Tallgrass Prairie Producers Coop – Tallgrass Beef (1995-2000)
Label of Tallgrass Beef – pasture-raised cattle from the Kansas Flint Hills – in 1995 the first official USDA-labeled “grass-fed beef” in the United States. With eleven specially-labeled cuts, at one time Tallgrass Beef was available in 13 states. A trail-blazing product, it was somewhat before its time; however eventually, grassfed beef’s benefits have become better understood, and it is now a widely-marketed product.
Tallgrass Beef was produced and marketed by the Tallgrass Prairie Producers Coop, a ten-family grassfed-beef producers cooperative that formed and met in the old high school in Matfield Green from 1995-2000. Members included (L-R back row) Jerry & Mary Dusenbury (Attica), Gary & Linda Doornbos (Leon), Arlan Stackley (wife Mary and son David, Milbourn Ranch, El Dorado), Josh and Gwen Hoy (Flying W Ranch, Clements), Cathy and Jim Hoy (Flying H Ranch, Emporia); (L-R kneeling front row) Bruce Spare (wife Cheryl, Assaria), Calvin Carlson (wife Shelley, Lindsborg), Pete Ferrell (Beaumont), and Annie Wilson (husband John, Five Oaks Ranch, Elmdale). Members not pictured: Carl & Emily Shewmaker (Hamilton) and Bill Kurtis (American journalist and owner of Red Buffalo Ranch, Sedan – who eventually purchased the business). Annie Wilson served as Business Manager and Earl Wright as Operations & Marketing Manager. [Photo around 1998 by Carl Shewmaker]
Preparing Tallgrass Beef kabobs at the Kansas Sampler Festival in 1995: L to R Monica Young, Cathy Hoy, Earl Wright, and Bruce Spare
Annie Wilson and others serve folks lined up for a Tallgrass Beef dinner before the 1996 Brass on the Bluestem Concert on Jane Koger’s ranch in Chase County. (This was the second symphony on the prairie and forebear of the later “Symphony in the Flint Hills” in 2006.)
Josh Hoy and David Stackley staff booth at the nation-wide Natural Foods Expo in Baltimore, Maryland in 1997. This promotion yielded numerous additional market opportunities for the coop.