Gleason Cattle Company

"This is not the farm journey we envisioned but we are stronger for where we have been."

Hi everyone! I am Katrina Gleason from Gleason Cattle Company in Shullsburg Wis. My husband, Chad, and I along with our four kids own and operate Gleason Cattle Company in the beautiful rolling hills of southwest Wisconsin. Our farm is a diversified operation meaning we have different species of animals and crops we grow. We have a cow-calf herd, dairy cross steers we've raised from calves, pigs, chickens, sheep, goats, and horses. We raise our own feed and cash crop soybeans, some corn, and several blends of hay. Our farm has changed a lot from where we started in 2007. 

From 2007 to 2016 we raised dairy bull calves from local dairy farms. They came here at a couple of days old and stayed until they reached market weight. We were known for high-quality beef that was sold primarily to colored cattle (beef breed) processors. In December 2016, thre days before Christmas, we received a call from our buyer. He told us our processor had changed their program rules and that he was sorry, but he couldn't buy our beef anymore. Our premiums (extra money paid per head for high-quality meat, Certified Angus beef status, etc.) that made us profitable were gone! The following year, we started increasing our direct-to-consumer beef sales to offset our market loss.

After 2 years of cutting costs, changing to dairy and beef cross calves, and trying different market options we gave up on the hope our market would return. Our direct-to-consumer meat business continued to grow and so did the requests for smaller bundles and individual cuts of meat. In Wisconsin, a farm needs to pass inspection and have the proper licensing and permits to sell individual cuts directl to consumers and/or at farmer's markets. In January 2019, I came outside to find my husband with a sledgehammer in his hands, standing in the old summer kitchen. We were going to have a meat shop! Spontaneous ideas are nothing new on our farm, but a meat shop had been my dream, not his. In July 2019 we passed our inspections and started selling individual cuts directly from our farm.

Another big change to our plans happened when we took over the management of an elderly couple's beef herd. The herd was Hereford and Shorthorn cross cows of every shade of red and roan. This small herd consisted of multiple generations of family lines and they earned a place in our hearts and became our herd. Our oldest cow left us at the age of 16, but her legacy lives on in her daughters, granddaughters and great-granddaughters in our herd. We always said we would never own beef cows, but now we can't imagine not having them.

In March 2020, during the pandemic, we received our final push to go 100% direct-to-consumer sales. Our sale barn manager called and said, "Don't bring me cattle. If you do I can't guarantee they will sell, and if they do you won't get what they are worth. You have your meat shop right?" My husband responded, "Yes." The manager replied, "Good, sell them all that way!" If I told you that didn't scare us and feel like a punch to the gut it would be a lie. That was the last time we tried to market through a commercial option. Over a year later, every animal that leaves here, lamb, pigs, and beef goes direct to families as quarters, halves, or whole animals or comes back to the farm as individual cuts for direct sale or to stock retail locations. Watch this video to see just a small sample of what we do in our meat shop to connect families with their food. ➡️

This is not the farm journey we envisioned but we are stronger for where we have been. There isn't less work now, just different work. Enjoy where life takes you. Don't miss the moments along the way! If you want to follow along on social media, you can find us @GleasonCattleCompany.

Let's talk about a that recipe I love to encourage everyone to try at least once. This recipe can be modified for a slow cooker, grill, or electric pressure cooker. Use it for beef back ribs or beef short ribs.

Easy Root Beer Ribs 


  • 1 medium onion 
  • 2-4 tbsp your favorite seasoning. (A barbecue rub or seasoning salt for example) 
  • 2-4lbs of your favorite rib (see the graphic below for help deciding which is right for your cooking preference) 
  • 1 can of your favorite root beer 
  • 1-1 1/2 cups your favorite bbq sauce 


  • Season all sides of your ribs with the seasoning. About 1 tablespoon per lb. 
  • Quarter your onion and place in the bottom of the slow cooker or pressure cooker. 
  • Place the ribs on top of the onions and pour the root beer carefully over the ribs. 
  • Cook the ribs in a slow cooker on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. 
  • Pour the sauce over the ribs and cook for another hour. 
  • Enjoy! If you use an electric pressure cooker, cook on high pressure for 35 minutes on beef setting then add sauce and repeat setting. You can add time until they reach your desired tenderness.

Gleason Cattle Company

Shullsburg, WI


Cows are bred and calves are born and raised every year on cow-calf farms and ranches, spending time grazing on grass pastures within sight of their mothers.

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