City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More
The cattle at Z Bar graze on grass and are grain fed.

Featured Article

Trusted source

Z Bar Cattle produces beef without hormones, antibiotics

Each morning, Stephen Kirkland hits the pasture to tend to the cattle spread over the few hundred of acres near Sunset, north of Decatur.

For Kirkland, it’s fulfilling a dream of working the ranch either on horseback or in the truck and watching his own cattle graze.

“I love cattle. Cattle is definitely a passion,” Kirkland said.

Kirkland and his wife, Kristin, have turned their passion for the cattle business into not only a thriving business but one that provides customers with locally sourced all-natural, non-hormone treated beef at Z Bar Cattle. After opening their first store in Keller in 2019, the Kirklands opened their Argyle location, 100 Country Club Road, Suite 101, last fall.

“We are grass-fed, grain finished, USDA all-natural, which means no hormones, no antibiotics and no feed additives,” Kirkland said. “We primarily try to feed all Angus cattle. We don’t raise the calves. We buy them from people that raise the calves that fit our program, meaning they send an affidavit with the cattle that they raise with no hormones, no antibiotics and humanely raised and cruelty free.”

Growing up in Northwest Arkansas, Kirkland knew at a young age he wanted to be a rancher though it was not part of his family. When he married Kristin, he got a chance to work a cow calf operation in Mississippi that was in her family. He later attended TCU’s Ranch Management School and learned the business side of ranching.

The Kirkland’s bought their ranch in 2013 in Sunset. It was shortly after he discovered a source for grass-fed calves for their cattle company from another nearby rancher.

It was around the same time, Kristin was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that would solidify their business model. She discovered the more pure selection of beef helped alleviate some of her symptoms. 

“My wife was having some health issues and we started really examining the products we consumed,” Kirkland said. “The industry wants to produce as much beef as it can as fast and cheap as it can. They will do what they have to do to get to that goal. Just because it’s FDA approved doesn’t mean that it’s good for you."

“We wanted to take a different approach to that and provide wholesome and nutritious products at a fair price.”

Z Bar Cattle get its cattle as yearlings and will keep them fed on grass and grain rations for up to 200 days before harvesting and then eventually to the two stores.

In the store, Kirkland and his staff work to educate customers on the benefits of beef without the added hormones and antibiotics from a local and trusted source.

“We want a relationship with the customers. We slow things down to talk with them,” Kirkland said.

He’s seen several repeat customers.

The spring is his busy season, when he spends the bulk of his time early each day working the pastures with the cattle. He said it takes three to four hours to feed and tend to the cattle’s needs.

He usually then pops into the two stores to help out and also visit with customers.

He’s grateful for the opportunity to share his passion with others.

“You take a little bit of knowledge and couple that with passion and you create a business,” Kirkland said.

  • Stephen Kirkland tends his cattle each morning at his ranch in Sunset.
  • Stephen Kirkland checks on the herd on horseback.
  • The cattle at Z Bar graze on grass and are grain fed.
  • Stephen Kirkland passes along values to the next generation.