The Shortt family jumps at the opportunity to own their own farm in Douglas County, Mo.
Nestled along the winding back roads of Douglas County, Mo., lies a local farm-to-fork operation known as Pansy Creek Cattle Company.
Nacole and Farron Shortt, and their children Noah (14) and Yahira (15) run the day-to-day aspects of this local family- ran operation.
With both kids involved in the local FFA chapter at Ava High School, Nacole and Farron hope their children will continue to be involved in agriculture for the rest of their lives. Nacole hopes one day Noah and Yahira will have an interest in showing cattle.
“It was always Farron’s dream to have a cattle farm here in Goodhope (Mo.), where he grew up. When we got word of a farm coming up for sale, we knew we had to jump on the opportunity,” Nacole said. The family purchased the farm in 2018.
Pansy Creek Cattle Company is a 100-year-old farm sitting on 80 acres of Ozarks hill country and continues to be a work in progress. They run mostly Limousin-cross females, which are bred by a Red Angus bull.
“Farron has been the one putting in the work to make the land and herd as healthy and productive as it can be,” Nacole said.
Nacole took a grazing class through the University of Missouri Extension. Her enthusiasm for newer practices combined with Farron’s grandfather Ebb Shortt’s old-school ways, the farm is shaping up.
“Slow and steady is our plan,” Nacole said.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, consumers seemed to become concerned with their food supply, especially meat. With limited supplies of beef in stores, Nacole and Farron decided since they had beef, why not start selling beef directly to those consumers.
“We had steers that couldn’t go to the sale barns due to everything going on, so why not sell direct to the public?” recalled Nacole.
Pansy Creek Cattle Company strives to make the farm-to-fork experience easy. Not only do customers purchase beef at a comparable price, but they also have the knowledge of knowing where their beef comes from and what the cattle are fed. All cattle are pasture raised, with the Shotts offering a mineral mix, and range cubes in the winter months. Steers remain on pasture until their processing dates and are offered a custom finishing mix from H&S Feeds in Ava, Mo.
Pansy Creek Cattle has plans to market their meat to the public virtually and will continue to rely on word-of-mouth sales. They offer options to sell on-hoof, split half (quarter), half and whole to help meet every family’s needs.
“Once the steer is reserved, we arrange a butcher and offer delivery when your freezer meat is ready. The whole process of raising our calves takes about 18 months, so it feels super slow,” Nacole said.
Currently, according to Nacole, Pansy Creek Cattle has sold what they had available for 2021.
“Spring 2022 has five steers with butcher dates already scheduled. Currently, we are taking deposits on calves, but they will not be ready until spring 2022,” she said.
One thing Pansy Creek Cattle will be doing differently next year is processing cost will not be included in the liveweight price. They do their best to price beef at a competitive rate to meet the consumers’ needs while covering their operating costs. Calves are sold on-foot at market price.
“All the talk of retail cuts are still in the discussion phase,” according to Nacole.
There have been a few obstacles the family had to overcome on their path to becoming a farm-to-plate producer.
“With a butcher being almost impossible to schedule, that is something we keep in mind and will continue to be an obstacle in the future. Another consideration is the fluctuating beef market,” Nacole said. “We have faith in God and believe if we stay true to ourselves and the integrity of our product and our farm we will be just fine. Nothing worth doing is easy; and change is inevitable especially in ranch life. We continue to educate ourselves and focus on the quality of our herd and overall product when it is on your family dinner table. This is our dream, and we invite you to follow along.”
Pansy Creek Cattle Company and the Shortt family may have had a few bumps along the way, but life on the farm has a way of making the end result worth the bumps.
“Never in a million years did I think this would be my life,” Nacole said. “It has not always been easy, and we sure do not get rich. It is something you must love to do. You are solely responsible for this little cattle community, the momma’s and babies, their food, their health and overall wellbeing. I have grown to love the whole process. It is a feeling it is hard to describe honestly. I am learning more all the time.”