By purchasing your beef from Wholesome Beef Direct, you are opting out of a deeply established system, so the process is different than buying beef at the store.
You ‘ve probably read headlines addressing some of the many challenges in the meat packing industry. And for all its faults, that industry does do a stellar job of providing beef to the world. The “Beef Supply Chain” is easily manipulated but is strong. There are tradeoffs, of course, in price, process, and quality, not to mention all the proverbial “hands” in the pot before your steak or burger lands on your dinner plate. Each one of these “hands” gets only a sliver of the profit from this business model, which means each participant must survive by raising MORE instead of BETTER beef.
In this system, typically, a rancher raises the cattle that birth the calves that later get sold to a stocker. The stocker grows the calf to the size and age it can be sent to a feedlot for “finishing”, mostly on corn (because corn is cheap feed), at which time that “fat beef” gets sent to a processor to be turned into boxed beef that gets delivered to your local grocer where they cut and wrap it in conveniently sized cuts and portions and place it in the meat cooler for purchase by you, the end consumer. This entire process is highly dependent on FEED, which is an expensive investment over the course of a couple of years.
When you opt-out of this traditional system and instead purchase from Wholesome Beef Direct, the NEW supply chain you create is radically shortened. You now will purchase your beef directly from the rancher who finishes your beef. These cattle aren’t going to a feedlot; instead, they’ll be grazing on live growing plants out on the pastures with minimal, if any, supplementation and you get one-on-one customer service from your custom butcher shop who cuts and wraps your beef to your specifications. You enjoy the benefit of great quality beef at a price you can afford, all while rewarding the cattleman more fairly for his efforts and the butcher for providing an invaluable service.
Back to the question of why you must reserve your beef early, you can probably see that a rancher must provide care for a beef animal much longer than in the traditional system, so instead of selling his bovine as a calf, he needs to plan ahead and make sure he has the forage needed to graze that animal for another year or longer. Placing your deposit tells him you definitely want to purchase a beef from him and signals him to keep the animal on the ranch just for you until it’s ready for delivery to the processor. You will even get a brand inspection when you’ve made your last installment showing that you own your very own cow! What better way to change the world than that?