Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Homegrown natural beef could soon find its way into Yampa Valley freezers.
Greener Pastures Ranch announced this week that it has begun marketing locally fed, hormone-free beef in bulk quantities. A portion of the meat will come from 4-H calves that helped raise $5,500 for a college scholarship fund.
Yampa Valley resident Tim Jenkins is selling all-natural Colorado beef through his Web site at www.greenerpasturesranch.com. The meat is available in one-eighth, one-quarter, half or whole-beef quantities. The beef orders will be filled in June and September, with the meat delivered to customers' homes ready for the freezer.
A whole beef, butchered into steaks, roasts and other cuts, can occupy 16 cubic feet of space in a freezer, Jenkins said. The delivered meat comes in 8 to 10 boxes, each weighing about 50 pounds.
Jenkins, who lives in Steamboat and owns a feedlot in Wiggins, said his hunch that mountain-raised calves can be top producers without a need for hormones or antibiotics has been proven correct during the past year.
"These cattle are extremely healthy and content," Jenkins said. "As a result, they really out-perform typical commodity cattle."
Jenkins has tracked the daily feed consumption and weight gain of his cattle to confirm that growing in a stress-free environment eliminates the need for chemical supplements.
In November, Jenkins purchased nine of the offspring from 11 heifers auctioned two years ago by the 4-H Bar Cattle Co. It was formed as a separate nonprofit entity by the Routt County 4-H Scholarship Committee. The goal is to gradually raise scholarship money to help Routt County high school seniors pursue advanced education.
Area businesses and organizations were enticed to sponsor one of 11 heifers by bidding a minimum of $1,200. The money went to offset the expense of the original purchase price of each heifer. Each of the animals wintered on a different Routt County ranch. The ranch families made an in-kind contribution to the scholarship fund by feeding the animals.
All 11 of the original heifers delivered calves last year, and Jenkins purchased nine calves to become part of his all-natural beef herd.
"We purchased those calves in support of the program, because we believe in it," Jenkins said.
Four-H held back one bull calf with outstanding genetics for sale in the Routt County Bull Sale.
-- To reach Tom Ross, call 871-4205 or e-mail email@example.com