Renee and her two children, Jessica and Jared, operate a 60 head Angus cow/calf beef farm called S & R Angus in Weston, Wisconsin. Marathon County may be ranked first in the state for dairy production, but the rolling hills combined with the tall trees and luscious pastures also makes Weston a perfect place to raise beef cattle. These 6th generation beef farmers were built on family tradition. As many generations before them, the Radcliffe family has evolved with new technologies and consumer demands.
“Being sustainable is the only way we know how,” says Renee. “We practice rotational grazing here on the farm as well as utilizing forages like grasses and grains from the previous year’s harvest to feed our stock.” Rotational grazing is the practice of moving cattle from one pasture (also called paddock) to the next to ensure the benefit of the livestock as well as the land. This management practice promotes healthy future forage growth as well as decreased soil erosion and run-off. “How we manage our land and what we do to the soil is very important because what we do today will be reflected for multiple generations to come” Jared explains. By the promotion of healthy grass and improved soil quality through rotational grazing, the Radcliffe’s are able to pass the farm to their future children and grandchildren.
The Radcliffe’s are located very close to a residential area near Wausau, Wisconsin where a majority of the population is removed from agriculture. “We are consumers too,” Jessica explains. “We are everyday people and we eat the same things our customers and neighbors do, including our beef. It is always our goal to provide a high quality product.” Many beef farms like S & R Angus utilize superior genetics to influence the quality of product at market in addition to specific management techniques but the Radcliffe’s have an interesting family dynamic.
Matt & Scott Bayer, Renee’s brothers, own and operate a local meat market in Weston where they practice custom animal harvest and snack stick making. “Coming from a beef farm, I have a different kind of eye than many processors,” Matt says. “I can tell by the quality of the animal and what influences the farm can make to provide the most valuable product for our customers. It is our goal as a family and a piece of the community to provide the highest quality and diverse product possible.”
The Radcliffe and Bayer families work hard every day to ensure the health of their herd and businesses as well as their consumers.