Randy and Megan Smith, Smith’s Sweet Grass Farm
Improved Forage-based Genetics for Grass-fed Beef
Grant Award: $6,000
The Smiths are transitioning their cattle to have foraged-based genetics, which should greatly reduce the high input costs associated with feed. Their goal is to produce animals that are better fit for their environment, as their current animals are too large for foraging. The Smiths recently started using managed intensive grazing (MIG) at their fourth-generation farm.
The Smiths are purchasing forage-developed Angus herd bull and semen along with 10 Angus heifers to begin the conversion process. They plan to double the herd size to 50 to 75 brood cows, selling 50 to 75 calves a year. They are retaining some heifers as replacements as well as some to grow out to be processed as gourmet grass-fed beef.
The Smiths sell to tailgate markets in and around Polk County, and advertise in the WNC Local Food Guide and in newspaper and online classifieds. A local mental health facility has promised to purchase 120 pounds of beef per month.
Randy’s grandfather started a dairy farm operation on the Smith’s land soon after his return from War World II and sold to Biltmore Dairy for twenty years. The operation was then converted to beef. “My wife and I take pride in becoming the fourth generation to farm this land,” Randy said. “With the addition of all natural grass-fed beef, it is my dream that our farm will forever remain a working farm.”