Young farmer gets results from packaged beef sales

Lillie Beringer operates Beringer Family Farms at the age of 25. (Photos courtesy of Beringer Family Farms)

Beef raised by Lillie Beringer, and processed by Nordik Meats of Wisconsin, has shipped to 16 states so far.
Pete Temple
Express Sports/Ag Editor

     She is 25 years old. She works as an animal nutritionist with Purina Animal Tradition. She owns a cattle farm. She recently launched a service in which she ships dry-aged, Angus beef across the U.S.

     Above all that, Lillie Beringer of Cascade has a primary goal in mind: to educate.

     “The gap between the consumer and the farmer is growing every single day,” Beringer said. “I ‘ve always just been super passionate about agriculture and the beef industry. I wanted to be that voice for it.”

     Beringer Family Farms, the operation through which she ships beef around the country, is her main vehicle for that. Through the farm’s Facebook and Instagram pages, people can order beef that was raised on the Beringer farm.

     “I was growing my social media page in the beginning, just sharing about certain things,” Beringer said.

     She then began to get the question: “Can I buy beef from you?”

     “That’s when I thought, ‘Oh, maybe I should figure this out,’ ” she said.

     She did. She went through the process of logistics and licensing, which she said took two years, and started selling pre-packaged, frozen beef in mid-January.

     “I didn’t know what to expect,” Beringer said. “It’s been really awesome. I’m two months in, and I’m sold out of, like, three-fourths of everything that I had.

     “I just really like telling that story and educating people about where their beef really does come from, and knowing every step of how it was raised. A lot people really appreciate that.”

     She has shipped the beef to 16 states so far. Her cattle – she has 100 head of her own and custom feeds 500 more – are, she said, “all home-raised from the day they’re born until the day they go to market.”

     The beef is processed at Nordik meats, a USDA-certified locker in Biroqua, Wis. Beringer said she was fortunate to find it.

     “It’s hard to come by USDA-certified lockers that are willing to take on a small producer like me, that only brings, like, three head in at once,” Beringer said.

     Larger lockers, she said, “are not going to do my three head, and cut them up the way that I want and package them the way that I want.”

     She admits it’s tricky scheduling appointments.

     “We’re booking dates right now for locker appointments of animals that aren’t even born yet,” Beringer said.

     The farm she owns, and operates with her parents John and Sheila, once belonged to her grandparents, since deceased. She took ownership March 2, 2020.

     “That was one of the farms that was getting sold during the transition of the estate,” Beringer said. “It wasn’t in the cards (for me) to have to buy the farm, we didn’t think, and then there was some changing of the wills. It ended up being for sale. I would say we were very blindsided by it.

     “It was, basically, you do it now or it’s gone. I wasn’t expecting that I was going to have to buy this farm until like 20 years from now.

     “I’m just out of college, I’m just trying to get started, and I had no idea that I would be able to take that financial risk. It was super scary, and I had very limited time to figure it out.”

     But everything happens for a reason, Beringer said.

     “We’re into year one, I made my first payment, and now I have 39 more years to go,” she said.

     Her job with Purina Animal Nutrition came about as the result of an internship. After graduating from Cascade High School in 2014, Beringer attended Black Hawk College in Kewanee, Ill. for two years. She transferred to Iowa State University, and earned a degree in animal science.

     As a college junior, she landed a beef feed sales internship for Purina out of SilverEdge Cooperative in Edgewood.

     “I absolutely loved what I was doing, and they were happy with my success, so my internship led to being able to have that career right out of college,” Beringer said.

     She also wanted to continue farming with her family in Cascade.

     “So they basically created my job for me, at  home, so I could still do both,” she said.

     Beringer continues to work out of SilverEdge, as well as six Innovative Ag Services locations, including the one in Monticello.

     “We serve our customers and help them with ration work and feed sampling, and doing cattle projections and cattle tracking,” she said. “In return, they buy their feedlot supplements through us.”

     Beringer has worked for Purina for more than 2 ½ years. She calls on farms every day, working out of her truck, which she said is basically her office.

     “I have a territory, two hours north, east, south and west of Cascade,” she said. “But I’m always home every night, which is what I wanted.

     “I just do a mix of everything related to the feed side on the farm. My main thing is the beef side, but I cover every kind of (farm) animal besides swine and dairy,” she explained. “Not every day is the same.”

     She said she is grateful for the help of her parents on the farm.

     “I really could not do it without their help,” she said. “We all have our set tasks that we know we need to do every day, and as other things come up we just chip in and help when it’s needed.”

     When she’s not working on her beef endeavors, Beringer said she enjoys horseback riding, camping, hunting, campfires, hiking and more.

     “Really anything that’s outdoors,” she said.

     When she is indoors, she’s likely tracking orders for the beef she is shipping across the country.

     “I would encourage people to follow along on our Instagram and Facebook pages, just to learn and see the daily ins and outs,” Beringer said. “And go to the website ( if they’d like to try some beef.”



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