44 Farms

I heard of 44 Farms over a year ago. I kept seeing Blood Bros. BBQ in Houston smoke 44 Farms beef products. I met some of the folks at 44 Farms for the first time at the 2015 Houston BBQ Festival. They were really nice and invited me out to the farm. Since that meeting, I have seen 44 Farms everywhere and have run into them at a few events that they have sponsored. Amber and I have been busy and, we finally had a free weekend in April. Bentley is the first Pembroke Welsh Corgi we adopted when we were about a year into our dating relationship. We got him when was two months old, and he turns 11 this year. He recently was diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy which is essentially ALS for dogs. Corgis are naturally herders, and we have always wondered if he had the instinct. We took him along on our visit to 44 knowing his days were getting numbered.
44 Farms was founded in 1909. The story of how the farm got its name is pretty simple. They were trying to brand the cattle with something easy. What is more easier than a few straight lines? Smart. The farm is located in Cameron, and only seedstock cattle are kept here. The cattle are Black Angus and are bred with a proven genetic profile. Angus is resistant to harsh weather, adaptable, well behave, and mature early. There is a lot of thought and science that go into this process. They want to raise cattle that will provide genetics that will produce high quality beef. Normally the bulls and heifers are ready to be sold after weaning (typically after 11-12 months). Some buyers want them to be a little bit older. There is a sale a few times a year where the public can come in and buy the cattle. Some of the bulls can go for a pretty penny. One bull went for $195,000 in the February sale!
Prized cattle
Auction hall
Definitions:
•Cow: female animal that has had at least one calf.
•Heifer: female animal that has never had a calf. Once a heifer has a calf, she automatically becomes a cow.
•Bull: mature male animal that is used for breeding.
•Steer: male animal that has been neutered.

Joshua Broussard (Sales & Operations Analyst) was the one who gave us a tour. We learned a lot, and it was a neat experience. You know I love my beef. I eat a ton of it. I wanted to see the process of breeding and raising it. The 3,500 acres farm is owned by Bob McLaren. Does the name sound familiar? He was once the Houston Astros president. The cattle are fed silage that comprises of cotton, corn, and sorghum. The farm itself is pretty self-sufficient. It is a working ranch, not a factory. Everything needed for the fodder is grown here. The cattle never receive hormones, antibiotics, or feed additives of any kind. Because of their genetics, the cattle grow quicker and more efficiently. There is also a calf buyback program where 44 will buy offsprings of their bulls and heifers that meet requirements. These calves will be ready for harvest when they are about 1,200-1250 pounds.
Fodder
Wildfire
It was nice to ride around the farm. There is so much land for the cattle to roam and graze. We met their "mascot," Wildfire. He is retired and just hanging out these days. The cattle live in a low stress environment. They are branded using dry ice or liquid nitrogen because it is painless. I would not want to be branded with a hot iron either. 44 uses donkeys to protect the cattle from predators. The recent drought killed quite a few trees so they built roofed structures to provide shade for the animals. They really do take care of the cattle here. Harvesting takes place in Hereford and packaging in Amarillo. I might have to make a trek there someday. When the beef is harvested, 98% of the carcasses are graded Choice or higher with Prime being 18%. Prime grade beef only makes up about 2% of the market so with what 44 Farms is putting into their beef program, it is working.
Branding iron
Amber, Bentley, and I had a great time on the farm. Bentley was a little timid around the cows. Every time one would come up to him, he would bark or run away. He was a happy, tired, little guy on the car ride home though. Thanks to Josh for showing us around. It was so peaceful and quiet on the farm. I wish I could camp out there. The folks at 44 Farms believe in their product. They show passion and commitment to the cattle. They are very transparent and stand by their program. The next sale will be on October 22nd, and you can bet on that I will be there. #knowyourrancher
Bentley with the cows
Until next time, happy smoking...

Address: 963 PR 44, Cameron, Texas 76520
Phone: (254) 697-4401
Website: https://www.44farms.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/44FarmsAngus
Twitter: https://twitter.com/44Farms

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