Meet your meat
A farm once filled with the hustle and bustle of chores and furious farming laid still for over 20 years.?Now, with the determination of one grandson, the farm is up and moving again.
Joshua Nuessmeier, 32, of Blue Earth, took over his grandfather’s farm just a little over five years ago. He says once his grandpa, Donald (and wife Irene) Boettcher, retired, the family was hesitant to begin doing livestock again, which his grandfather stopped doing in the early 1970s.
“I’m pretty much starting over and rebuilding the facilities from scratch; installing waterline and restoring power to buildings, building fences and keeping up with repairs,” says Nuessmeier. “Rebuilding is a slow process.”
But it is what Nuessmeier is doing with his pigs and cattle that highlight the family farm’s uniqueness.
He has around 50 to 70 hogs on his farm at one time, as well as close to 20 cattle; not to mention some egg-laying chickens, and a few friendly goats, who have plenty of room on the farm to run around, root, roam, and be happy.
The hogs’ and cattle’s diet consists of ground corn and soybean meal as well as free choice hay, which means the animals are welcome to as much hay as they want when they want it.
There is a specific reason for this method, and Nuessmeier says it is because he wants to pick up where his grandfather left off.
“What I’m trying to do is raise my livestock the old fashioned way on dirt and in the pasture. It gives the animals a better temperament, which produces better meat. I am growing livestock for the flavor and what people remember what meat tasted like 30 to 40 years ago,” he says.
His mother, Paula Nuessmeier, grew up on the farm he now is in charge of and she remembers very fondly the time she spent on the farm.
“I was raised there, along with two brothers and two sisters,” says Paula. “There was always something to do on the farm and you could always find something fun to do or explore while you were doing your work.”
She recalls setting up a canvas tent in the backyard in the summer, spending many a summer’s night sleeping out in it and making memories. Summers were also well known for the Boettcher’s Fourth of July parties complete with fireworks and hay rides.
“In the winter, Dad would flood the patio for a skating rink for us to skate on,” says Paula, who adds she still has friends who remember her skating sleep overs.
Her brothers always had 4-H cattle and she, herself, had 4-H conservation projects.
But now, as her second son, out of three, has taken over, Paula says she is ever-grateful for the experience all three of her boys had spending time at the farm while growing up.
“They learned many lessons of life and how things worked and why,” she says. “They learned how to grow pumpkins and vegetables there with their grandpa. I know he would be so proud to see animals raised back on the farm and that his other grandson, Aaron, is still gardening there. It is great for me to see that Josh has the desire to keep the Boettcher farm alive and turn it into the Nuessmeier farm.”
The farm, just a few miles from Marna, allows the animals to roam openly inside fenced-in spaces. While larger scaled farms have many pigs or cows confined into small pens, these animals have the constant option to be in their shelters, or to roam around their pens. Some sows are separated from the other pigs as they give birth and raise their piglets on the farm, while the young pigs roam around with the cattle, the goats, and the ever-present chickens.
Nuessmeier, who is a full-time student right now and is working towards his degree in animal science, grinds his own feed for the animals and adds the always-important vitamins and minerals. He says he is very thankful for the positive feedback and guidance he has received from local experts.
“The local vet staff at Makotah Veterinary Clinic has been a great group to work with as well as Devenish Nutrition, of Fairmont, for understanding what I am trying to accomplish and guiding me to products that allow me to maintain a more natural approach to my livestock raising, while still providing everything the animals need.”
Nuessmeier says he has never used antibiotic feed with his pigs as he feels raising hogs to be leaner reduces the flavor of the meat.
“I have nothing against the big guys,” he says. “There is room for both of us in the world. I have just found a niche market that truly works for me as a farmer.”
Nuessmeier adds that knowing your farmer and the processes they use to create their product are important for buyers to know.
“If you want to know what you’re getting and what’s in your meat, it goes back to knowing your farmer and talking with them,” he says.
Nuessmeier says his radius goes as far north as the Twin Cities and as far south as Spencer, Iowa. However he says it is his local market, here in Faribault County, that has given him the best advantage in the market.
“We use two great local lockers for processing our meat the Blue Earth Locker and Country Butcher in Easton have been great to work with,” he says.
Nuessmeier sells half or whole hogs, quarters, halves and whole beef and welcomes any and all potential customers to call him, 525-2746, visit the farm and “meet their meat.”
Though some may be overwhelmed with the quantity of the meat they initially receive, Nuessmeier says it is the truer bargain at the end of the day.
Depending on the market, Nuessmeier hopes to sustain what he has begun and eventually hopes to expand the project and get the entire farm back up to snuff.
So it seems passion drives this farm to success. Like his grandfather before him, Nuessmeier not only cares for his customers, but cares deeply for the animals he tends to as well. From pig pen to plate, Nuessmeier’s heritage shines in the work he does.
Now the future of this farm, which was idle for quite some time, has a new hope with the ties of old traditions combined with a new generation.