Welcome to the rodeo
By Michaela Mann
Not going to lie, this is my first rodeo and ya’ll are along for the bumpy ride.
My name is Michaela, and I am the owner of D&D Beef. My husband Jared and I help run our family ranch, D&D Cattle Company, along with my parents Dan and Marilee Braesch and sister Courtney Suklaski, where we sell registered Angus and Red Angus cattle.
We are a seedstock herd located in eastern Nebraska, about an hour north of Omaha. Every year we have an annual production sale where we sell our yearling and age-advantaged bulls. I was fortunate to grow up raising cattle, a business that my father and grandfather started, and I am grateful to raise my kids in the same way – hopefully they choose to do the same.
My grandpa started selling beef to friends and family over 50 years ago, a side business we have continued doing when we had cattle available for harvest. Approximately two years ago, I started our branded beef business – D&D Beef – by accident.
Dan, my father, called me asking me to put something online – you know, before everything was censored – about having some beef available for sale. The overwhelming response I received for our ranch-raised beef caught me by surprise.
I was bombarded with e-mails and messages from potential customers wanting our ranch raised beef. With a two-year-old and six-month-old in tow, I decided to start our branded beef business without a second thought.
Slow and steady wins the race, and this is exactly how D&D Beef was built. By selling not only online and shipping nationwide, I was able to utilize the local Omaha Metro area and sell many quarter, half and whole beef shares.
In hindsight, what I thought was slowing me down, as I could not meet the high demand of our beef, allowed me to grow at the proper pace. I was able to work out all the kinks of being a small business owner along the way, while continuing to adapt and adjust as time went on – a blessing in disguise I now know was needed.
While marketing directly to consumers is not an easy feat, what I thought would “easy” turned out to be hard and vice versa. Isn’t this how it always goes? We can always expect the unexpected, but I am not complaining one bit.
D&D Beef has provided an excellent resource for our ranch to sell our cattle with more profit going into our pocket and not the packers. Currently, the majority of our business is quarter, half and whole beef shares, which is a great way to move a lot of beef.
However, there is a large learning curve for new customers who have never purchased beef in bulk. The coordination it takes to walk customers through the process isn’t easy, but they are always so appreciative to be able to buy local and ranch direct.
Customers enjoy talking to the butcher over their processing instructions, taking a trip to the butcher to pick up their beef and filling their freezers with a high-quality protein that will feed their families for months to come. Selling our beef directly to consumers who truly appreciate everything we are doing makes it all worthwhile.
So why am I here?
When I was approached in regards to writing for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup, I had my hesitations. I have shared our ranching story on social media, at events, our website, etc. but my peers are not my main audience there – I am talking directly to consumers, who I am sharing a “behind the scenes” experience into ranching and how we raise our beef.
What could I contribute to a publication that reaches farmers and ranchers?
I hope to inspire, share and entertain with not only the daily happenings on our ranch, but also provide some insight into what a wife, mother, rancher and small business owner’s daily joys and struggles are – there is plenty of Ranch Dirt to go around!
To see more from Michaela, visit danddbeef.com/ranch-dirt-and-all.