Our grass farm is located in the rolling hills of the Southern Ozarks near Doniphan, Missouri. In the peaceful and serene setting we raise a herd of 1200 cattle on a 4,000-acre ranch.
Mark and I give our herd personal care as the farm owners and managers. Our 6 children are all active participants. Here we proudly raise free-range, natural grass-fed cattle.
We began our herd many years ago with the healthiest and highest quality cows and bulls available. We have a Beefmaster based cow herd bred to Angus bulls. We feel this provides excellence in mothering ability and a sound genetic base for producing excellent quality beef.
Our management protocol involves intensive rotational grazing. This means we place a large number of cattle on one pasture where they can uniformly graze the plant growth while at its optimum stage for peak nutritional value. The cattle are then rotated to new pasture in 1-3 days depending on the rate of growth of the grass. This provides numerous benefits to the animal, the pasture land, and consequently to the beef produced.
Animals that are continually being rotated to new pasture are far healthier than those raised in confinement pens such as those encountered in feedlot finished animals. Pasture rotation naturally decreases the load of parasites presented to the animal and allows for natural immune resistance to develop, hence we do not use synthetic pesticides to de-worm the cattle.
Rotation presents the animal with fewer potentially disease causing pathogens. All healthy animals harbor various strains of bacteria in their intestinal tract and it usually causes no problem. Yet, when the animal is kept in the same environment for extended periods contamination occurs by allowing a build up of these potential pathogens. Our cattle are rotated to clean pasture almost daily and this contributes to a vast decrease in the incidence of disease. We have not had to use therapeutic antibiotics on the ranch in over 4 years. We never use antibiotics in our cattle’s’ feed or water.
With a B.S. in Animal Science and as a practicing veterinarian for 21 years, my goal from the beginning was to maintain a closed herd. A closed herd means that all our livestock are born and raised on our own farm and that we do not introduce outside animals with questionable health to infect our cattle. Thus, we greatly decrease the introduction of new pathogens into our healthy cattle. This allows us to confidently operate with minimal loss from common diseases that plague other operations.
Our management protocol also benefits the environment. It allows the land to naturally replenish itself. A balanced synergy develops between cattle and their environment. What the cattle remove through grazing they add back through naturally occurring animal fertilizer and aeration of the land. This balance has made it possible for us to eliminate the use of unnatural fertilizers or weed killers.
When we plant finishing pasture such as wheat, we utilize no-till methods which does not disturb the integrity of the soil.
We believe there are several things in our production protocol that improve the quality of the beef produced. We finish our animals on alfalfa and grass pasture or on winter wheat. This produces a more consistent quality to the flavor of our beef. We use Angus bulls to genetically improve the taste and tenderness of our beef. We also practice low stress handling techniques because stressed animals make for tough and off flavored beef.
After touring large scale processing facilities, we learned that our small USDA facility close to home has higher standards and care than the larger volume, facilities. We can, also, be assured that our beef is NOT irradiated, NOT chemically bathed and NOT contaminated by assembly line packaging processes. Most importantly our beef is processed individually by a processor that takes pride in their operation.
We confidently sell our natural grass fed beef to people with health challenges such as cancer, diabetes and heart conditions. It is interesting to talk to many former vegetarians who say that occasional grass fed beef consumption has contributed to their health.
We want to let our customers experience the finest grass fed natural beef. This is the same natural beef that ranchers choose for their own families every day . . . now available directly from our farm to your home.
Mark Whisnant &
Dr. Patricia Whisnant
Grass Farmers & Veterinarian