Matt Maier - Clearwater, MN
Q: How many years have you been raising cattle?
My immediate family has been raising 100% grassfed cattle for 10 years. If I include my Dad, and his Dad and his Dad, our family has been raising cattle as far back as we can trace in our family tree. So I guess you could say it’s in our genes. In fact, I recently was told an interesting family story involving cattle and immigrating to America. As it turns out, when my Great-Grandpa decided to move from Germany to the U.S. In search of opportunity, he moved his small cattle herd with him. So these cattle were transported from Germany to the ship crossing the ocean, then on rail from NY to MN, then driven to Central MN where he decided to stay. Quite a commitment and trip. It was early winter at this time and he had no shelter so he dug a cave into a hillside and used the cattle’s body heat to keep warm until Spring! I still live in MN and I couldn’t imagine surviving a winter this way. I just wish we had some of those Old World genetics left to work with.

Q: Why do you raise cattle?
There’s many reasons. My working career of 20+ years has been spent working with food companies to help them build their business and brands. I thought it would be a challenge to grow my own brand versus always advising others. Put my money where my mouth is so to speak. I had recently moved my family back near the family farm where I grew up because I wanted to raise my children in a rural environment, closer to nature. When I heard of the positive health benefits of 100% grassfed beef, I realized this is the way we raised our beef when I was growing up. So it was an easy leap for me to begin doing this. Fortunately I already knew many of the skills, owned some land and had my Dad nearby to help me get started. It was important to me to teach my children more about farming and how to raise good food. This was a real world way of teaching—not to mention influencing work ethic as well!

Q: How many cattle do you raise?
We have about 50 cow/calf pairs, 75 stockers and 2 bulls at any given time.

Q: What’s the biggest challenge in raising cattle?
For me, it’s the juggling act of effectively managing all my irons in the fire: Thousand Hills Cattle Co., my food marketing business and the farm. We’re at a point where we need to employ some help on the farm. My wife, Renee, is really encouraging me. God bless her.

Q: How did you find Thousand Hills Cattle Co.(THCC) ?
After learning about the emerging trend of 100% grassfed beef, I looked around to see who the existing players were. Lo, and behold, one of the leading pioneers in the category was right here in MN: Todd Churchill and THCC. We got to know each other, and ultimately, I became a partner in THCC in 2009. We have been enjoying building this business together with our great team ever since.