Wickens Ranch has been a long-standing, respected family ranch in Winefred, Montana for generations. My family as ranchers, livestock auction yard owners, and community partners have known them to be good people, solid beef producers, and community partners.
When I learned that they were producing fresh, premium cuts of beef, it was not surprising. When I realized that they are also delivering it, rather than shipping it, that was a little unexpected, so I had to ask why.
When I spoke with Jason Wickens about it, He was able to explain the business model very well.
The cattle business is tough. Commodity beef pricing is based on the market, not the quality of the livestock. No matter how hard a rancher works to create the absolute best livestock, through years of breeding and a lifetime of care, the price will still be driven by the market.
So the Wickens brothers, Jason, Matt, and Eric, decided that rather than leave the fate of the longstanding, multigenerational family ranch to the market, they would take their high-quality beef directly to the consumer.
This was no simple task, however. To accomplish this, they had to add multiple new industries to their business. The ranch had always been in the livestock industry. By the nature of the business, ranchers sometimes are also in the transportation industry.
Taking the finished product directly to the consumer meant they also had to learn the processing industry, including the safety and quality control elements. This venture also required learning the retail industry, including the warehousing and inventory management requirements.
To get the finished product into the consumer's hands, they considered the shipping industry, which has its own problems, not the least of which are the potentially sweeping changes in its expense. Shipping is also not very personal, and they want that direct personal contact.
They determined that rather than shipping, they would deliver locally, to a prime market that would appreciate the quality that they are offering.
So they found themselves back in the transportation industry. Delivering beef requires sufficient packaging and process to provide the absolute best quality product. Delivery requires staffing and vehicles and is still subject to fuel prices.
The market Wickens Ranch serves is Bozeman and the Gallatin Valley. Since not all of the Bozeman residents live in Bozeman year-round, they sometimes do ship to loyal customers at their request. Most of the beef is delivered locally, directly from the rancher to the end user.
What Wickens Ranch offers is the absolute most direct “farm to table” experience available in beef. They set up booths at the farmers market, right alongside other ag producers, allowing people to literally buy everything they need for dinner directly, from the farmers who harvest and sell their produce in person to the ranchers who produce the main course.
The Wickens brothers are also community partners. They can regularly be found grilling and donating burgers at local events. Jason Wickens provided the grills and the beef, and ran the grill himself for one of our recent local Bozeman City Lifestyle magazine events.
People in the livestock and agricultural industries have long been known for ingenuity and hard work. The Wickens brothers have taken even that to the next level. They take the highest quality livestock, process it into the highest quality consumer product, and deliver it with the highest quality standards. They have truly raised the bar, exclusively for Bozeman and the Gallatin Valley, for the main course at dinner.
Look for the Wickens Ranch ad in this magazine for their contact information so you can become part of something special, contribute locally, and get the highest quality beef delivered to your doorstep.