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Montana Ag Network: Ranch family keeping beef local

Posted at 6:27 AM, Jul 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-16 15:55:06-04

AMSTERDAM - The Feddes family, known for their Red Angus Cattle genetics, have ranched in the Gallatin Valley near Manhattan for 95 years. Early in 2020 they started Feddes Family Meats to provide quality beef to local consumers.

Recently, they learned that just down the road from the ranch, the Amsterdam Meat Shop was for sale.

“It wasn't an intentional business acquisition that we were thinking about,” said rancher Jake Feddes.

It may not have been intentional at the start, but the Feddes family recently found themselves the owners the Amsterdam Meat Shop that got is start back in 1949.

“We didn't even know it was for sale,” Jake Feddes said. “We got to looking at it and decided it would be a good way to integrate what we do on a daily basis to connect consumers and producers.”

The addition of the Amsterdam Meat Shop was a way for the family to see the full potential of their cattle herd while also supporting the local economy.

“When I think back to when I was a kid till now, it's just a whole different ball game,” said Chuck Feddes, the patriarch of the family. “Cattle genetics have come a long way. Just a lot of tools out there that we can use now. I think this (the meat shop) is one more tool that we can use to really help us see what our cattle do.”

With seven full-time employees, the Amsterdam Meat shop will continue to custom cut meat for clients. On the store front they will sell local Feddes Family Meats to consumers.

Another aspect of their business plan is to work with area farmers and ranchers. Paying them a premium for high quality beef and pork.

“Probably the most important thing we're going to do here is having that close relationship with all the producers that we work with,” said Jake Feddes. “So that we know the quality of those animals. What they've been fed. Where they're coming from.”

Jake Feddes explained they want to help ranchers improve the quality of their beef.

“When we're processing, I can look at those carcasses and tell producers that they may need more marbling or your ribeye’s are too small. We can look at it on that end. Whereas, if they're selling to one of the big feedlots or big packers, they never get that information back. But we can help them look at their genetics and analyze where we need to improve.”

From pasture, processing to plate. Feddes Family Meats is all about local.

“I think it's important for producers and consumers to think local,” said Jake Feddes. “We don't have the capacity in this country to do everything local. But if consumers can support local producers it will help keep them viable. It's going to be incredibly important for our national food chain. COVID-19 has really expressed that, and people are starting to understand it. We're backed up with processing because of COVID. I just hope that these small processors can all stay in business and then create a better, safer food supply chain for our local economies.

For the family, keeping the Amsterdam Meat Shop open is important.

“I guess a big thing is the community's been a blessing to us,” said Chuck Feddes. “It's our way of giving back in a lot of ways.”

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