ANTHON, Iowa (KCAU) — You might’ve heard about Japanese Kobe beef, or Wagyu, but right here in Siouxland, the Feddersens in Anthon, Iowa are growing the best tasting Wagyu beef in the United States.
It starts every day around 6 A.M.
“You want 3/4 of the animals to come up. Walk up to the bunk and eat, we don’t want them to rush and pile up. Go up, check the pens, make sure every animal is walking. Makes sure there’s water in the water tank. And then make sure the bunk’s completely empty. Clean water makes them consume more. If you don’t have clean water, you’ll see the consumption on their feed go down,” said Brad Feddersen, of Feddersen USA Wagyu.
It’s the attention to detail and making sure the feeding process is at the same time, in the same way, every day that makes these cows so happy and healthy.
“Consistency is probably the number one thing for any animal. Same time, every day. No matter if it rains, snows … if it snows, you better get up and move the snow. Doesn’t matter if it’s 3 o’clock in the morning. Make sure the snow is moved. Get those cattle fed at 6 or 7 o’clock,” said Fedderson.
Brad and Shawna Feddersen said it isn’t easy balancing work, life on the farm, and raising their two children, who also enjoy helping out.
“It’s a hard thing to do because you want to be able to provide your family with the tangible things, that don’t mean anything. But you want them to have a good life. And it’s a hard balance. It’s good to have your kids, and then take care of that farm.” said Brad Fedderson.
Last month, their Wagyu ribeye took home the national title of grand reserve champion in the triple crown steak challenge. Their product won best taste, tenderness, and health benefits.
“With Wagyu, you hear a lot of talk about marbling. That’s the intermuscular fat. And you can see the little lines. They kind of judge it and grade it on the color of the fat. The whiter, the better. And the fineness of the marble, versus bigger chunks. This is a good example of really fine marbling, high quality. And all those things lend to tenderness and taste,” said Shawna Feddersen.
The family said growing an award-winning product all starts with having a relaxed cow in the field. There are hundreds of cattle feeders across the state of Iowa but here at Feddersen’s, the key to keeping their cows relaxed and happy is these horses.
“Using horses, they’ll come right up to the horse, you can walk them in, they’re not running. On foot, or on a four-wheeler, it gets them amped up. So it’s another expense you have with Wagyu’s … with the horse, and tack … it’s not cheap. But if you want to maintain the quality of meat you’re getting … that’s why we’re hitting the goals we’re hitting,” said Brad Feddersen.
And if you’re thinking, why would a family farm in Anthon be inspired to break into the national Wagyu beef market, Brad Feddersen asks: why not?
“They go, ‘Iowa, Wagyu, from Iowa?’ I go, ‘Where else is it gonna come from?’ We’ve got the best grain here, the best hay. We’ve got the distilleries.” said Feddersen “I’m proud to produce it right here. These guys really don’t know what they’re getting.”
Because before the pandemic, Brad said his cows were fetching thousands of dollars each, with the cuts of steak selling for more than $100 at restaurantsIn cities like New York and Los Angeles.
“So the cattle were leaving. We sold them as live cattle to a buyer. And then they went off to restaurants in big cities. And so we had a load go out in January, a load go out in February. We were all excited. After two years of taking care of them, it was happening. We’re finally getting some money back. Yay. And then COVID hit. And all the restaurants closed. So no more buying cattle. So Brad’s like, “What are we going to do?”We’re feeding them every day, this isn’t like a shoe you can put on the shelf,” said Shawna Feddersen.
So they went online.
Shawna works full time for Acer, formerly Gateway Computers, so the internet was no stranger to her, but she said diving into the world of website building, marketing and online sales was no easy task.
But they say it’s paid off, and in addition to selling their product online and shipping across the country, the family is now selling their product directly to Siouxlanders.
“For the holidays, the Sioux City Downtown Partners put together a Small Business Market on Saturdays, where businesses are letting small businesses like us use their space,” said Shawna Feddersen
So if you’d like to check out Feddersen USA Wagyu, along with other local small businesses, they’ll be at 310 Virginia street on the Saturdays between now and Christmas, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.