Last month Kyle and I had the opportunity to visit a very special Missouri beef farm called Lady Livestock, and holy cow (pun intended), I’m so excited to share more about our visit in today’s post! Our hosts were Staci, Macey, and Emma– a mom and her two daughters, and the three of them own and operate Lady Livestock Company. I’ve gotta admit– I was a little nervous/intimidated to meet these ladies. I mean, I’m a (relatively) prissy lifestyle blogger who can barely keep her house clean, and they own and operate a working cattle farm… by themselves. Much to my surprise, not only were they super sweet and hospitable, they were running on fumes after getting home at 3AM the night before from Jonas Brothers concert in Kansas City. As soon as I heard that, I knew we’d get along fine.
Now, I’m completely oblivious when it comes to running a profitable beef farm, so first on the docket was showing me the ropes– and meeting the cows!
Next, I got to partake in the feeding. Staci, Macey, and Emma piled what looked like a dozen buckets of feed on the back of a UTV, and we headed out to the pasture. One of the first things I noticed was how calm and content the cows were. I feel like there’s a preconceived notion that farmers are cruel and inhumane to their cattle, but that couldn’t be further from what I witnessed at Lady Livestock. Not only do they have acres and acres of space to roam and graze, Staci, Macey, and Emma make sure that each and every cow gets the care and medical attention they need. Case in point– as we drove through the property, the cows jogged along beside us, trying to sneak as much food from the buckets as possible. Once we parked, they actually let me pet them, too!
Another thing I found particularly interesting was that while their cows literally graze on grass all day, Lady Livestock also feeds their cattle grain to help with the cattle feed ration (ie. to make sure their diet is balanced, kind of like having their own nutritionist). So, while all cows are technically grass-fed, grain is actually a vital part of their diet!
After feeding the cows, it was time to bushhog. Don’t worry, I had no idea what that meant either, but it’s essentially mowing huge plots of land with a tractor. Emma told me it’s her favorite farm duty because there’s a radio and it’s air conditioned (and let me tell you… it’s hot out there, y’all).
Afterwards, they showed us a little more of their beautiful (and absolutely humongous) property, and we headed back to the barn. Throughout our afternoon, though, probably my favorite topic of conversation was the stereotype about women in agriculture. Think about it. What do you picture when you think of a Midwestern female farmer? I guarantee it doesn’t look anything like this gorgeous trio. Not only are they beautiful, they’re strong and capable, and, like many female farmers, they’re making a significant impact on modern agriculture.
Here are a few statistics I found particularly interesting, according to the 2017 Census of Agriculture. (I apologize in advance for using so many percentages, but I’m a former actuary, and I love numbers.)
- 36% of American farmers are women, which is 27% increase from 2012.
- 56% of farms have at least one female producer, although only 38% have a female primary producer, ie. the person who makes the big decisions regarding day-to-day operations.
- Farms with female primary producers tend to be smaller than average in both size and value of production.
Basically, not only are there more female farmers in general, more women, like Staci, Macey, and Emma, are literally running the show. What’s even cooler about Lady Livestock, though, is that they do it all. On a beef farm with over 100 cows (for reference, the average is around 40), the three of them handle everything, from the heavy lifting to the record keeping and financial management. I feel super lucky that I got to tag along and see them in action.
Sorry in advance if this sounds like a term paper, but in conclusion, it’s looking like the future of farming is female, and empowering and supporting female farmers may literally be the key to feeding the world. Be sure to follow along with Lady Livestock on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. They’re currently taking orders through social media, so reserve some of their beef while you can. If you’re local, keep an eye out for them at the Columbia Farmer’s Market, too!
This post is sponsored by the Missouri Beef Industry Council. Follow along with them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest for updates on Missouri beef and related topics– from the farm to the fork! As always, all opinions are my own. Thank you so much for supporting the brands that make Diary of a Debutante possible!