Greetings, from the entire Zobel Family Farms Crew! When interviewed by Hefty Seed Company, News Channel Nebraska, and Nebraska Famer Magazine, we were able to educate their followers on how we evolved our business and continued to thrive through the 2020 pandemic. We have been very blessed, to been given the opportunities that have arose.
Hefty Seed: Grower Spotlight on Direct-to-Consumer Farming
Larry is the fifth generation to live and work on the Zobel Family Farm and can trace it's history back to the late 1880s. When his great-great-grandparents established their homestead near Bancroft, NE. Their operation included growing row crops and raising livestock. Now, Larry and his family have expanded the operation by establishing “Zobel Family Farms – Premium Beef & Pork”. In the article with Hefty Seed Co., we were able to converse about all aspects of the family business, which has grown substantially since the 1880s in all avenues of crops, livestock, and premium meats.
“Today, the farm has grown to 3000 acres of corn and soybean production, which is almost entirely used as feed support for his livestock business. The Zobels have a 2000-head cattle feedlot, as well as a finishing space that accommodates 6000 hogs.” -Hefty Seed Co.
As a result of the pandemic, we had to adapt and innovate to keep our family business afloat. Processing plants were closing left and right, which made getting livestock off the farm when they reached peak weights nearly impossible. In hopes to avoid humanely euthanizing pigs due to closed packing plants, we began selling ready to process pigs as well as whole pigs to our customers to take home and process themselves. We saw anyone from deer hunters who had an idea of how the process works, to people of the general public who learned through YouTube tutorials.
“But as the summer wore on, that wasn’t enough to meet the output demands of the farm.” -Hefty Seed Co.
“As things progressed, we were able to get a few slots at the USDA certified processors to get individual USDA certified cuts, and we started having the retail cuts available, selling halves and quarters on the beef side or whole processed hogs.” -Larry Zobel
Over the last few years, we have put our main focus on handling all aspects of production. To accomplish a successful meat selling business, we had to create local partnerships with experienced and certified processors. Storage issues quickly arose as our freezer space was limited. In spring of 2022, we broke ground and began building our retail storefront with a large onsite freezer. Shipping directly to your doorstep was always an option, but now our new freezer/office expansion has made that process easier and allows for more product inventory.
To read more about our farm and crop production, see the full article by HEFTY SEEDS, click HERE.
News Channel Nebraska: Growing Our Family Farm During COVID (Video Link Bellow)
A family tradition, 140 years and counting, with 3 generations working side by side to continue what our ancestors began. We hope to continue on with future generations.
As generations continued with the production of livestock and crops, new buildings such as hog barns, cattle barns, a multipurpose shop, and many other structures around the place have developed. Despite the new structures around the farm, the aesthetics remain the same. Family values, caring for the land, raising healthy livestock, and keeping religion at the center of it all, are just a few ethics we value most.
“Everybody here has a different specialty which helps bring the family farm together”, Larry said.
Although the global pandemic affected many others around our area, we chose to evolve and strive to survive. As farmers we are known to improvise often for our benefit. Beginning our premium meat business, allowed us to continue to process animals for human consumption. Our USDA Certified Beef & Pork can be purchased online or in person.
“Never dreamed of it, never dreamed of it” says Robert Zobel (Larry’s Dad), while being interviewed by Amanda Poole – News Channel Nebraska. Robert also states how happy he is with how far the family farm has come. In hopes of passing the legacy down to future generations, we encourage the 7th generation, Larry & Tami’s grandchildren to ride along while doing farming tasks, and even helping out.
To watch the interview published by News Channel Nebraska, click HERE.
Nebraska Farmer Magazine (March 2023 Edition): Farm family achieves dream
With consumers being forced to connect with their local producers when COVID-19 hit, we took that opportunity and have been working to develop it to it's full potential. Not only has this family farm been beneficial for generations before us, but now we strive to acclimate to new practices and complications that come along within the industry. With the entire family involved in some aspect, we have been able to make this dream a reality. Providing great quality beef & pork at affordable prices has always been a goal of ours.
“COVID was our push to jump into it,” Tami says. Larry quickly adds, “had we not gotten pushed, it might not have happened.” – Kevin Schulz (Nebraska Farmer Magazine Article Author)
Thankful for the push into the opportunity, we have been striving to meet consumers’ requests and needs. We appear at multiple farmers markets every week during the months of May – October. Online sales through our website ZobelFamilyFarms.com, have also enabled us to reach consumers nationwide that we normally wouldn’t come in contact with -- servicing 30 states and counting!
Not only do we hope to provide quality meat, but we also hope to educate our consumers and others about where their meat comes from, and the importance that beef and pork proteins provide in one’s diet.
Larry states “Our customers are amazed in the difference of our ground beef compared to what they get in grocery stores.” (Schulz – NE Farmer Magazine)
To read the full article published by Nebraska Farmer Magazine, click HERE.