The Conference

The annual RDUSA Conference, Show and Sale is less than a month away.  Make your reservations before it’s too late.  As mentioned before, the host farms are Jaime Hostetler’s Rolling Meadows, Sheldon Heading, and Daniel and Linda Marquardt’s farm.  Jaime Hostetler’s farm is the only one hosting activities and also displaying their cattle.  Sheldon and the Marquardts will be very busy with other responsiblities at the conference, so if you would like to visit them please contact them ahead of time and make an appointment at a time convenient with them.

Also, Jaime and Sheldon and their families are Mennonite and there will be many attendees at the conference that are Mennonite or Amish.  Most, if not all, of them will be from church communities that do not approve having photographs made of their members and families.  Please do not photograph them without their permission.

Sheldon Headings (Part 2)

Sheldon Headings (Part 2) Marketing

 

Sheldon is now finishing 12-15 head for his beef customers. This number is down from the past, but Sheldon expects that number to increase to 25-30 head in the near future. Every animal is grass finished and he finds the winter season to be the most challenging in his upper Midwest climate. To keep an even weight gain in the winter, he feeds high quality wrapped hay and baleage. This way he is able to finish his steers at 1000-1100 lb. at 21-22 months of age.

 

Sheldon’s marketing efforts started at the farmer’s market where he was able to build his customer base. Now he relies on word of mouth recommendations from his regular customers and also provides incentives for those who bring him new customers. This strategy has worked well and he has far more demand for his beef than supply.

 

With a reliable USDA processor near by there is little stress on the animals and the processor can cut and wrap quarters and halves for individual customers. The processor also packages individual cuts using Sheldon’s label for local stores.

 

Using email Sheldon tries to get feedback from his customers. He also tracks data on the animals with the two most important being days to finish and meat to bone ratio.

 

Submitted by Roy