Meet the kueckelhan Family
Owners of kueckelhan Farms
Pictured (L to R): Morgan & son Jace, Justin, Julie, and Tim.
Not pictured: Jared Kueckelhan and Morgan's husband Chris Hawley.
About the Business
Tim: We are a family-owned and operated row crop and cow/calf operation located in the center of Missouri at Boonville. Currently, the crop and pasture total about 1750 acres, owned and rented, and we calve a total of 200 commercial Angus and Angus-Charolais crossbred cows. The family members include Tim, Julie, Jared, Morgan & husband Chris and their sons Jace and Steele, and Justin.
My father started farming when he got out of the military in 1954. He married my mother, and they started buying and renting land. I joined him full-time on the farm in 1981 after a year at university. My wife, Julie, and I married in 1988 and established the current Kueckelhan Farms location in 1993. The farm has just grown from there.
Why Show Me Beef?
Tim: It’s a significant benefit to the people here in the state. For consumers, it's just a neighbor of theirs down the road that is raising their meat. You can go into a grocery store or local restaurant, look at the meat case and say, “that could be my product right there.”
Julie: It’s nice to know that it’s being served in this area. Consumers want to know where their meat comes from, and what better feeling than to know their neighbors raised it?
Tim: For us, sustainability is when you get to a point where you have minimal inputs, and the farm is self-sufficient when it comes to what you raise. We've implemented many different sustainable practices. Perhaps the most unique is repurposing old railroad ties as fencing. A while back, they put in new railroad ties along the rail near our farm. The state usually hauls off and disposes of the old ties in Kansas. We asked one of the engineers, "what can we do with this?" Someone had the idea of repurposing them as a fence, so we had them haul the old ties over in bundles to our farm. We had an issue with cattle going through the fence by our feedlot, so we stacked them over there. Now, we can run bulls on the opposite side of the fence from the cows and heifers without the risk of them getting in together. Plus, it works great as a windbreak in the wintertime to protect the cows from harsh winds.
In terms of land management, we implement rotational grazing and cover crops for the cattle to forage on. Crops include cereal rye, annual rye, oats, radishes, crimson clover, forage collards, bayou kale, and turnips. Doing this brings up nutrients in the soil that would otherwise leach out and minimize the need for fertilizer. Many of our pastures are unsuitable for tillage due to steep terrain, rocky ground, or clay dirt, so that land is reserved for grazing cattle.
Justin: We also fenced off some of the woods on our property for the wildlife to give them a habitat separate from the cattle. We've had diminishing quail and rabbit populations over the years, so we're growing buffer strips and building brush piles to bring back.