Angelina All Natural Beef
Oh beef, one of my FAVORITE topics to discuss! As a meat judger, I love learning about meat science, which is why I was in HEAVEN visiting the home of Angelina's All-Natural Beef! The owner of this business is Kim Yates, who I had the true honor of meeting. I was mind blown and truly inspired as an agriculturist when visiting and touring with her. The history, her stories, her passion for science...oh I just want to be this woman when I'm older!!
This is Kim Yates and her personal trailer that she has decked out to sell her cuts in. Isn't this the cutest thing EVER??? I am obsessed with this!
Just like any other rancher, there is always a story of where they began their brand and legacy. The Yates were both children of farmers, and grandchildren of strong cattle ranchers, so they have been around that lifestyle all of their lives. After Kim went to college and graduated, she pursued a career in the pharmaceutical field, where she continued to grow in her love for science and medicine for 16 years. Later on, Kim and her husband had a desire to start up their own cattle operation, which led them to resign from their jobs and save every penny to start what is now known as Angelina All Natural Beef operation today.
When I say there is history within this business, I mean there is a unique history to the purpose of the name of the ranch! The purpose of the name "Angelina" comes from a powerful Native American woman who was a translator and guide in the 1700s for natives and Europeans. In this role, she was a major part in mediating, negotiating, and bringing peace between the Indian, Spanish, and French peoples (remember Sacagawea? That is similar to what Angelina did). This woman did many things and made positive impacts on our state which has gotten us to where we are today. In Texas, Angelina is honored by having a national park, river, and county named after her. According to the Women in Texas History website, Angelina is "... the only woman in the state [Texas] to have been accorded this recognition."
Within this operation, there is much thought and science that goes into the Yates family production. Everything is natural and grass-fed. No grain, no chemicals, nada! Everything from replenishing nutrients in the soil to building fly resistance in her herd is done naturally. When feeding, her pastures have diverse forages throughout each portion of the land (think of it like a food court in a mall, so many choices all in one place)! If there are weeds, no problem! Many think the solution to these concerns is through chemical application; however, that ruins the purpose of the all-natural aspect for Angelina Beef. So Kim thought of seeing weeds in a different light...WHY are they coming up? If there are so many seeds in the topsoil, how does this particular weed pop up and not ALL of them at once? (I was mind blown at this idea, so let that sink in). With this mindset, Kim researches the particular weed that pops up at that time and sees what mother nature is trying to tell her. For example, Kim mentioned how goat weed popped up commonly in her pastures. This only meant that the soils were too compacted for oxygen and water to seep through and the soil was depleted in calcium (Ca). Knowing this, Kim was able to replenish the soils with natural lime and as the goat weed died, space created tunnels for oxygen and water to reach other root systems for other plants. Isn't that insane? The thinking process that goes into this new idea is mindblowing in my eyes. Not only that, but Kim is big on regenerative agriculture, where she defines it as caring for the soil and land to regenerate itself without chemical inputs, herbicides, chemical fertilizers, etc. Kim repetitively mentioned that she was simply not overseeing cattle, but she was managing an ecosystem. It is important to her to take care of her land, even if it's as small as a single blade of grass.
One of the things she takes care of on her land is her dung beetles. This might sound weird for those that are unaware of their importance, but for Kim, it is essential for her forage nutrient needs to help meet her herd's nutritional requirements. These dung beetles play a role in her regenerative agriculture practices by decomposing the feces of her cattle and horses into the soil, which can help with the soil microbiology and kill off fly larva without using harmful chemicals. Dung beetles also sequester carbon back into the soil, as much as 1 ton of carbon per acre. Oh, and remember when I mentioned that she takes GOOD care of her dung beetles? Yeah, they had a researcher from Tennessee come out to conduct an experiment on her land, involving the dung beetles, and estimated that there were around 20,000 dung beetles on just her property. THAT IS AMAZING! This is because her business practices safe methods so these dung beetles can live and continue doing their good work. Along with her management of the ecosystem, Kim works hard to genetically improve her herd through natural selection. This, of course, includes the muscling and characteristics of the animal for the best breeding and profitability outcomes, but there is something she does that I've never seen before. She also genetically improves fly resistance in cattle so that she does not have to use chemicals. Kim does this by observing new bull calves in a paddock to analyze and select bulls for breeding (which she additionally determines through a combination of body condition and muscle development). This natural selection of fly-resistant bulls can be beneficial in the long run, where the goal is to have a beef production that has high, if not complete, resistance to flies in their pastures. All of these factors not only help Kim maintain the goals and standards within her beef products, but also helps with increasing profit by decreasing inputs.
Kim started her business primarily for the victims of severe illnesses that were not able to enjoy red meats like everyone else. Her primary target is for everyone and anyone, but the benefits are higher for those who have/had autoimmune disease, cancer, type 1 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, etc. that require ultra-clean protein that is lower in bad cholesterol, saturated fats, and are needing a leaner protein. Now, is the quality within their cattle going to be prime steak material? Not exactly, but that's not the business they are trying to advertise for, nor sell towards. The primary purpose of their production is to give food options to those that have restrictions to consume red meats due to their health status. Kim states that "there is no wrong way to do it, just a different way to do it." and I couldn't agree more. The difference between her production and others is that she sees her ranch as an ecosystem to tend to, rather than a herd. The Yates do their job tending the land which tends to their herd. They make sure to stand by their mission and goals in all that they do and express the importance of their practice to all of their customers. I could go on and on talking about all the amazing things they do. The production they have started is so important, and they do it well. There are things many individuals overlook because it may not make the most money, nor be the most popular thing. However, for them to take on something so unique and make it look good makes me so proud to be part of the agriculture industry. It takes a lot of work to achieve success like this, and that's what makes them outstanding agriculturists. Businesses like this are what I advocate for, and I'm honored to have the opportunity to learn more about what they do and how they've accomplished it.
Thanks for reading and don't forget to thank a farmer! Have a blessed day and a FANTASTIC summer!