Brian and Sarah Gripe focus on developing high-quality beef for the best price
LOCKWOOD, MO. – After working in the food industry, Brian Gripe and family moved back to Southwest Missouri a few years ago to be closer to family, near to the farm where he was raised.
Today, Brian and Sarah Gripe and their children Liam and Amelia live on a 400-acre farm north of Lockwood, Mo., near the Sylvania community, on which they raise beef intended for direct sale to consumers.
The Gripes, also members of the “Missouri Grown” program, have been marketing beef under their own label for about two years now, and handle the process from farm to freezer – usually delivering to the customer in person.
“We decided to do it this way since we both love farming and agriculture as well as being out and interacting with people,” said Sarah.
Having met while students at the University of Missouri, both Brian and Sarah Gripe were in the employ of a major retailer when in 2014 they concluded it was time to make a change. Wanting to raise their children closer to home for both, and in the country, the Gripes relocated to an acreage near his parents’ homeplace, where they soon began building up a herd of beef cattle, with animals selected to fit particular criteria.
“We realize there’s a difference between the meat you can get at the store and the product we’re offering, and a need to sell it differently to consumers,” said Sarah.
The herd was developed over a couple of years, using Polled Hereford and Angus or Angus-crosses as the base stock. Brian said he had particular qualities in mind when he purchased each animal, and he knows all of the animals in the herd, which has grown to about 100 head. The cattle breeds used for the base stock were chosen based on which animals tended to perform the best on the Gripes’ acreage.
“My focus has been on developing quality, and on trying to develop the highest quality at the best price for our customers. We try to keep costs low to provide better value.”
— Brian Gripe
“We determined that using the Angus and Polled Hereford breeds would provide us with the best quality and value for our operation,” Brian said.
Animals are raised on grass and finished on a grain feed, making use of a proprietary ration developed by working with MU animal nutritionists. The end goal is to produce beef that has abundant marbling with tenderness and good flavor.
“My focus has been on developing quality, and on trying to develop the highest quality at the best price for our customers,” said Brian. “We try to keep costs low to provide better value.”
Also, Brian said as a practice, they do their best to keep things as natural as possible, and avoid having to use antibiotics, doing so only when absolutely necessary.
When it comes time for the animals to be processed, Brian said he has an arrangement with a USDA-inspected processor for preparation according to the Gripes’ standards and to package and label the beef for sale. All animals processed for sale under the Gripes label were bred and raised on the farm, and if sales growth trends continue, Brain said he anticipates sending 50 head to process next year.
After processing, the Gripes will then often deliver the end product direct to the consumer, sometimes driving as far as Kansas City (where Sarah grew up).
Many sales are made via their website, at www.gripefarms.com, and customers are also welcome to observe the farm and view the care the animals receive, even in person.
All members of the Gripe family are involved in raising their cattle, with Liam and Amelia helping with farm duties like feeding the animals, mending fence, and other chores.
The kids have taken part in youth programs, like 4-H, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, helping to care for a small flock of chickens as a project, as well as a few cats and dogs.
“The kids work on the farm, growing up and learning to do what I did,” said Brian.