Bits and pieces of the history of Faith Family & Beef (FFB) can be found strewn about on this site and at various events where I’ve spoken, but nowhere can the whole story be found in one place. That is until now…
Back to the (very) beginning.
The history of FFB cannot be told without a little bit of the history of T (that’s me).
I grew up on a feed yard (the same one where my family has been raising beef for more than 40 years) and went to college and studied feed yard management. I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in animal science with an emphasis in feed yard management and went to work on the animal health crew at a corporate feed yard. I worked at the same feed yard for more than seven years.
Those were some of the very best years of my life. I married my favorite human. We brought two of our three babies home. I formed lasting relationships with those I worked with. During that time, my husband and I started a small herd of our own that we still run in partnership with my in-laws today. I was learning all I could and was on my way to becoming a manager. And if not for Mr. FFB receiving an offer for his dream job, I might never have left the feed yard.
But, alas – God’s plan is not always our own.
Mr. FFB did receive (and accept) an offer for his dream job. And I did leave the feed yard. I mean, I did stay on at the feed yard for a while after we moved to the ranch. I was reluctant to leave because feed yards were kinda my thing – I loved it there. I loved getting up at the butt crack of dawn every morning and smelling the fresh cow poop (which I still get to do, really). I loved the work and my co-workers. And if I’m being completely honest, I just wasn’t entirely excited about the (huge) learning curve that would come with full-time ranch life, where everything is different and every day that they’re not in school is take-your-kid-to-work-day.
But the leaving the house at 5:30 a.m., driving 90 miles round trip, to get home at nearly 7:00 p.m. six days a week eventually took their toll. So, after some major prayer, a little fit-throwing, and a whole lotta ugly tears – the decision was made. In late September 2013, I resigned my post at the feed yard and began my new life on the ranch.
My dream job.
While I was still at the feed yard a co-worker asked, “What is your dream job?” to which I answered, “I’m living it! But if I wasn’t doing this, I would love to talk about beef and help others become as confident in it as we are.”
The early years of my tenure at the feed yard were also the early years of social media. Facebook was but a babe and Instagram hadn’t even been born yet, but even then there was a disconnect between many of those eating the food and those of us growing the food. It was a sign of a healthy growing society.
We’d done so well for ourselves that we’d already enjoyed generations where folks were able to diversify and focus on things other than growing their own food. Which is great – it truly is. But between the generations of removal from agriculture and the explosion of social media, I watched the disconnect grow into straight up fear. And, quite frankly, it hurt my heart – a lot.
With all the other things we’ve got going on, the last thing we should have to worry about is our food. But at the same time, I understood it. We fear what we don’t know, and while I’d been immersed and educated in agriculture (specifically beef) my whole life, there were so many others who hadn’t. So, I made a promise to myself (in 2009) to help others know beef.
Being full-time at the feed yard was no joke – full-time, so I started small. I made good on my promise in little ways – grocery store conversations, a short column called The Beef Bite in the local newspaper, little blurbs on my own social media, and pretty much any other way I could find to sneak the story of beef in during daily life. I felt like I had it all, doing what I loved and sharing it too. I couldn’t imagine life any other way.
There’s no doubt that leaving the feed yard was one of the tougher decisions of my life. But I can see now that God had a greater plan for me. He planned this move. He planned for me to trade one passion for another. He knew the move from working full-time at the feed yard to becoming full-time stay on the ranch mom would give me the time I needed to share the story of beef on a much grander scale. And on February 11, 2014, after some encouragement from friends and mentors, Faith Family & Beef was born.
From the very beginning, I wanted this to be a place where you could find beefy recipes, find out how to handle all the leftover pot roast, grill the perfect burger, and discover the best sides to accompany beef. And more than that, I wanted this to be a place where you could feel comfortable coming to get honest answers to your questions about how beef is raised and catch a glimpse of how cattle are cared for. I wanted it all to be sprinkled with humor, inspiration, and lots (and lots) of photos from our everyday ranch life.
Over the years, FFB has grown and evolved into something I could have never imagined. I’ve grown and learned quite a bit along the way too. But one thing that has and always will remain constant here is my passion for helping others become as comfortable with, and confident in, beef as I am.
Moral of the story.
I’m beyond grateful that you’re here. And I hope you stick around, because there’s so much more to come!
PS – as always, feel free to drop me a line or leave your beef-related questions in the comments. 😉