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Pastured cattle: from field to processing

By Justin Farr, Farm Finance Program Coordinator

The Upper Midwest CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training) just finished our final field day of the season! We had an amazing field day focused on animal processing and pasture management that took place at two locations. We started the morning at Eickman’s Processing Facility where we were able to witness the complete slaughtering process, starting with the kill floor. It was a very eye-opening experience for everyone there. I was worried about observing a cow getting slaughtered, but I left with a sense of calm, thinking that these guys are doing it the right way. A government inspector was present on site to inspect every stage of the slaughtering process.

Justin Farr at Eickmann's

One of Eickman’s customers is Jackie de Batista of Irish Grove Farms, which is located right up the road from Eickman’s! Our CRAFT group spent the afternoon taking a tour of Jackie’s farm operations and observing her cattle and her fields.

Jackie de Batista in front of her family's round barn

We discussed her herd, how she grazes the animals, and what she grows in her fields. We were also joined by Jackie’s consultant from Bio Ag, Tim Chitwood. Tim was able to provide some insight into how they have worked together to increase the productivity and health of Jackie’s land and cover crops. Jackie has been able to grow her herd of cattle from 4 to 90 in a very short amount of time! I was very impressed with her operations and how welcome we all felt on her farm. As this was the first field day that I was able to facilitate, I was a little nervous going in, but all of the presenters and participants were amazing, which made for some great questions and discussions!

Jackie's organic pasture

Pictures of Irish Grove Farm