The view is grand
CLARION — Knute and Amanda Severson aren’t your average couple farming in Wright County.
“We were married last year on an agro-tourism farm in Italy,” said Amanda Severson, a native of Washington state. “We met in Seattle where we were both interning for the Seattle Seahawks. Knute Severson (a graduate of Iowa State University) has a horticulture major and I am a strategic communications major.”
Knute Severson said the decision to move to Iowa was easy.
“I remember being in Seattle and thinking ‘I can’t find nature, I can’t find animals, I can’t find the type of place I grew up in,'” he said. “That is when I really knew I wanted to come home to the farm and become a part of it, and I wanted to add something to it. I didn’t want to just do what everyone was already doing.”
Severson said he knew what he wanted to do.
“We wanted to raise cattle on both grass pasture and non-GMO corn,” he said. “There were a lot of people that told us, ‘If this could be done, everyone would be doing it.’ I think what sets us apart is that we want to be different. We want to invest the time into showcasing how our grass-fed beef product is unique and special.”
That’s what led to the couple opening Grand View Beef.
Right now, according to Amanda Severson, they are looking to make their operation grow.
“Our goal this year is to sell all 24 steers we have raised for this season, then to grow that number the next season and the next,” she said. “We want to acquire more pasture and bring the farm experience to our customers through visits, dinners, events and more.”
She considers themselves blessed to have the opportunities they have.
“Knute’s parents, Troy and Beth, have run a cow/calf operation for the last 22 years and share the resources to house and pasture our herd,” Severson said. “There is no doubt in our minds that we could not do this without Troy and Beth. We also owe the credit to God. He is the one that made sure Knute and my paths crossed and gave us the talents to start up Grand View Beef.”
She added that she and her husband care about animal husbandry.
“We care about it in a very old-fashioned way,” she said. “As I said, Knute’s parents, Troy and Beth, taught us the importance of caring for animals, and what that result is when the meat product hits the consumers plate. We focus on raising our Horned Hereford cattle in such a way that limits the amount of stress they experience (this ensures that they do not have increased lactic acid which results in tough, flavorless meat).”
They also do their best to utilize horses, when possible, especially when they move the cattle.
“We are unique in that we feed with Belgian draft horses in the winter months,” Severson said. “Raising Horned Hereford cattle is not the norm in Wright County, but Herefords are docile animals, which again, leads to less tension and stress (lactic acid) in the muscles. Our practices ensure our steaks are high-quality, marbled cuts. We also get feedback all the time that our ground beef is the most flavorful our customers have ever had.”
According to Knute Severson, the consumer needs to feel confident that the product the buy comes from a producer with accurate claims. They also want to be sure that it is processed in a certified facility and is adequately stored.
“The state puts many requirements in place to protect the end consumer, which is a good thing,” he said. “For a producer, it takes a lot of research and a lot of work to ensure we are meeting the requirements the state sets in place. Whether it be the labeling paperwork, the storage, the processing, the licenses, or the insurance, there is a lot that needs to be done to meet regulations.”
He said he and his wife are lucky to have partnered with Lewright Meats, of Eagle Grove, to help them ensure they are meeting regulations.
“I have no doubt we’ll come across more barriers and hurdles as we grow,” Severson said, “but having partners that have the experience to help you is so vital to overcoming them.”
Amanda Severson said people she knows in Washington were confused as to why she moved to Iowa to work on a cattle ranch.
“I think there are misperceptions about what it takes to run a successful farm business. People think that you just repeat what has been done for decades,” she said. “I’ve taken a lot of pictures to send back to Washington to show people that what I’m apart of is innovative, unique, and special.”
What is a day on a cattle ranch like?
“I wish we knew what our day would look like when we woke up, but the reality is, every day is different,” Knute Severson said. “As I’m sure most people reading this know, agriculture is completely unpredictable. There is no such thing as a planned due date for your first calf heifer and you never know if the day you plan to plant is the day Iowa decides to have an April blizzard.”
He referred to Grand View Beef as both his family’s dream and baby.
“We want to invest as much time and resources into the business as possible,” he said. “In addition, we also want to grow our knowledge and expertise. So both of us have full-time jobs in the community and we value and love those jobs.”
Knute Severson is an agronomy sales tech with NEW Cooperative, while Amanda Severson helps run the executive MBA program at Iowa State University’s Ivy College of Business, where she specializes in food, agriculture and biosystems.
Amanda Severson said they offer many products.
“We sell individual cuts, bundles, and by the quarter, half and whole in both 100 percent grass fed and non-GMO corn fed,” she said. “Those who wish to purchase for the 2018 season are encouraged to reach out now and get their name on the list before we sell out. And yes, I’ve been asked to deliver bundles on my drive south to my Iowa State University job as well.”
Grand View Beef’s products will be available at the Ames Farmers Market and Clear Lake Farmers Market on an alternate Saturday schedule.
They can be reached at (515) 851-2200, online at grandviewbeef.com or on their official Facebook page. Grand View Beef can also be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.