Focus 2018: Get it Here

FOCUS Weekend, Feb. 24-25, 2018 Get It Here Inside Edith Joi wants you to feel beautiful — the owners promise. Page 3 Dapper Diapers provides an ecologically friendly service. Page 5 Super busy? Let grocery stores do the shopping for you. Page 8 Kearney Hub BEEF CLUB, PAGE 7 By LORI POTTER Hub Staff Writer KEARNEY — Chris Rowe had no agriculture background when, as a Kansas City area high school student, he became fascinated with the cattle industry. But step-by-step, job-by-job during the years, he acquired the knowledge and funds to reach his goal in 2010 to be a cattleman. He bought a Dawson County ranch six miles north of Willow Island, where he rebuilt the cattle feeding facilities and started tapping into his “file of ideas.” Rowe Cattle Company features a custom cow- calf drylot feeding program. Rowe also rents 6,000 acres of cornstalks for custom winter feeding of more than 1,000 head of cattle. In 2014, he started Beef Club. Customers can purchase the equivalent of a whole, half or quarter of locally grown and fed beef. Each month, in 12 installments, the company delivers a box of vacuum-packaged ground beef, steaks and roasts. Rowe’s goal is to serve a niche market between people who regularly purchase beef at stores and those who buy in bulk, which requires a lot of freezer storage space. “We’re just dividing it up, break it up to a different price point and quantity so you don’t have to take it all at once,” he explained. Getting started Rowe said he didn’t want to go to college after graduating from high school in 1999, but still want- ed to learn things. So he signed up for community college classes that interested him. He worked with a friend who also had no agricul- ture background but wanted to develop a Johnson County farm in the Kansas City area. The friend earned money by mowing commercial lots, seeding grass at new construction areas and baling hay for urban residents with horses. Rowe hauled the hay and resold it to a customer base he built farther west in Kansas. He moved to Hays because it was in the center of his business area. “It got me onto the ranches and the dairies,” Rowe said about the hay business’ role in his cattle education. When he got tired of trucking, he moved to Gothenburg and sold seed corn for All Points Cooperative for two years. He returned to the cab in 2009-2010 to take advantage of the money to be made transporting oversized tanks and other equip- ment from Texas to the North Dakota oil fields. “I don’t know if I took the long way or the short way,” Rowe said about getting the money needed to buy his ranch. Ranch business Developing a drylot cow-calf feeding program allows 400 pairs to be custom fed — corn, distillers grain and hay — on four acres for less money than if they were on a grass program, he said. During the winter, Rowe rents 6,000 acres of corn- stalks to custom feed more than 1,000 head of cattle. “Everything this year is from central and western Nebraska,” he said about the variety of cattle on the cornstalks, including some registered beef. Past customers have been from Kansas, Colorado and South Dakota. Rowe said they determined it was more economical to send their cattle to him for win- ter grazing than to use other feeding alternatives. “I have no weekend hobbies,” Rowe said with a smile. “The trade-off is I enjoy what I do every day. The trick to that is making it profitable.” Beef Club Rowe is building Beef Club in a similar way by sourcing the inputs from other businesses and then marketing the beef and delivery service. He buys beef cattle from another first-generation rancher, Johnathan Garwood of Eustis. The less- Chris Rowe/Beef Club CHRIS ROWE FULFILLED a dream in 2010 by buying a Dawson County Ranch north of Willow Island. In 2014, he started Beef Club through which customers purchase the equivalent of a whole, half or quarter of locally grown and fed beef. A boxed mix of vacuum-packed ground beef, roasts and steaks is delivered monthly, with 12 installments. Beef Rowe’s meat isn’t what you’ ll find in a grocery store Club “We want people to eat Beef Club beef all the time ... on your plate two to three times a week and in your freezer all the time.” Chris Rowe