One Crawford County couple are trying to offer something different to area beef eaters.
Tom and Sue Moore, owners of M&M Farms and the 2017 Crawford County Farm Family of the Year, are raising certified grass-fed Texas Longhorn cattle - something new to the area and the entire state.
The couple bought their 60-acre farm just north of Rudy in 2004, but only began raising cattle about six years ago.
“We bought the place, then decided to raise cattle. We weren’t looking to raise cattle initially,” Tom Moore said. “(But) it gave us a chance to offer something that wasn’t being offered. We can have 20 to 30 cattle and it’s a pretty big herd.”
In 2015, the Moores had the first farm in Arkansas to be certified grass fed. M&M Farms is certified by Animal Welfare Approved for the humane treatment of their cattle and certified grass fed by A Greener World standards under the AWA.
AWA certifies and promotes independent family farmers and ranchers raising livestock outdoors on pasture or range using sustainable agriculture methods.
Longhorns are the base breed of the Moore’s herd and were chosen because they naturally produce a leaner, healthier meat, are not prone to disease, not picky eaters, and are less hands-on, Sue Moore said.
It’s evident the couple’s cattle have been handled with care - they are so docile, they will eat alfalfa treats out of the palm of strangers’ hands.
To be certified, the Moores must be able to provide verification that the animals only have been grass fed or eaten certified grass fed products. Soil testing has helped them improve the quality of the grass the animals eat.
Their beef cattle are born and raised on their farm to ensure quality and that they meet the certified standards, Sue Moore said. Medications are administered only when needed as a treatment, not for preventative methods, she said.
At about 30 months old the cattle are adequate for processing, Sue said. The Moores provide a no stress transport to B&R Meat Processing in Winslow, which practices humane processing methods and also is certified by the AWA.
Tom and Sue Moore go through these efforts to provide a product that people can feed good about, they said.
“The Internet and access to information about where our food comes from - I feel like that has been a benefit to use because more people are concerned about what they’re eating,” Sue Moore said.
Beef products sold by the Moores include hamburger, roasts, rib-eye steaks, stew meat and minute steaks. They also sell eggs from their free range chickens and ducks.
Both Tom and Sue Moore have additional businesses and are involved in a number of civic groups and activities in Van Buren.
They were recognized March 30 as the 2017 recipients of the Crawford County Friend of 4-H Award during the 72nd annual Crawford County Arkansas 4-H Achievement Banquet for their support of local 4-H programs.
They also take part in the Arkansas Agriculture Department’s Arkansas Grown program, are members of the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America and International Texas Longhorn Association.
A committee made up of representatives of Crawford County Farm Bureau and the Cooperative Extension Service selected the Moores as this year’s farm family. The two organizations are chief sponsors of the program in Crawford County.
Farm family judges Donette Spann with the Arkansas Beef Council and Eric Branscum with Farm Credit visited the Moore’s on June 13 as part of their efforts to determine a district winner, which will be announced June 19.
Crawford County is in the Northwest District along with Benton, Boone, Carroll, Franklin, Johnson, Madison, Newton, Sebastian and Washington counties.
District winners will be judged in July to determine a state winner, which will be announced Dec. 7 at the farm family of the year luncheon at the Wyndham Riverfront in North Little Rock.
The Arkansas farm family of the year will represent the state at the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year.