By Mollie Branch
This article originally appeared in the summer 2018 Ranch House Journal.
Despite some saying they’d never make it as first-generation farmers, Jarrod and Becca Creasy are pressing on to pursue their passion of beef and people with 920 Cattle & Company.
- September 20, 1904: Wilbur Wright makes the first circular flight.
- September 20, 1973: Billie Jean King wins the Battle of the Sexes tennis match against Bobby Riggs.
- September 20, 2013: New York Yankees player Alex Rodriguez sets a Major League Baseball record with 24 grand slam homeruns.
- September 20, 2014: Jarrod and Becca Creasy get married, which marks the beginning of 920 Cattle & Company.
Situated in Statesboro, Georgia, 920 Cattle & Company goes beyond just simply raising cattle. 920 Cattle & Company started out in the seedstock business with Brangus and Angus cattle. From there, they began growing to complement the cattle business by providing custom hay work, fence repairs and installations; as well as a meat business where they sell wholesale and retail beef. When an opportunity came to acquire a butcher facility, they took the chance to be able to be hands on through the entire value chain. The meat business caters to both individuals and restaurants across Georgia, who place a high value on locally sourced products on their menus.
Get to know 920 Cattle & Company and you’ll quickly realize two things: they love their work and they love people.
FOR THE LOVE OF PEOPLE
Jarrod and Becca are not just focused on the materialistic nature of their operation. They place a lot of emphasis on building relationships with each customer by answering their questions and addressing misconceptions to help them feel comfortable with the meat they are purchasing. Whether it is questions on hormones, GMOs, animal husbandry or how the cattle are fed, they are ready to provide those answers to give customers a transparent look into the company. In fact, 920 Cattle & Company’s motto states: ‘Relationships Matter. Safety Matters. Families Matter.’ Customers are encouraged to visit the farm to see the cattle out in the pasture, see hay being cut and get to know the couple as people. They want visitors walking away feeling like they have new friends they can trust with providing meat for their home or restaurant.
“We want to make sure those families become our family,” Jarrod said. They will often grill out for visitors because as Becca feels, “relationships can be established over a kitchen table.”
Jarrod and Becca see these relationships and trust as a crucial part in the process of providing customers and restaurants with exactly what they want or need. Each customer can expect to receive a unique, individualized experience throughout the process.
“For us, the first step is determining what their needs are. It is about understanding their concerns and addressing them openly, clearly and factually,” Becca said. “After the trust is established, we can move on to asking about their cooking styles, family sizes or restaurant clientele to build the most ideal package for them.”
However, Jarrod and Becca are taking the process of determining a customer’s needs to a whole new level. They put themselves in the customer’s shoes at different times of the year to help determine what will be in high demand during each season. For example, during football season, 920 Meats is putting together tailgate packages that will include steaks, hamburger patties, sausages, bratwursts, and seasoning packets designed perfectly for tailgate parties and football pre-gaming festivities. Thanksgiving packages and Christmas packages are also in the works to help ease some of the burden of holiday cooking for their customers.
“It’s just recognizing things that are coming up and asking what our consumers are interested in during certain seasons,” Becca said.
FOR THE LOVE OF BEEF
It’s not easy being a farmer or rancher in the current agriculture climate, but that is when passion comes into play. The truly passionate ones make it work despite low prices and hard regulations. All of this is especially true for first generation farmers like the Creasy’s who say they “may have only had very little” when they started.
“We had a truck and some cattle, but we didn’t have land. Everyone was telling us we would never get there. Being told ‘no’ put fuel on the fire for us and made us want it more,” Jarrod said.
Being a first-generation farm means they “have forged through the challenges of owning and operating a business in a highly regulated marketplace that often discourages entry. We have been able to make decisions and not be relegated to following the hierarchal structure of traditional multi-generational farms. We are more flexible and agile in how we approach business decisions and capture upsides in the marketplace. The lessons we have learned are very close to our core as we feel every effect of the wins and losses that our business has endured,” Becca shares.
They are passionate about everything they offer within 920 Cattle & Company, but they are also passionate about building a legacy of being generous, kind, hard-working people and having something to show for all of their work. Prior to starting their own operation, Jarrod gained invaluable experiences working with other ranches around the country, but ultimately felt called to establishing an entity that best represents the two of them and the legacy they wanted to leave behind. 920 Cattle & Company is something they can pass on to their 15-month-old daughter Finley if she chooses to follow in their footsteps.
“It’s all about the big picture,” Jarrod said. “We get to take our little girl out there no matter what we’re doing. It’s all about that lifestyle and knowing that, at the end of the day, all of the blood, sweat, joys, risks and effort is something we can rest our hats on.”
Going into this venture, Jarrod and Becca both knew the risks associated with being first generation farmers, which is one reason they diversified what they offer to help mitigate some of the risks. No matter what you do, though, there will be obstacles to face, which Jarrod describes as a ‘deck of 365 cards’ because these obstacles range from labor to pests to land access to regulatory and licensing issues. However, they are living proof that it’s all about how you handle the obstacles. To help alleviate the labor issue, Jarrod and Becca work to create a culture within the company that will recruit and retain the type of employees they want. For them, that looks like competitive compensation and benefits, supporting employees’ interests and involvement in industry organizations and fun perks that have even included tickets to athletic events and concerts.
“We try very intentionally to develop a culture within our business that people want to work with us, not just for us,” Becca said.
Another obstacle Jarrod and Becca have faced is marketing and promotion. As they began building the brand, they soon recognized the need for some extra guidance with marketing, which is what prompted them to attend the Ranch House Marketing Summit. They left feeling confident in their abilities, but soon realized the scope of what they wanted to accomplish was not going to work if managed by themselves.
“Turning the reins loose with them just made sense because they removed the level of confusion and stress that allowed us to focus on the farm,” Becca said. “It took us a little while to get to that point sadly, but once we were there, we were all in with Ranch House.”
While Ranch House focuses on digital and print advertising for 920 Cattle & Company, Jarrod and Becca focus on doing exactly what they love: raising cattle and growing their businesses. You could write a book on why they love farming and ranching because there is no denying their love for this lifestyle.
“We love the people in this industry,” Becca said. “Whether it’s the people we work with directly or indirectly. These relationships are important and are what we value.”
Jarrod shares that same love for the people, and also has a deep fondness for being able to witness God in his daily work.
“There’s just something about waking up at 3 a.m. to check on a group of cows and finding one that is having trouble calving. After 45 minutes of pulling, you find it nearly lifeless, but then, miraculously, you get to watch the life come back into that calf. It’s just awesome,” Jarrod said. “We get to see the good Lord himself and Mother Nature work in ways that are just indescribable.”