By Meredith Collins
Never in a million years did I think I would be working for a meat marketing company in my hometown of Stateville, NC. I had never taken an ag class, but rather was interested in English, journalism and communications. Growing up, I had some exposure to agriculture with both my grandparents operating farms, but I was never directly involved.
In the almost five years of working here at Midan, I have learned so much about the meat industry, and I want to share a little inside scoop with you. A lot of these thoughts aren’t rocket science, but just little ah-ha moments I have had that may help you to better understand the meat industry!
More than a Job – It’s a Passion
A few years ago, I interviewed ranchers who raise cattle for a natural beef brand – Open Prairie Natural Angus® beef . In talking with these ranchers, I learned they are so passionate about what they do. This is not just a job, but a lifestyle. I clearly remember having a light bulb moment when asking one of the ranchers, Fred Wacker, about animal welfare and humane handling. He explained that of all people, he cares the most about how the animals are treated, because the stress they endure is directly related to the end result of the meat harvested, and whether it will be tender or not. Not caring for an animal properly would be like spending thousands of dollars planting a crop and then not doing anything to take care of it. Ranchers are passionate about what they do and take great pride in caring for their cattle.
It’s all in the Family
Our Midan team recently had the opportunity to visit Kempfer Cattle Company, a family-owned 25,000 acre ranch in Florida. I was again reminded on this visit that working in the meat industry is not just a 9-5 job – it’s a constant thing, it’s a lifestyle that involves entire families. You can’t take a vacation whenever you want and you may be called with an emergency in the middle of the night. We visited with Billy and Reed (fourth generation) and Henry, George and Jimmy (fifth generation). They talked about having their children and grandchildren help out on the ranch too. For the majority of the year, the only people working on the ranch are family, and they actually have brands created specifically for each family member. They are doing their best to set up success on the ranch for generations to come.
Everybody Knows Everybody!
It didn’t take me too long in working at Midan to realize that in the meat industry, everybody knows everybody! Between our two principals and others who have worked in other positions in the meat industry, when we go to an industry conference, everybody knows us. At one of my first conferences, I was able to tag along with Michael, one of our principals, and was amazed at how many people he knew and how many connections there are. It’s really a small world!
We have a Daunting Task
There are a lot of people who enjoy a thick, juicy steak, and want to continue to be able to purchase a steak at an affordable price. Alternatively, there are other people in the world who may only get rice with beans as their source of protein. With growing populations and limited resources, the meat industry has a daunting task of continuing to provide meat to feed the world. It’s vital to nutrition and health. The meat industry is working hard to adopt the latest technology and advancements so they can continue to provide nutritious, affordable protein to the world.
There are many more aspects of the meat industry I am not able to cover in just this blog, but I hope this helps you to get a glimpse of the meat industry! I encourage you to post anything you’ve learned or any questions you have in the blog comments below! Thanks for reading!