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MISSOURI                           eral approval to make these                                The Midwest Cattleman · April 1, 2021 · P10
      continued from page 3              services possible. Hertzog
      direct to consumer.  “We've        purchased new equipment
                                         and remodeled an old feed
      got a facility that's built        store on their own property
      for growth for individuals,”       to construct the plant.  And
      Hertzog said. “This is an op-      every process and procedure
      portunity for all of us to add     follows a strict protocol. “Ev-
      to our bottom line.  We also       erything has to be approved,”
      want to provide a full custom      he said,  “from an inspected
      experience different from          lagoon to the maintenance of
      other butcher shops for our        the bolt gun every day. Every
      producers, with state-of-the-      time we clean a pen or grease
      art packaging and food safe-       a gate, it has to be document-
      ty standards next to none.”        ed.” Daily inspections by
         Hertzog Meat Company            his team are reviewed by a
      is equipped with high wind         USDA inspector prior to each
      velocity hot boxes that can        day’s kill.
      cool hot carcasses from 90º to        “I could go on for days  dustry. Professionally, I feel  og said. “The processing side
      40º  overnight  before  moving     about my sleepless nights,”  like I have the willpower and  is new to this generation, but
      them into the dry aging cool-      Hertzog said,  “the unbeliev- perseverance to handle the  beef production is not new.
      ers where all the meat hangs       able price of equipment, and  plant. I've experienced the  We are not car salesmen in
      at the same temperature.           the lack of ease to get plans  heartache of feeding cattle,  the meat packing industry.
      “The dry aging enhances ten-       to build a facility. Just get- losing  cattle, not  having  a  We're cattlemen.”
      derness and flavor and gets        ting materials is skyrocket- buyer. I understand that you
      better quality than big pack-      ing.”                                                                Packing Plant USDA
                                                                            have got to make it work and
      ing  products that are wet            Now that the building is  be creative.”                           Pending
      aged in chain speeds going as      in its final stages, plans are                                          Awaiting their USDA in-
                                                                              Partner to creative forti-
      fast as they can go. We're try-    to initially harvest 50 head  tude will be physical aptitude.        spection approval, Oak Hill
      ing to do slower chain speeds                                                                           Meats opened their doors in
      for a quality product.”            of cattle and hogs each week,  “We  have to  have somebody           September 2020.  The newly
                                         eventually hitting 100 head  in there that can throw heavy
         Advanced tracking soft-                                                                              renovated Heinz processing
      ware will aid in product           per week capacity. His goal  totes of meat around, throw             plant in Cuba, Mo., is now
                                         is to run 2,500 head of cattle  them overhead or throw big
      traceability throughout the                                                                             owned  by  a  group  of  local
      plant. “You’ll know your an-       and 1,000 hogs through in  chunks into the grinder,”                 farmers and investors that
                                                                            Hertzog said.  The search
                                         the first year.
      imal’s live weight, what it                                                                             are passionate about beef.
                                            The phone is already  wasn't easy to find qualified
      weighed at hanging, how            steadily  ringing  as  custom- and physically fit staff to fill      Co-owner Rockael Stubble-
      much it shrank in the cooler,                                                                           field, along with her husband
      bone loss and freezer weight,”     ers schedule slaughter dates  15 positions on what Hertzog           Matt, had dreams of opening
                                         beginning in June. With rail  calls his  “high performance
      Hertzog  said.  “All  in black                                                                          their own processing plant.
      and white. That helps us and       space to accommodate 200  team.” He was thrilled to                     The couple owns Brush
                                         animals, Hertzog is optimis- land three 15-to-20-year vet-
      helps you too.”                                                                                         Creek  Valley Farms and
         Further      processing     at  tic the calendar will be filled,  erans in the industry, ready       markets beef and pork direct
      Hertzog Meat Co. means cus-        but knows it will take a lot of  to train a younger team of          to  consumers.  They  knew  a
      tomers can also have their         hustle to meet the demand.  soon-to-be kill floor and cut            plant could help them man-
                                         Along with understanding  floor leaders. In appreciation
      farm-labeled products cus-                                                                              age inventory and scale the
      tomized into snack sticks          and adhering to the daunting  for the talent, Hertzog is en-         business faster, but when
                                         USDA check list for opera- couraging career mentality
      and  beef jerky, sausage pat-                                                                           2020 limited their booking
      ties, and smoked or flavored       tion, running a meat packing  by  offering  above  industry          dates, the need became more
                                         plant takes mental tenacity  average wages, along with
      meats.     Should     producers    and physical strength.                                               prevalent.
                                                                            full benefits.
      qualify for third-party veri-         “I'm young and I have a  be several years before the                 As soon as the pandem-
      fied programs, that can mean       passion for our product and  sixth generation of Hertzogs            ic broke out, the couple met
      $200 to $300 in added value,       the people in our industry”  is ready for such responsibil-          with family to discuss the op-
      according to Hertzog.              Hertzog said.  “I have been  ity; there are four under the           tion for opening a plant. They
         The journey hasn't been                                                                              found an existing facility and
      easy toward renovation of          out of college 15 years and  age of 10 in Todd and Ashley            discussed leasing the build-
                                         been on all sides of this in- Hertzog's household. But,
      the facility and attaining fed-                                                                         ing  from the current owner.
                                                                            they are already getting used     “We heard about other inves-
                                                                            to gowning up to hose down        tors that were interested in
                                                                            tiled  floors.  When  the lines   buying and expanding the fa-
                                                                            get rolling, they will shift      cility. We jumped on that con-
                                                                            their training in the family      versation,” Stubblefield said.
                                                                            biz to the old school butcher        That discourse led to a
                                                                            shop in the front of the plant,   deal and the couple joined
                                                                            readied for retail sales of       forces with the group, along
                                                                            their family label of Hertzog     with a handful of local farm-
                                                                            Premium Beef. Plans include       ers, to start Oak Hill Meats.
                                                                            marketing online as well             Currently a custom-ex-
                                                                            as welcoming visitors to a        empt plant, Oak Hill is
                                                                            “pumpkin patch” experience        awaiting their USDA inspec-
                                                                            with buying fresh beef.           tion approval for processing.
                                                                              “We've been producing
                                                                            beef for a long time,” Hertz-     “We were supposed to be ap-
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