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Triple A Cattle Co: Family ranch raises Limousin beef

Jan 31st, 2015 | Category: Community

Triple A Cattle Company is a family-owned ranch producing Limousin beef in Snohomish County. In this month’s Q&A, owner Jim Anderson shares his thoughts about the farm started by his father Marvin, raising cattle, and living in our northwest corner.

 

How did Triple A Cattle Co get started? 

Marvin has been involved in the cattle business all his life. In 1997 when he retired from Thrifty Foods meat manager position he started feeding some groups of Limousin cattle and started selling locker beef. I joined the process in 1998, naming the business Triple A Cattle.

Marvin and Jim.

Marvin and Jim.

 

What do you enjoy most about raising this breed and how many are you raising each year? 

The Limousin breed was brought to North America in 1968. They originated in France. They first came to Canada, and in 1970 bulls arrived to the United States.

They are highly efficient and genetically are a leaner breed of cattle. They are noted for their ability to convert pounds of feed to pounds of red meat better than any other breed. This means that they can eat less and produce more carcass meat.

What I enjoy most about the breed is their efficiency, calving ease, docility and growth rates.

I have 73 calves expected this year, which is 10 more than last year. In 2014 we sold 28 head of locker beef.

 

What are the greatest joys of being a rancher? The largest challenges? 

The greatest joys of being a cattle rancher is getting feedback from satisfied beef customers. Watching a calf crop grow from birth to weaning. During the summer months on a warm evening before dusk, walking amongst the herd, seeing the calves’ curiosity as they venture out from their mothers.

Cattle grazing at the family’s property outside of Arlington.

Cattle grazing at the family’s property outside of Arlington.

The largest challenges to being a cattle rancher are time, needing more and not always having enough. Having a full-time day job in addition to the beef production is the biggest challenge. The work list is long and the days are not long enough. Weather is a factor at times with excessive rain.

 

Tell us about your father Marvin. Can you share some favorite stories of him?

Marvin is 80 and going strong, born and raised in Stanwood, he has spent 40+ years in the meat business. He is out with the cattle seven days a week, feeding and caring for them. He is the hardest working person I know. He hauls cattle to and from the local auction in Everson and is a cattle buyer for several people. He is married and has four grown children with many grandchildren and great-grand children. There is almost not at person in the Stanwood area that does not know him. He enjoys going to bull sales and he can be in Billings, Montana or Morris, Minnesota and he will always run into someone he knows. Beloved by many he is always someone you can count on.

 

What does it mean to you operating as a family farm? What do you hope your kids learn and take from their experiences?

I have a passion for the local beef industry, and enjoy bringing a quality product to the public. Our whole family are agricultural enthusiasts. Today there is less than four percent of the population are involved in agriculture production in the U.S. With the growing population and the demand for food, we take pride in what we do to help contribute in a small way to the industry. My wife Amy helps often with vaccinations and moving round bales and just being a support in all ways. Ryan, who is 12, he is developing into my right hand man. From sorting cattle, fence repair, weed control, he is learning all facets of beef production. We are hoping he will be on a tractor in another year or so. Each year he raises two steers and two hogs for the local livestock shows and fairs through 4H. Jacob is 11 and has Autism so his involvement varies. He is also in 4H and has raised a couple hogs for the fairs. He is out there with us at chore time and sometimes is reluctant to help because he is off in his own little world, but his sunny, sweet personality warms our hearts daily. Our goal this year is to have the boys plant a patch of sweet corn to be able to sell in the fall.

Jim, son Ryan, and Marvin at the Puget Sound Junior Livestock Show.

Jim, son Ryan, and Marvin at the Puget Sound Junior Livestock Show.

I hope they can learn the value of hard work and the importance of agriculture and how it affects all of us.

We will go to three fairs, maybe four this year: Silvana, Stanwood-Camano, Skagit County Fairs and livestock shows. We may attend the Evergreen State Fair this year.

 

It’s February. What’s happening on the ranch this time of year?

In February and during this time of year, we are ready for calving season which is well under way. We have to keep very close tabs on the cows for any calving issues. Of course keeping up on feeding and cleaning is continuous. February is the best time for the cows to calve because when they are turned out to grass those calves will be two months old and strong.

Bringing the cows in for the winter has its challenges. The older cows have a harder time on the concrete and it doesn’t seem to bother the younger ones. We have a dry lot paddock for them to turn out on to when the weather is nice so they can get off the concrete. Keeping the barns clean is an endless process. When the rains are heavy, so is the work.

We hope to head the herds back to grass in the middle of April.

 

Who do you work with come butchering time?

For butchering we use Silvana Meats, my brother is the manager, and we have used them for years.

 

The day is yours. Your work is covered. What are you having for breakfast and how are you enjoying the day? 

The Anderson family.

The Anderson family.

On a day off when we are caught up we will head out in our 14-foot boat to do some exploring on the local rivers or crabbing. We take on several camping trips a year to Eastern Washington or the San Juans with friends. Last year we took a long road trip through seven states in two weeks. Amy and I will go to the Denver National Western Stock Show in January every other year.

 

Favorite spots in northwest WA?

Favorite spots in Washington are just about anywhere in summer, you cannot find a better place to be.

The top of Mount Erie is spectacular, the San Juans are beautiful, riding a ferry in the Puget Sound on a summer evening is a nice way to end the day. Barbequing hamburgers on the beach at Camano Island State Park.

 

Favorite season?

Each season has something to offer but summer would have to be my favorite.

 

Favorite bits of wisdom to share?

Never stop learning, always look to strive for a better way to do whatever it is you are working on.

Find something you enjoy and then it will never seem work like to you.

 

Favorite vegetable?

Frozen green peas, not canned.

 

Favorite pie? 

Don’t like Pie. French Vanilla or chocolate cake.

 

White, wheat, or sourdough?

Wheat.

 

What’s a more beautiful time of day? Sunrise or sunset?

We have the best of both worlds at the ranch with being able to see the sunrise over the Cascades and the sunset behind the Olympics.

 

If your farm had a theme song, what would it be?

Dan Seal’s “God Must Be a Cowboy at Heart”

 

Please pose one question. 

With every election that comes to pass there is a wider gap from agriculture to non-agricultural issues. I pose the question “who will feed the future”?

 

For more information about Triple A Cattle Co, contact Jim Anderson at (425) 238-4772 or tripleacattleco@yahoo.com. Grass fed, grain finished beef is available year-round. Follow their Facebook page for updates.

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