Friday, August 30, 2013


Greetings!  Thank you for stopping by to get acquainted.  I'm guessing you landed here because you are looking for information on producing quality grassfed beef.  I know that quest oh so well! I cannot possibly tally the hours and hours I have spent scouring the internet, attending seminars and field days and conferences, all in our quest to produce excellent grassfed beef.  Let me introduce myself, our operation, and why I have started this Blog.

My name is Judy Decker.  Along with my husband, Bill, we have been producing grassfed beef since 1998... yep, that's right: we were producing grassfed beef back in the day when grassfed beef wasn't 'cool'!  But we have made a successful venture of it, thanks to lots of good learning opportunities, trial and error, and a quality product.  You can learn more about our operation, Renaissance Farms Ltd,  here.  We are located in Lyon county, KS, and reside just outside of Emporia.  

I draw somewhat upon my background in wildlife biology, and knowledge and understanding of grassland ecosystems gained while working at the Konza Prairie south of Manhattan, KS, while attending college there.  Grassland ecosystems rock!  And understanding the grassland community has helped me better manage our grassfed beef operation.  I also serve on the board of the Kansas Graziers' Association.

We opted for Galloway cattle as our breed of choice.  We knew just enough at the time we started to understand that the genetics required would need to be early maturing, lower frame score animals.  We also knew that since we would be selling directly to customers, we needed a high quality product that would keep them coming back.  We landed on the original Galloway, i.e. solid colored.  There will more about genetics in a later post.

So, why this blog?  Because I am committed to seeing grassfed beef continue to increase in popularity, accessibility, and quality.  In fact, that last item, quality, is a necessary ingredient for continued growth of this sector of the beef industry.  Previously I have hosted 2 national conferences in Kearney, NE, which were to my knowledge among the first of their kind: The Grass Genetics Plus Showcase and Conference. The conference was all about producing superior grassfed beef, and focused on one of the 'three legs' of grassfed beef production: Genetics.  (The other two are forage base and management).  To this end, the Showcase invited seedstock producers to bring cattle to the event, where they were on display in pens. Several times during the two day event, conference attendees were encouraged to visit the arena to examine the cattle, and dialogue with the breeders as to what the breeder pursues genetically, what type of environment his genetics have been working in, and so forth.  Ultrasounding was done to show what the genetics offered under the hide as well... which is oh so important!  We had 19 states represented at the conference by the second year.

OK, enough with introductions! Let's get down to business. This blog will cover the full spectrum of grassfed beef production, from forage types, extending the grazing season, rotational grazing, equipment needs, tools of the trade, genetics, management, water.... well, that certainly seems like a lot. I'd better get cracking!

Your comments and questions are certainly appreciated.