After a long winter behind us, spring is welcomed by every Nebraskan, Midwesterner, and anyone else who was personally victimized by the vicious weather we experienced. There were plenty of blizzards. There was a lot of mud. There was a lot of layering up with 25 layers for protection against the frigid cold. But, I don’t want to dwell… Instead let’s focus on the blessings spring has brought.
While we start calving (cows giving birth) in January, the new babies are thriving in the spring weather. Grass is growing. Calves are running around pastures, kicking up their heels because they feel that great! The calves are growing tremendously, too. They start at a weight around 80 pounds and weigh close to 300 pounds in May.
In May, we trailered all cows to pastures that aren’t by our home farm. We live in a predominantly farm land area, so our pastures are spread out across the county. In the winter, we bring all the cows home so we can assist in calving, if needed. But we don’t have enough pasture and grass to sustain all of our cows year-round. This is why they are brought to their summer home (fancy, right?) when the grass is strong enough to support them.
We always say livestock producers (ranchers) are the original sustainability crew- we have to be careful to take the best care of our land to ensure that it is strong enough to take care of us. This is called rotational grazing.
What the process of moving to the summer home entails:
Have you ever noticed that in most beef recipes, you are told to cut your meat “against the grain”? Have you ever wondered why this step is so important? Do you wonder what the grain is and how to cut against it? And what are the best tools to do so?
The experiences she had through the Engler Program and as a Nebraska Beef Ambassador revealed an opportunity in the beef industry. Esch, a senior animal science major, realized there was a disconnect between many producers and their consumers, and she decided to start her own farm-to-table beef supplier: Oak Barn Beef. It officially became a limited liability company in 2018.