Sand Lily Farms
Grass Fed Beef by Sand Lily Farms 
Local, Nutrition Centered, Eco Friendly and MAEAP Verified!
2019 Season Grass Fed Beef Orders:  
At Sand Lily Farms we finish beef cattle on pasture for top quality nutrition, an improved environment and good animal welfare outcomes. Our simple business model keeps us profitable and your cost reasonable.  We sell most of our beef by the quarter which yields between 90-120 pounds of of finished beef.  We sell "split halves", yielding cuts from the front and rear quarters.  We purchase cattle at auction in the spring to cover our needs for the season, we require a $200 per quarter deposit for beef, which is applied to your final bill.  The meat is generally available for pickup in mid November.  Your final price will be $4.00 per pound hanging weight to Sand Lily Farms and butchers fees to Byron Center meats.  See   Typical total price is about $7.00 per pound. Hanging weight is the weight of the butchered animal, prior to being cut and packed by the butcher. 1/8th cow is available, but with limited cutting options from our butcher.  A deposit of $100 is required for an 1/8th.  Please call or email prior to sending a check if ordering later than May 1 as we have typically purchased our herd for the season by then.  
Reserve your beef by check to:
Sand Lily Farms
5920 115th Ave.

We are happy to 
explain any details of the purchase process over the phone or email. 
Production details: Mark Ludwig - 616-240-7135
News and Production Notes from Sand Lily Farms:  
We are pleased to be a MAEAP Verified Farm!  MAEAP is Michigan's voluntary program to confirm our compliance with the laws and rules that regulate Michigan Farms.  This assures our facilities, pastures and livestock have minimal impact on the environment.  See for more information.

We are committed to quality lean meat.
   Our animals are butchered in the late fall to maximize the time available for them to eat fresh green pasture.   It is the consumption of this pasture that gives grass fed beef its nutritional advantage of high Omega-3 fatty acids and substances like conjugated linoleic acid.  Fall processing ensures the cattle are still growing rapidly to improve tenderness. For this reason we may choose to cut the season short if fall drought conditions cause our pastures to run out early.  Both the grass and the meat quality will suffer if the cattle run low on feed.  The USDA inspected butcher we use is familiar with the proper aging and packing of our lean product and seals the meat tightly to maintain quality for a full year or more.  However it is a lean meat, the steaks in particular will suffer from over cooking.  If you must have your steaks well done, we recommend having more roasts made rather than steaks and enjoying more conventional steaks from your local market.  To complete your meat order, customers fill out an electronic cut sheet    See:  The cut sheet drives the ratio of steaks, roasts and ground meat as well as package size.  They also make cured meats to order.     

Grass feeding supports animal welfare.  Our system offers a more natural setting for our animals.  We believe in Bovinity!  Cattle should be let out of the barn on a nice day!  We use 100% smooth wire fence, no barbed wire which can injure cattle, wildlife and people. The feedlot so many cattle end up in is typically cramped and dirty compared to pasture and the diet is too high in grain promoting sour stomachs and tender feet.  Our cattle eat a high forage diet which promotes natural health and we think happiness.  While we do not routinely give animals drugs, we treat sick animals if needed.   Most of these issues will be from the sale barn in the spring, our fall harvest gives plenty of time to clear typical antibiotic treatments. 

Sand Lily Farms is a 16 acre farm with 10 acres of permanent pasture.  Our simple production model provides a part time farm business for the Ludwig Family and grass fed beef for direct sale to the public.  As our name implies, our soils are very sandy.  Unlike a loam or clay soil, it does a poor job of holding water and nutrients.  Our pasture's soil organic matter has risen from an average of 2% to about 3% under our grazing program.  This soil carbon has improved the ability of the land to hold those nutrients and support more grazing.  We expect it to keep going up and are shooting for 5%.   Compared to the more typical farm raising beef we use less labor, fuel, machinery and fertilizer.  We believe in highly diverse pasture mixes, fencerows full of trees and wild flowers, quixotic horticulture, public service and visitors. Your purchase supports unlikely barn restorations, shop improvements tractor repairs etc.  We are a 99% grass finished beef operation, grain is only bait for moving cattle and occasionally fed to balance poor quality hay or meet the specific needs of animals.  For example, we sometimes have unexpected calves.  The milk these calves demand can cause their mothers to loose dangerous amounts of weight; a little corn helps keep her healthy.  We purchase cattle at the Wayland-Hopkins Livestock Auction.  This means we have less than a minute to make a final decision if an animal is coming home!  Very exciting stuff!   Our Trucker, George Herpst, is incredibly mellow and gentle. This fits our low stress livestock handling model.  We move cattle slowly and gently.  Our pasture plants include  (in roughly descending order of importance) Orchard grass, crab grass, rye grasses and rye hybrids, quack grass, blue grass and native warm season grasses.  Legumes include alfalfa, red, alsike and white cloves and birdsfoot treefoil.  We also plant forbes including chicory, sunflowers and some native wild flowers.  We struggle with a few weeds including spotted knapweed and Hoary Alyssum.  We don't use artificial hormones. Our system of management intensive grazing keeps our cattle on the move to fresh pasture several times a week assuring optimum feed quality, pasture plant health and environmental stewardship.   By letting livestock do  the work they have done throughout human history with modern tools and methods, we try and address the challenges of modern farming.     

We are a No Till Farm.   We grazed the existing quack, brome and bluegrass pastures when we started in 2006.  We needed deeper rooted plants to really make enough feed to make it through the summer.  We chose to use no till methods to do these planting projects.  Tillage is very damaging to soil life and destroys significant amounts of soil organic carbon.  This carbon is the key to improving our soils over the long term.  We use herbicides and no till capable planters for pasture seeds to keep the soil under cover and the worms, insects and microbial life intact. The dead plants left on top provide protection against soil erosion, critical mulch for the small pasture plants and feed for surface feeding worms.   

Mark Ludwig
Sand Lily Farms
5920 115th Ave
Fennville, MI

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