Who are we and how did we get started ranching?
Beau & Shanen met in 1998 at Iowa State University. Beau was raised on a small farm with Maine Anjou Cattle. He showed cattle as a kid and can tell you everything about any bull he has seen since he was 2 years old. He has a passion for our breed and improving our cattle. Shanen was raised a horse girl on the outskirts of Des Moines. She was nearly vegetarian and swore that "she would never eat anyone she met". Fast forward a couple years later, we are married, with beginning farmers loans and a small herd of cattle.
Several years later, Shanen took the calves to the sale barn with two little girls in tow. Beau was working his town job & couldn't attend the sale that day. The sale of these calves at auction would make our farm payment for the entire year. For me (Shanen), it was always a very nerve wracking experience having someone else determine if we could make our house payment or not. This day, we had several calves that were all high quality, but they had excessive white hides, so the auctioneer cut them to the side away from the all black calves. The all black calves sold well, but the ones they separated literally brought half price!
As a young mom I was nearly in tears and decided that we HAD to do something different! Beau had chosen our bull for his quality and the females he was producing were amazing MommaCows!
That day I decided to try to market our calves directly to consumers. That would also let Beau choose any bull he wanted to use to improve our herd and our breed!
The next year we offered a small group of calves to friends and family and they were VERY pleased with the superior flavor of our beef! 20 years later, we offer all of our cattle directly to consumers like you! We have you in mind every day of our lives. We always try to make the best choice for the cattle and the consumer. Because making better cattle, caring for the land and feeding families is our passion.
Today, Beau sits on the National Maine Anjou Board of Directors, and our years of dedicated breeding have produced amazing beef and many National Champion heifers and bulls. Shanen enjoys promoting local foods in many ways and caring for all the MommaCows in our Herd.
Why do we use the word Rancher?? We live in Iowa and most people call themselves farmers. We say we are Ranchers, because we don't disturb the earth in any way. We don't till any land up, we don't raise any crops. We only use our tractor to feed cows! We let mother nature & a couple great hay farmers grow all the feed for our cattle.
We are first generation ranchers, and are very pleased that 2 of our children have decided to return to our ranch! Everyone said when we were young, that we couldn't start a farm or ranch, but have! And, we are very excited that our girls are choosing to come back to the ranch and expand the operation!
Addie is returning to the ranch to expand our Show Cattle operation. She has shown cattle her entire life and brought home many Championship banners. She has a heart for helping kids learn to work with their animals. She is the woman she is today because of the opportunities that showing cattle has taught her.
Jolene is home on the ranch and has expanded our operation with more laying hens!! Jolene is also our horse expert. She shows cow horses and trains our ranch horses. Many of you know Jolene for her many years working with Shanen at the Downtown Des Moines Farmers Market. She will also continue to help with the packaging and delivery of all our beef. We are very blessed and excited that our girls have decided to return to the ranch to help us feed your family.
Wyatt can't be forgotten, he is still deciding what he wants to do as he gets older. At 15, he is quickly becoming our repair & welding expert! He has a great mind for problem solving and fixing things. He helps with daily chores and enjoys showing his heifers & horses too!
Thanks for taking the time to learn about our family!
~Shanen - Mama to the MommaCows at the ECC Ranch