Local operation delivers farm fresh beef from the Ozarks

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Sgt. Dan’s Redneck Cattle Co. LLC, Mobile Meat Market offers local farm fresh USDA inspected beef.

Just prior to the coronavirus pandemic hitting the Ozarks, a Myrtle family set a business plan into motion, not knowing yet the service their operation would provide residents of the area.

Sgt. Dan’s Redneck Cattle Co. LLC, Mobile Meat Market, is owned by Daniel and Crystal Crowder and the operation is a family affair. It is a veteran owned business as Daniel spent nearly a decade (eight years, 10 months and 19 days; to be exact) in the Marine Corp.

Growing up in and around the farming industry and working at a local grocery store during high school, Daniel Crowder had experience in the beef cattle industry, plus some knowledge about processing. Frustrated by the cost of meat in grocery stores, knowing the actual profit the farmer brings in, if any at all, he wanted to somehow provide a solution to a problem. “The packers get X amount of dollars while the farmers are barely breaking even, or even losing money in some cases. That is how this started,” said Crowder.

With permission from local businesses, he began traveling around Oregon County, setting up in parking lots with a refrigerator “reefer” truck. Since beginning, a truck and trailer set up, with deep freeze and generator, has been added to the mix, allowing them to be more available for customers. A variety of USDA inspected beef is available, including ground beef, ribeye, t-bone, New York strip, chuck roast, round roast … just to name a few.

The idea came to him after his wife, Crystal, asked him about opening a processing plant. He wasn’t too keen on the idea, as it would be a very large endeavor, but after stewing on the idea for a few days, the mobile meat market utilizing local farm fresh beef came to mind.

Luckily he got the ball rolling prior the coronavirus pandemic, having “kill days” already booked with a processor before the local processing plants booked up. Processing plants started filling slots once consumers began reaching out to farmers for direct meat source, something Crowder feels is a positive aspect of the pandemic.

“It has made the people more conscious about where their food does come from and right now, there is a big push to know where your food comes from, especially on the beef side,” he said. Even if a product is marked “product of the USA”; Crowder said, unfortunately, there are ways around that. “The way the labeling works, you can’t always guarantee that it’s US beef. There are ways around by shipping it from [South America] to [US] alive, killing it and then labeling it a product of the USA.”

In an article published by Beef Magazine earlier this year, it was stated “The coronavirus crisis is putting the meat industry at the center of the news feed. There have been limits in grocery stores … on meat purchases.” Due to the restrictions, consumers were determined to find another meat supply.

Organizations such as Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, University of Missouri Extension and the Missouri Department of Agriculture, have fought hard this year for the agriculture industry. Each of these agencies created resources to assist consumers in finding farmers, which of course in turn helped the farmers.

Each Wednesday and Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sgt. Dan’s Redneck Cattle Co. LLC, Mobile Meat Market, is set up at the GO FARMS Farmers Market in West Plains, located at the Endurance Church parking lot. He utilizes the help of Crystal, and his dad, Jim Crowder, along with other family members and friends, to split up on Saturdays to visit other areas such as Thayer, Alton, Myrtle, Doniphan and Pocahontas, Ark.

Crowder enjoys the farmers markets and seeing other local vendors do well. “Buying from a farmer or farmers market ensures you are getting something local,” he said.

When he booked with the processing plant, he booked 66 days, which are coming to an end. He hopes there is truth to rumors of new processing plants going into operation soon.

Though there have been plenty of hiccups and wrenches thrown into plans, Crowder has learned to rely on those around him and is thankful for the help. “This week, it seemed like one disappointment after another,” said Crowder, but was optimistic and thankful for those who stepped in to help. His refrigerator truck went out, full of meat, but he was able to save his product. He called upon neighboring farm, Newman Farm Heritage Berkshire Pork, also in Myrtle, who was able to lend a helping hand in his time of need. “We’ve had some setbacks and you are going to have setbacks no matter what you do,” he added.

When it came to creating a “brand” for his businesses, a former classmate from Couch High School, Sara Daulong, volunteered her services to design the logo he uses. “We’ve had so much help getting this started, from the financial side of things, Newmans’ helping when this [truck] went down; we’ve truly been blessed. We still have a long way to go to turn it into a profitable deal, but I think it is going to work,” said Crowder.

Crowder’s cattle, which he is hoping to grow in numbers, comes from experienced farmers in the Ozarks for quality farm fresh beef, keeping the inventory plentiful.

Sgt. Dan’s Redneck Cattle Co. LLC, Mobile Meat Market has a wholesale price list for restaurants (or larger families) looking to buy large quantities. He has one client who supplies the food for towboats on the Mississippi River.

The impact of the pandemic on the beef industry has been felt all around the country. In March, the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association requested farmers be included in assistance packages. “Cattle producers are independent people who want government out of the way while working hard as a family to make a living producing the safest, most nutritious protein possible for consumers,” said MCA Executive Vice President Mike Deering. “This crisis turned the cattle markets upside down and disaster relief was needed for the families we represent.”

In a separate article from Beef Magazine, the impact of COVID-19 was compared to previous hardships the industry has faced. “COVID-19 is not the first time that the beef cattle industry suffered due to a major crisis. During the 2008-2009 global recession, cattle markets experienced losses and uncertainty.

The recession led to decreased consumer demand for beef. In 2008, cattlemen lost an average of $130 per head of cattle. Experts predict similar losses for the beef cattle industry in 2020.

As economies around the world started to stabilize and recover from the 2008 recession, consumer demand and production increased. The cattle market stabilized and started to grow.

If the 2008 recession is an adequate comparison, the beef industry should slowly regain its footing after countries start to reopen their economies.” In a summary the article also stated, “Sales for beef have remained steady, as consumers stocked up on meat and other foods at the start of the pandemic.

Depending on how long the impact of COVID-19 lasts, losses could reach the billions of dollars. However, most experts agree that the beef cattle industry is complex and large enough to ride out the inevitable recession.”

For more information, including pricing details and where to purchase beef, find Sgt. Dan’s Redneck Cattle Co. LLC, Mobile Meat Market on Facebook by liking the page, “Sgt Dan’s”. You may also contact Crowder by calling 417-938-4831, 417-766-4099 or emailing danielecrowder7@gmail.com.

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