Member Profile – Grazing Acres
A family farm located west of Elko New Market, Grazing Acres raises all-natural bison, Angus beef and beefalo. Those who work at Grazing Acres, including owner Steve Schalwig, know and love the animals, and personally care for them every single day. Steve provides background on his business in this month’s member profile.
How did you get started in the business?
Grazing Acres first started 35 years ago as a teen hobby. I raised a few farm animals that were then sold to family and friends. As word spread, more people started asking for the same high-quality meat others were enjoying. Today, we have about 200 head of bison and 200 head of cattle.
Our animals are raised without the use of antibiotics or growth hormones. They receive a diet of fresh fruit and vegetables delivered daily to the farm. When livestock is pasture-raised and grain-finished, it creates exceptional taste and tenderness. We then work with Odenthal Meats, a state-inspected, local, family-owned processor, to create the freshest and most delicious meat possible.
How are your products different from what’s typically sold in grocery stores?
One of the significant differences is how we feed and care for our animals. Our feed ration includes non-GMO corn grown on the farm that is chopped into silage. We receive daily deliveries of fresh fruit and vegetables and keep our animals on pasture until they’re ready to be finished. We don’t use steroids, hormones or antibiotics with our animals – keeping our practices natural and old-fashioned. The animals we use for processing are born and raised on the farm, so we know their history.
What products do you sell and where can they be purchased?
We sell beef and bison by the quarter, half and whole animal, or in smaller quantities. The meat can be custom cut to a customer’s preference. For those who want less meat, we offer ground and specialty cuts available by appointment for pick up at the farm.
We can be reached by phone at 612-756-2130, through our Facebook page www.facebook.com/SchalwigGrazingAcres and website www.grazingacres.com. People can also visit any of our retail or restaurant partners, including Valley Natural Foods in Burnsville, Fresh and Natural Foods in Shoreview, Mackenthun’s in St. Bonifacius, Just Food Co-op and the Tavern in Northfield, Mazopiya and Horse and Hunt Club in Prior Lake.
How have your business practices changed over the years?
We have worked with a nutritionist for many years. As alternative feeds have become available, we’ve worked with him to create a balanced diet for our animals, which provides our customers a product that is consistently high in quality.
Also, after starting with primarily individual customers, we have now increased sales by supplying restaurants and grocery stores.
Lastly, we used to market by word of mouth, but now do business through the website and Facebook.
What is the biggest challenge you face as a cattle farmer?
A farm is like any other business; one of our biggest challenges is producing a quality product at an affordable price.