Not all good ideas come from amenity-filled board rooms. All the best minds coming together in one place doesn’t always produce the best results. Sometimes some of the greatest ideas come from the least expected sources and circumstances.
My friend Dan Wendt, who I met while hospitalized under the care of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, opened my eyes to the most creative, ingenious meat marketing idea I had heard in a long time.
While cleaning my hospital room, we began to chat about things, and I was soon to find that he was a pretty special guy. When we finally honed in on our mutual interest of livestock, things begin to click.
Dan lives on a small farm in Iowa and was feeding a few cattle on the side; just a hobby at this point, and non-selective to a fault, for he ended up feeding a few Jersey steers. Now, any cattle feeder will tell you that’s the dumbest idea ever. Jersey’s are small, inefficient, and lack muscling. You couldn’t possibly make money feeding Jerseys.
But wait a minute, there’s another side to the story. Remember this was a hobby, and Dan wasn’t necessarily doing this for the money. So, what was the incentive?
The rewards of his effort came from the product he put on the table, the compliments from his many dinner guests, and people of influence that were the recipient of his generosity.
So, what was this special product that had gotten so much attention? If you haven’t had the pleasure of eating the delicacy of a Jersey ribeye steak, you’ll probably never know how much difference there is between the Jersey and other conventional beef breeds of cattle. Odds are you’ve never had the opportunity to taste the difference, as Jersey meat is not readily available.
When I explained to Dan the reasons for Jersey meat tasting so much better than other meat, he was astounded. And, clearly he didn’t understand that his feeding program had played a huge role in bringing out the best of the Jersey. He was feeding these cattle a finishing ration comparable to that of most any other feed-lot operation.
The Jersey is small, but mighty, and as they excel in the production of cream (butter-fat), that translates into marbling. This makes every bite so rich and savory that it measures right up there with other delectable premium-priced entrees such as lobster or dry-aged prime beef—costs more, but worth it.
After meeting Dan, it is my intention to help him put together a marketing plan that will help introduce this product to the public and expand his hobby cattle feeding operation.
As the scriptures say: Deuteronomy 12:7 “And there you shall eat before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice in all to which you have put your hand.”
“PONY TALES by” Ponty is written by Ken E. Knight, the author of the “Knightro Report”, a nationally syndicated livestock-marketing column, which is featured in the “Farm And Livestock Directory” every month.