Farming is the lifestyle I wanted to raise a family in. I wanted to involve my boys in what I do [because] I can still farm and be a dad at the same time.” -Bradon Weins
Four Generations Of Farming
The Wiens family has farmed and ranched in Meade, Kansas, for over 120 years. In the late 1800s, K.L. Wiens immigrated to America and began growing grain and feeding cattle. Over the generations, the operation has continued to change, but the Wiens family’s passion for making a living through feeding people has not.
“I rode my bike back and forth from grandpa’s farm all the time, and I’ve been helping out since I was real young,” Bradon said.
Bradon Wiens is a fourth-generation farmer and rancher and farms with his father, wife and their sons.
A New Endeavor
In 2015, after having his first bite of a Wagyu steak, Bradon knew he wanted to raise this breed of cattle. He diversified their operation to create an operation that merged his passions of raising cattle and cooking a good steak.
“I got into Wagyu because I’m also a “foodie,” Bradon said. “I started coming across Wagyu not as something I thought was a potential but as something I wanted to try.”
Bradon ordered his first Wagyu steak and the rest was history.
“I studied the breed and liked what I saw, but what set the hook was a taste of the richest, best-tasting piece of meat I had ever sunk my teeth into,” Bradon said. “When it finally clicked that I could raise these cattle, I set out to find out how I could make it work.”
Wagyu cattle are a unique breed originating from Japan. In fact, the name Wagyu simply means Japanese beef. Wagyu are known for their marbling that gives their meat that melt-in-your-mouth texture and rich taste.
New Endeavor. New Hurdles.
Jumping into the Wagyu industry with no prior knowledge of the breed proved to have many hurdles. Because there are so few full-blood Wagyu herds in the United States, a registered Wagyu does not come cheap.
“From the beginning, my philosophy was not to cut corners because I wanted to be the best,” Bradon said.
Bradon found established Wagyu breeders with similar ideals and picked their brains until he was ready to start his operation. He worked alongside Don Brown, who has been raising Wagyu since the breeds conception in America. Don introduced Bradon to one of the best Wagyu breeders in Japan, Shogo Tekada, who is known for his model of breeding to produce a balanced, very high marbling and tender beef. Both of these established Wagyu ranchers encouraged Bradon to start his operation through embryo transfer.
After receiving mentorship from Don and Shogo Tekada, Bradon bought 30 Angus cows and transferred Don’s best Wagyu embryos into them to start the base of his herd with the best genetics. Today, Bradon runs his own wagyu herd and sells different cuts of steak, beef jerky and bratwursts all over the nation.
“While Wiens Wagyu does not have a long history in the breed, we have surrounded ourselves with experts who know Wagyu inside and out,” Bradon said. “I know there is no such thing as an original idea, so I have learned from the best, and in turn, I can give the best to my customers.”
According to Bradon, most cattle guys don’t see where the end product goes. So he had to learn how to build a brand and market individuals beef cuts instead of cattle as well as work with consumers.
A Trusted Lender
The Wagyu addition to Bradon’s family business was made possible because of his lender, American AgCredit.
American AgCredit Loan Officer Debra Stegman said she's enjoyed watching these young, beginning farmers grow their operation while simultaneously growing their family. “The Wiens are excellent people to work with,” Debra said. “We’re really privileged to help them out on their farming operation.”