Client Spotlight | Upper Iowa Beef
Playing a distinct role versus involving yourself in the entirety of a process are two very different things. For Ed Greiman, a cattle operation owner as well as the general manager at Upper Iowa Beef, understanding the food supply chain process from start to finish is especially meaningful.
Greiman and his brother both own Greiman Brothers, an Angus cattle operation located in Garner, Iowa. But Greiman aspired to connect the dots from farm to table.
“While raising cattle, my brother and I would send our cattle every week to one of our packers,” Greiman said. “I have a lot of personal friends who are packers, but I had this idea that if I’m going to raise the cattle, I’d like to see it all the way to the end of somebody eating our product.”
“We were raising our own genetics, but I wanted to push it all the through,” Greiman said. “That’s what makes us different is that we know exactly where the cattle are coming from.”
Upper Iowa Beef started as Lime Springs Beef, LLC in 2016 with about 60 cattleman families who had the dream of raising good cattle.
“We want to do a good job, and we want to bring our cattle to our own facility and then hook up with somebody who enjoys eating a good product,” Greiman said. “It’s all about ‘know your farmer, know your food.’ That’s what we’re working on here.”
Located in Lime Springs, Iowa, the company’s goal was to share their methods of treating animals with compassion, and operating sustainably and safely, all while developing full product transparency and traceability. A few other shareholders were eventually brought in, and the business established itself as Upper Iowa Beef in late 2017.
“I knew if this facility was going to make it, we couldn’t have a sales team,” Greiman said. “We weren’t going to be able to just get on the phone and sell product as we made it. I decided to reach out to others such as Certified Angus Beef as well as the Angus Association. I found a fellow by the name of Kit Palmer, who owns Palmer Foods, which is a fifth-generation food distributing company.”
Once that connection was made, Greiman partnered with Palmer Foods to distribute Angus products to restaurants, grocery stores, and other small distributors.
According to Greiman, in order to continue to grow, it’s first important for them to excel at what they currently do.
“We need to fine-tune everything and making it more efficient,” Greiman said. “We need to get really good at making sure that the cuts are exactly where they’re supposed to be, that the cattle are exactly what they’re supposed to be, and that the customers are getting exactly what they want.”
“Food safety is number one,” Greiman explained. “We focus on making sure we eliminate any cross contamination from outside sources by providing our employees with properly cleaned equipment.”
Customers are even invited for a first-hand experience of Upper Iowa Beef’s operations.
“I think that’s what makes us different,” Greiman said. “Customers can come here and tour the facility. They really get to see everything, which I think is a little bit harder to do is some of the bigger facilities. And if there’s a problem, a customer is able to call me and we’re able to make changes really quickly.”
Upper Iowa Beef’s brand new, state-of-the-art operations is a “result of hundreds of community members, local farmers and families…who believe in Iowa’s farmers.” The company believes in providing an excellent product, which is made in a process that respects “farm, food, and family.”