than conventionally fed beef. This contributes to healthier hearts, joints, brains etc…
We also raise pure bred Devon breeding stock which we market to other producers throughout the USA. Devons are known for their ability to utilize grass and marble well without the use of corn in their diets. They also have a finer textured meat profile along with outstanding meat flavor. All of this makes for a fine eating experience and a healthy one to boot. You can learn more about the Devon breed at www.reddevonusa.com
Our farm is rolling enough that we found it a challenge to find a flat enough spot to build our organic layer house. In the fall of 2010 we started construction which we then completed by June 15th,2011. We enjoy the diversity of our farming operation and no day is exactly like the previous. The chickens complement our operation in several ways. We use the manure the chickens give us as our primary fertilizer source for the rest of our farm. The type of work required, i.e. gathering eggs etc.. makes it an ideal farm family operation with our 8 children. Being able to stay home on the farm with my family and teaching them Biblical values, responsibility of doing a job right and being there every day with them is worth a lot to us.
Jamie Hostetler & family
You will enjoy this month's training with Jamie Hostetler as he is happy to share anything and everything he has learned about raising grass fed beef and selling direct to consumers. Of special interest to me is his training on linear measurement which is how to visually inspect cattle for top quality genetics. With in every breed are good and bad cattle, learn to select the best gene pool with linear measurement in this training.