How have we gotten to where we are at? How did we come to the decision of the quality and type of beef we want to sell?
My desire to have a farm or ranch really began as I was attending College in 2011. Studying Computer science and having some real world experiences under my belt, I started to realize there had to be more to life and work than crushing away on computer projects or working in a cubical all day.
It has become common knowledge that people cannot make it in Agriculture unless they inherit an operation from someone else. That knowledge prevented us from ever making an attempt until a couple of years ago.
We got our first Dexter cattle in 2019. I knew we had to find a niche market to hopefully sell our products for a profit. With minimal knowledge about cattle and getting input from everyone, I struggled trying to figure out some of the basic questions. Should I feed grain in the winter? What about vaccines? What supplements will we need?
All these additional inputs were “required” to keep healthy cattle. However, as a new producer we did not have the funds to pay for all these inputs. So we only bought what we knew were the bare necessities: hay, stock tank, and mineral salts. Surprisingly we had no struggling animals, cows were calving on their own, and everyone kept healthy body conditions.
I started learning more about natural and minimal input ranching. This led me to Regenerative Agriculture practices and holistic management. Now we are moving our cattle across temporary pastures “paddocks” to prevent over grazing and promote faster pasture growth and healthier soils.
To sum up our story, as a small beginner family farm we had to keep costs minimal and find niche markets that shared our values: good animal health, stewardship of the land, and family ethics. This has lead us to cattle that are on a natural diet of grasses with no chemicals or un-natural vaccines/antibiotics/growth hormones; all while rebuilding soils and natural range land.
Lucky Lockette Ranch