It’s calving season on the windswept prairie of southwest Kansas, and Bradon Wiens is heading out to the pasture to check on some new additions to his herd of Wagyu cattle.

Bradon is a fourth-generation farmer whose family can trace a legacy in Kansas agriculture back to the late 1800s. He and his wife, Rachael, and their three boys live on the family farm in Meade, Kansas, about an hour south of Dodge City.

“I got into Wagyu because I’m also a foodie. I love a good steak,” said Bradon. “In my searching, I started running across Wagyu, not as something I thought was a potential for us but just something I wanted to try.”

As Bradon was researching options to transition the farm from a backgrounding to a cow-calf operation, he came across a specialty beef that’s known for its rich flavor. He tried the steak and was immediately impressed with the taste.

Eager to learn more, Bradon contacted a fellow producer who had experience raising Wagyu beef, and through these conversations he learned the particulars of raising this breed. Bradon also learned about Wagyu beef’s health benefits, including low saturated fat and healthy amino acids, as well as the meat’s low melting point of around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. In 2015, Wiens Wagyu was born.

“Most cattle guys (myself included), before we got into Wagyu, we did not see where the product went, we didn’t have that connection to the consumer,” said Bradon. “We have that connection now, and so we had to learn how to build a brand, how to market and how to work with the consumer.”

In about six years, Wiens Wagyu has grown from a few animals to a herd of over 100 head with genetics linking them back to a sire bull in Japan. The company sells cuts of meat and beef jerky directly to consumers through their website, and to the popular Dempsey’s Burger Pub in Wichita.

Rachael said the main challenge for their business has been educating consumers about Wagyu beef. The couple film cooking videos, post delicious photos to social media and find new buyers online. As consumers become more conscious about their health and the way their food is produced, businesses like Wiens Wagyu beef have flourished.

“We have been able to raise these animals from birth all the way to butcher, and it’s a special thing to know that we care for these animals their whole life,” said Rachael. “They don’t change hands several times. [Wagyu] is definitely worth trying … you may be surprised at the flavor and you can actually tell the difference in the end product.”

The lifestyle of farming has also allowed Bradon and Rachael to focus on their growing family. Growing up, Bradon learned important life lessons from his father Jerome and his grandfather while working on the farm and tending to the animals. Today, Bradon is able to pass on the same life lessons to his young sons Beau, Jake and Max.

“Farming is a lifestyle that I wanted to have to raise a family. That’s a big reason I do this, to involve my boys in what I do,” said Bradon. “I can eat lunch with them, I can pick up my son and go check cattle and have him ride the tractor with me. I can still be a dad and I can farm at the same time.”

Debra Stegman, Vice President of Lending at American AgCredit, has worked with the family for years, beginning with Bradon’s father, Jerome.

“The Wiens’ are excellent people to work with and young and beginning farmers,” said Debra. “It’s been great to watch the family grow, and we’re really privileged to help them out with their farming operation.”

As Bradon has continued to educate consumers and grow the Wagyu beef business, the family has been able to expand the farm by purchasing a neighboring property. He said that working with a lender focused on agriculture has helped their operation grow and take advantage of new opportunities.

“My dad has worked with American AgCredit and I know it’s a cooperative, and that I have some ownership as a customer. I know I’m going to get good service and to have people working for me,” said Bradon. “It’s just been a great partnership all around.”



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