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0417 Iowa Supreme Meats

By Melissa Mussman

mmussman@agrinews.com

BURT, Iowa — The Spear brothers near Burt work together to raise and sell pork, beef and lamb.

They have sold their Iowa Supreme Meats for three years to retailers and private customers and at farmer’s markets.

The Spear farm has been in the family for about 75 years. Darell and Duane’s father used to raise mostly Angus along with some Simmentals and even some hogs.

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The brothers started working together in high school. In 1993, Darell decided to purchase some Belgian Blue cattle to raise while Duane focused on hogs.

Darell has about 20 Belgian Blues.

"One thing we do is AI cows for people, and we buy back the calves," said Spear. "We end up butchering three-quarters and one-half blood calves. They are usually predominantly Belgian Blue, but they also have Simmental or Angus blood in them as well."

Darell bought Belgian Blues for several reasons.

"They are double muscled and we can use 70 percent of their carcass versus the average 63 percent," he said. "They are very docile cattle. Their meat is lower in cholesterol and fat, which also makes it a healthy meat for our customers."

Darell also has 10 Texel ewes. They have excellent muscling ability.

"We used to have about 100 head of Texel sheep," Darell said. "It became too much work for us with the beef cattle and the hogs, so we cut our numbers."

Duane farrows about 30 Yorkshire Hampshire cross sows in his farrow to finish operation.

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The Spear brothers take their animals to a federally inspected meat locker to slaughter and have their meat packaged.

"We sell our meat to retailers such as Hy-Vee, Rainbow Foods in Blue Earth, Goldfield Cheese Mart and Fairway, and other affiliated stores," said Darell. "We also sell our meat at farmer’s markets in Spirit Lake, Mason City, Algona and Forest City. We also sell privately."

The Spear brothers are looking to open a retail store near Algona.

"We will be selling our meat from there," said Darell. "We are also planning on selling other local produce such as vegetables and honey."

The brothers sell more than 50 meat products locally and across the country. They have several different types of brats that are pre-cooked, bacon, roast beef, shredded barbecued beef, pork chops, steaks and beef sticks and jerky.

"We sell our beef sticks and jerky and ship it to our troops over in Iraq," said Darell. "We also provide 1,000 pounds of our hickory-smoked maple flavor all-beef sausage links to the Iowa State Fair."

"It has been a lot of fun raising these animals and selling such high quality products," said Darell. "It has been very successful for us and we have gotten a lot of compliments as well as numerous repeat customers, which makes us feel very proud of the work we have done."

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