Sand Lily Farms

2017 Season Grass Fed Beef Orders:  
We are pleased to drop our price a full $.75 a pound for 2017!

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 $3.75 per pound hanging weight due to Sand Lily Farms and butchers fees to Byron Center meats  see   Typical total price is about $6.00 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 15th as we are a small farm.  
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. 
Purchase details: Kim Ludwig - 616-240-0709
Production details: Mark Ludwig - 616-240-7135
Gnarley agriculture details for the interested:  

Sand Lily Farms is a 16 acre farm with 10 acres of permanent pasture.  Our simple production model provides an affordable hobby for the Ludwig Family and grass fed beef for direct sale to the public.  We focus on providing high quality meat with all of the nutritional and animal welfare advantages that a pasture based system can provide.  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%.  I typically apply 2 applications of fertilizer a season to help smooth out my forage supply and ensure enough feed.  We compare this to the more typical farm raising beef where lots of labor, fuel, machinery and fertilizer may go into crop and hay production to feed and clean up after cattle.  We believe in highly diverse pasture mixes, fencerows full of trees, quixotic horticulture, public service and more.  Your purchase supports unlikely barn restorations, shop improvements and this year better trucks.  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 and have them delivered by the most mellow of truckers.  This fits our low stress livestock handling model.  We move cattle slowly and gently.  Our pastures 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 and white cloves, birdsfoot treefoil, sanfoin and barsala clovers.  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.   This does not mean that we don't have significant inputs of seed, fertilizers, fuel and of course the cattle themselves which we buy from the conventional market. 

We are committed to quality lean meat.   Our animals are butchered in the late fall to maximize the time available to 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. 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.  

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 hi tensile 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. 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.  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. 

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

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