"We choose to farm to carry on the Grove Family farming tradition and to instill in our two children a strong work ethic, respect for the land, and old-time values."
We are the Grove family from Columbus, WI, the owners and operators of Grove Farms Beef. Ben is a sixth-generation family farmer, and Meghann is the lucky girl he brought home to the farm to be his bride. We have a son and a daughter, who we raise on the Grove Family Homestead originally settled in 1845.
We choose to farm to carry on the Grove Family farming tradition and to instill in our two children a strong work ethic, respect for the land, and old-time values. In the 1990s, Grove Farms was primarily a dairy farm; however, after the dairy herd was sold, the farm was strictly involved in crop farming for many years. In 2018, we purchased a small cow herd to better use the resources available to us here at the farm and to introduce our two children to a life with livestock.
At Grove Farms, we are currently raising Hereford (red with white faces) and Angus (solid black) cattle, and their crosses (black with white faces). Both are beef breeds we prefer because of their physical build, their ability to put on muscle and retain fat, and their temperaments. We hope to grow our cow herd a little bit each year, thereby increasing the rate at which we can provide our customers with high-quality, farm-raised beef.
Our cows (the mamas) are exclusively grass-fed - whether they are out on pasture or being supplied with baled hay. Our cattle who have been assigned to the beef herd (meaning they will not be used as breeding stock but finished as beef) are provided hay as well as grain. Our grain supplement, a combination of corn, oats, mineral, and distillers’ grain, is mixed here on the farm. Our beef cattle are not rationed and can choose between hay or grain as they like. We choose to grain-finish our beef cattle to increase the level of marbling in the muscle, resulting in juicier, more tender, and flavorful beef.
Prior to diversifying our farm with the addition of beef cattle, Grove Farms was a crop farm, growing corn, soybeans, and winter wheat. Having both cropland and beef cattle is advantageous for us because each can benefit the other. For example, after our winter wheat is harvested in late summer, we plant a cover crop in its place. Our cover crop blend, consisting of daikon radishes, canola, rye, sorghum Sudan and other grasses, helps suppress weeds without the use of added herbicides. Further, the cover crop retains and supplements nutrients, promoting soil health. Most importantly in terms of beef production, our cattle can graze these cover crops throughout the fall and winter (depending on snow cover). While on pasture, the cattle leave behind natural fertilizer (a.k.a. manure) and further add to the overall health of our soil. We can also utilize byproducts of our row crops (e.g., straw, corn stalks) as bedding material for the cattle, helping to keep them clean, warm, and comfortable.
Shortly after purchasing our herd, we started marketing our beef to friends and family. A year later, we created our Facebook page and began marketing beef to other local customers. In 2020, we became licensed to sell beef cuts directly from a freezer here on the farm. We have been fortunate enough to direct market nearly all our beef over the past few years. We also teamed up with a local soap maker to create custom beef tallow soap made with tallow rendered from Grove Farms beef. This has been a fun way to diversify our market and share our farm with an even greater audience. If you would like to know more about our family, farm, and farm-raised beef, please check out our Facebook page.
"Having both cropland and beef cattle is advantageous for us because each can benefit the other."