The Wilmoth family not only raises cattle, but also offers their beef to customers at their businesses
MOUNT VERNON, MO. – The picturesque Wilmoth Ranch is located where the Plains meet the Missouri Ozarks, in Mount Vernon, Mo. The WR was built by Greg and Brent Wilmoth, sons of Dwight and Helen Wilmoth and is managed by Jeremy McBride. The pristine 6,000-acre ranch is home to 1,500 commercial and 500 registered Angus cow/calf pairs.
Over the decades, the Wilmoths have grown and diversified their business model in Southwest Missouri. They currently own five Hot Spot C-Stores located in Mount Vernon, Greenfield, Nevada and Stockton, Mo. They also own the TA Truck Stops in Mount Vernon and Strafford and are currently building a brand new TA Truck Stop to modernize and expand on their flagship Mount Vernon location, slated to open in late 2022.
Greg started in the cattle business with Beefmasters in the early 1980s. While he developed as a top Beefmaster breeder, he quickly discovered that the market for feeder steers and heifers wasn’t with eared cattle. Most of the Beefmaster cows were sold, and the change was made to black-hided cattle including Angus, Brangus and SimAngus bulls. Today the bull battery is 100-percent Angus.
The decision was made 10 years ago to begin using genomic testing to choose which heifers to retain as replacement cows. Time and time again the Angus rose to the top, both maternally and on carcass merit.
Registered Angus sires are used in their breeding and selection program. All calves born at WR are Age-Source Verified through Angus Link.
“It all came full circle when we began feeding out and harvesting our own cattle for our beef program,” Kathy Wilmoth, Greg’s wife, said. “Getting that carcass data back showed that we definitely made the right choice with Angus. They continually grade above the other breeds.”
All the packaged beef that carries the WR brand is born, raised and fed at the ranch in Lawrence County, Mo. All of the WR Beef sold is graded USDA Prime or Choice. A portion of the meat goes to the Show Me Beef program. Greg then buys back tenderloins, rib eyes and other boxed primal cuts. The boxed beef is then transported from Missouri Prime Packers in Pleasant Hope, to Chet and Bill’s in Marshfield to be cut and packaged to their specifications. The WR-labeled beef is then stored at their warehouse where it is distributed for sale at the Hot Spot convenience stores and the TA Truck Stop in Strafford, Mo. A burger ordered at The Café or one of the Hot Spot C-Stores, it’s 100-percent WR beef, family-owned and operated.
“It all came full circle when we began feeding out and harvesting our own cattle for our beef program.”
— Kathy Wilmoth
“If we have 50 roasts and we only need 20, we grind the rest into the hamburger,” Greg explained.
Also on the menu is New York strip, rib eye, fillet, sirloin, brisket, French dip sandwiches, burnt ends and steak fajitas.
The WR utilizes rotational grazing through 40-acre paddocks. The cattle are grass-fed and finished on corn silage and corn, all grown locally or at the ranch. They also grow all of their own hay. They utilize both spring and fall breeding.
Their focus is continuous improvement with the goal of raising cattle that offer superior maternal and carcass merit, fertility, uniformity and performance.
Through extensive embryonic transfer using both homegrown and purchased embryos, they have about 150 (ET) babies a year, to develop their own turn-out bulls. The calves are weaned at seven months, vaccinated at 3 months and receive their booster at 6 months. They also sell a few select registered Angus bulls on their website.
During the height of the COVID virus, Greg and Kathy had real concerns about how they would process their beef and get it to the public. In early 2021, Missouri Prime Beef Packers opened Pleasant Hope, Mo. On the first run, Greg took 14 head for processing. That meat sold in their stores in just three days. Today, they take 40 head at a time.
The Wilmoths are building a brand proprietary to their locations.
“We are currently working on our online store which will enable us to ship all over the U.S.,” Greg explained. “I have had a lot of requests to ship our beef to both the East and West coast.”
“This started out as just a hobby,” Greg said.
The Wilmoth’s plans for the future is to continue building the ranch for their children and grandchildren.