3E Cattle Company owner Jason Goad said they are working to improve the carcass quality of their calves. Submitted Photo.
3E Cattle Company owner Jason Goad said they are working to improve the carcass quality of their calves. Submitted Photo.

Jason Goad works to protect the environment, be efficient and economical

BRADFORD, ARK. – When Jason Goad began raising cattle eight years ago, he would keep a calf or two back to provide his family with beef. Then a neighbor or two asked about farm-raised beef; then a few other people did too.

Last year, Jason processed 12 steers and has plans for about 18 or 20 this year.

“It caught on, I guess,” Jason said. “We weren’t making anything on our calves by taking them to the sale, so we just started finishing them all out and selling them for the beef.”

Calves used in the beef program are born at 3E Cattle Company. Jason said he strives to keep his herd healthy and productive, which produces higher-quality calves.

Jason and his family – wife Mary, and children Emma, Elianna and Evan – operate 3E Cattle Company in Bradford, Ark. Jason said the 3E name originally signified the names of his children, but since beginning farm-to-plate sales, the Goads added another meaning to their operation’s name.

“We are trying to protect the environment, be efficient and economical,” Jason explained. “We want to do the best job we can raising cows and try to keep the price down so people can afford the beef.”

The 3E herd is made up of 22 commercial cows, mostly females of Hereford and Angus influence. Jason is currently utilizing a Balancer bull, which he said will improve the carcass quality of the calves in the beef program.

“We have been playing around and picked out this bull for better beef characteristics, like a bigger ribeye,” Jason said. “We are trying to get the cows and the bulls so we can raise the best beef we can and do most of it on grass.”

Jason said he purchased a few Braunvieh cross females but is phasing those females out to reduce the frame size on his calves.

“It’s kind of what we got started with,” Jason said. “We are weeding those out and going to a medium frame because they finish out quicker. We want to move the herd to cattle that gain well on grass and make a quality steak in the end. We have kept a lot of heifers from the Gelbvieh bull we ran before.”

“We are antibiotic-free, and if I have to treat something, we pull it out of the beef program.”

— Jason Goad

Cattle for the 3E beef program do receive some grain, a mix of whole corn from a local producer and rice bran from a local mill, but cattle have access to hay and pasture as well.

“We plant summer and winter annuals,” Jason explained. “We have sorghum Sudan in the summer, and we have done wheat in the winter in the past, but this year we’re switching to some Max Q fescue that I don’t have to replant each year. It’s supposed to have the positive side of fescue, but not the endophyte. We want to keep our cattle on pasture as long as possible; cattle are never put in a lot. They can come in and eat, then go back out to graze, eat hay or whatever.”

In addition to dry-aged and grain-finished beef, Jason and his family can also offer a grass-finished option to their customers.

“We keep those calves out on pasture with the cows,” he explained. “They really aren’t much different than our grain-finished because our calves don’t get grain that long, and calves aren’t on full feed. Keeping them on grass helps keep them healthier than on full feed because you don’t have to be so picky on the feed because they are still getting what they need from hay or pasture. I have a few people who are interested in grass-finished, but most of my customers just want farm-raised beef.”

The average hanging weight for the 3E beef program is about 620 pounds. Ideally, Jason would rather run all steers through the beef program because he said the heifers he fed out in the past were a little problematic.

“I did all steers last year,” he said. “I like to retain heifers, when I can and when I have a different bull, but all the heifers I have now are out of the bull we currently have. I haven’t decided if I will feed them out or sell them. It will depend on what I need and if I have enough to do without them. I can do what I did last year, which was sell the heifers and get steers from my dad (Harvey Goad, Jr.) and brother (Justin Goad) to take their place. I know where the cattle come from, and I know how they are raised; they are raised like I raise my cattle.”

If he does have to add steers, calves are bought at weaning and quickly make the transition to the 3E operation. 

Animals are vaccinated annually, and calves are dewormed at weaning and put on pasture.

“It’s worked out pretty well,” Jason said. “I have never had one get sick. I am advertising beef, and I want to offer healthy beef. We are antibiotic-free, and if I have to treat something, we pull it out of the beef program. We have been really been blessed because we haven’t had to treat anything yet.”

The herd is both spring and fall calving. Initially, Jason wanted his herd to calve in February and March, but things didn’t work out the way he wanted.

“I still have those fall calves,” Jason said with a laugh. “It’s not intentional, but it’s the way it’s ended up.”

When they began their beef sales, the Goads offered quarters, halves and wholes. In 2021, they began to offer USDA-inspected cuts.

“I don’t have enough interest in that side yet,” Jason said. “We are going to try it again and see how it goes. I like the halves, quarters and wholes if we can sell them all. That is really the easiest way to do it, and you have less overhead and time involved in it.

“When COVID hit, the shortages in the supply chains really got more people interested in finding local beef because they couldn’t depend on the system to supply it. When you depend on four companies for something, and one of them goes down, that makes a big hole in the supply chain. We started offering beef before COVID, but that really woke people up.”

Eventually, Jason would like to leave his job as a pipeline worker and become a full-time cattleman, but there are a few limiting factors, especially pasture availability. The family currently owns and rents about 170 acres and tries to make the most of what they have.

“I don’t want to get really big, but I would like to get to where we can support our family just with the farm,” Jason said. “We are about at our maximum with what we have. We are concentrating on improving our soil and building the organic matter with our rotational grazing, and planting annuals to keep something growing all the time if we are grazing it or not.”


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