Bastrop Cattle Company

  (Bastrop, Texas)
Bastrop Cattle Company
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Too Big NOT to Fail

On Sunday morning a good friend and fellow farmers market vendor sent me an alert to a front page article in the New York Times.  The article is entitles, "Trail of E.Coli Shows Flaws in Inspection of Ground Beef".  The link is

If there was ever an arguement for local and sustainable processing of meat, this is it.  I strongly recommend that we as producers show this to all our friends, relatives and neighbors -- especially those who are on the fence about where they source their food.

I think that this is especially important because the government answer to this problem is more inspection and more testing.  Bastrop Cattle Company has every single one of our calves inspected before, during and after all steps of processing.  I don't have any problem with testing.

However, more inspection and testing won't take care of this problem.  These slaughterhouses are just too big.  They are processing too many animals.  AND there is no way that these guys will ever let the government put more inspectors in (and the USDA or FDA doesn't want to pay for the real number of inspectors it would take to really police these places).

We need to get people back to buying local and sustainable where we can re-develop the local community processing plants that use to exist.


Promoting Grass Fed Beef in the Current Market

I play this little game with myself - every Monday, I tally the sales for the past week to see how we've done.  I have a specific goal - posted in red on my side board - for weekly sales.  Monday is my day to see if I met my goal.  Every month, I add more to the figure for what I need to bring in per week.

The good news is that every month since we started selling our sales have gone up.  And my accountant tells me that our growth is impressive.  However, my little demons are telling me its not enough, and that I have to "sell more beef!!".  So says my banker, and all those loans I have out!

 I think I'm doing all the right things.  Farmers Market twice a week (though the market has been really down over the last couple of months), website to promote our product with a shopping cart for people to buy direct (we just made it possible for people to use their credit cards), direct mailings every month to regular customers, enewsletter to regular customers, and advertising strategically placed to reach the customers most likely to buy our meat (believe me I've done my research).

I've also lined up wholesalers (groceries, restaurants, etc.) in our main market, Austin.  And every Monday I'm on the phone - not waiting for them to order, but asking if they need anything and when do they want delivery.

So, here's my question to y'all out there.  Am I doing everything I should?  Am I missing anything?

I follow up on leads.  I take samples to potential new wholesalers.  I call in networking connections to see if they know anybody else I can talk to.

Still, I've noticed shifts in the market.  For one, the Farmers Market sales have fallen off.  I figure this is for two reasons; we sell out in Bastrop and I'm sure that people have been hit by the downturn out here faster than say in Austin.  I'm committed to this Farmers Market.  We're really trying to grow it.  However, I'm being told to shift to Austin and go to those Farmers Markets instead.

They are certainly bigger markets, but there is also additional costs and paperwork required if we do that.

Also, what do y'all think about promotionals?  Any ideas.

What about partnerships with other producers - like chicken or pork or veggies?

I'd appreciate any ideas!!



Grass-fed, free-range beef in a drought

I haven't heard from many people and decided that I probably needed to be more proactive.

If you live in Central Texas, you know that we are now in a two-year drought.   For those of you outside of the area, we are!  What does this mean to a rancher?  Well, not anything good.  I'm looking outside my window at a lawn that is all sand, and I can hear my well going off again as the herd comes in to drink from the concrete trough that we now keep full 24 hours a day.  So far, the cows are looking pretty good considering.

With some foresight last spring, we had our back pasture treated with compost tea and it stood the grass well.  Everything is brown now, but at least we still have grass on most of the pastures -- abate with only limited protein.  We make that up with natureal mineral suppliments.  So far, the weather has been warm and with as much cover (native and coastal) as we have, we've avoided having to put out hay.  If it turns really cold, though, that will change.

Still, it can be tough on the cows.  All the cows on the place are young, and expecting their first calf.  While they look good, they are still undergoing some stress -- cows don't like dust either.  I see a lot of runny noses out there.  We're keeping a close eye on everyone to make sure its nothing more than sinus irritation!

I just wish it would rain.


Information about us.

This is just a short blog to let everyone know that I am always happy to answer any questions about our beef, how we raise the animals, how we handle the meat and how we sell it.  I appreciate any serious questions, comments and suggestions.  Thank you.
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