Felt Farms has seen great success by selling our beef as a whole, half, and quarter option. But listening to our costumers we established the need to sell at a more local and consumer friendly level. By getting a label for our beef and a truck to transport it, it will help us accomplish this goal.
We are proud to be operating on a century farm. Our farm has been transformed from a dairy into the cattle feed yard it is today. Our barns, fences, and facility as a whole still has its original look and flare but with much up keep and refurbishing. Our property has the ability to hold 300 head of cattle. We have a two-lot system that allows for easy monitoring and moving of cattle. Each lot has different age/size of cattle and require different feed habits. One lot is used for fresh cattle. We buy from multiple different cow-calf farms once they have a group of heifers and steers available. These animals come to the farm at 500 pounds. They are hand fed twice a day with a mixture of corn grown minerals and vitamins. Hay is also an important part of their diet and grown right on our farm. We take great pride in our feeding habits because it allows for close interaction with the cattle every day. They get used to seeing humans yards away from them every day, making health checks, moving, and daily chores more enjoyable and less stressful for the bovine because they are used to humans and our hands on approach. The second lot is home to our largest cattle weighing around 800 - 1,000 pounds. This is a finishing lot with a self feeder full of a home grown corn blend. These big boys are also allowed hay and will receive health evaluations daily. They will finish out their time on the farm in this lot, once reaching market ready conditions the sorting process begins. Body mass, physical structure, and appearance are all things taken into consideration when sending them to market. After this sorting process the cattle are loaded up and taken, by us, to the butcher where our local customers can pick up their meat products.
We are unique in the fact we offer a hormone-free beef product on a local platform. Dallas County is the fastest growing county in Iowa and our farm is located in the heart of it. We have the opportunity to provide a large community with a quality product from local faces. We want to familiarize the American farmer to the public. Instead of asking them to go to the grocery store to get their meat we want to not only educate them on our process but let them know this product is coming from a local source they can trust. Before applying for a label we only had the opportunity to sell whole, half, and quarters of beef. We have seen success by doing it this way but also know we can reach more people. To the consumer using vocabulary such as "a whole beef" is extremely confusing and scary to them. They want to use vocabulary such as "steak" or "roast" because that is what they are comfortable with. As a family we sat down to discuss a way to make selling our beef, while using these industry terms, easier for consumers. We realized this is a big task at hand. Building a small store crossed our minds but we wanted to be in every community of Dallas County. How could we make buying, picking up, and even some delivering possible? That's when we decided a movable truck would allow us to provide our product in all of Dallas County. Like an ice cream truck, our truck would have the ability to have multiple frozen meat options on board allowing us to park and sell anywhere. With a strong social media following we could easily let the public know where we are parked to choose and pick up their meat. This moving meat truck will allow us to visit multiple towns a week, local farmers markets, and make delivers to larger customers/businesses.
The USDA estimates the average American consumes 222.2 pounds of red meat and poultry every year. Waukee has a population of 20,649; Johnston with 21,562; Adel offering 4,386 people; Dallas Center with 1,698, and Grimes is growing with 12,649 people as of now. These towns, and not to mention the estimated 650,000 people who visit the Des Moines Farmers Market every year, offers a huge market to not only sell our beef but get the American farmer to be trusted again. Our ultimate goal is giving the public the comfort in knowing where their meat comes from, all while selling it to them on their local streets, and by handing them our product ourselves. By doing this we can compete with grocery stores. By offering bundles, deals, cooking tips, and a friendly face with real knowledge of the industry we hope people would give us a chance. Placement of the truck is key to success, as well as, a strong social marketing plan to pull the attention of people. But with a huge market size we think establishing the best places to park and sell will show themselves.
The beef industry is changing and Felt Farms feels the need to stand up and offer the public a great product at a affordable cost and easy access. Every day in the headlines you read myths about the beef industry and more recently the invention of "fake" meat. The agriculture industry is an important one and a strong one. It's time to answer back to these publications and unnecessary inventions. We see the best way to do this is on a local level. A meat truck like this is unheard of in our area. But with the opportunity to continue our beef legacy by expanding our already successful feedlot we know this grant money would help us open the eyes of consumers and encourage other beef farmers to do the same.
Hello! My name is Mackenzie Felt and the oldest of the Felt children. For as long as I can remember I have watched my mom and dad grow Felt Farms into the successful business it is today. My dad, David, is a 4th generation farmer and has always had the goal of leaving the land and industry better then he found it. Because of this goal he has taught me and my siblings how to farm in the most caring way. Because of my parent love for agriculture they have instilled in us three kids a true passion for the industry. We are all hands on deck type of farm. Everyone helps with the crops whether its plants or harvest and everyone has a hand in the cattle business whether it’s daily chores, buying, hauling, or marketing our brand. My dad has grown the cattle business tremendously but I and my 16 year old brother are ready to take it a step further. As applicants we see the future and are excited to hopefully use this money to put a modern spin on how consumers buy their meat.