Kerry Hoffschneider of rural Waco, Nebraska, has a vision. She wants to increase access to fresh, healthy food; care for the land; and help her community. Kerry is working with friend and business partner Del Ficke to develop a farm business.
I met Kerry at the Center for Rural Affairs’ and University of Nebraska Lincoln’s Recipe to Reality Seminar in January. I can’t get her ideas off my mind. She and nine other women farmers and entrepreneurs met for a full-day seminar hosted by UNL’s Food Processing Center.
The seminar helps people with an idea for a food business to take the next step. Participant’s ideas included ice cream produced on-farm from grass-fed Guernseys, unique bread recipes, and Kerry and Del’s conviction that “everyone deserves to have an awesome burger.”
Kerry grew up on a small farm in York County, Nebraska. The farm is still in the family; in fact her brother is returning to pursue his own farm dream. After a career spent reporting on agriculture, working for a seed company, and spending time in the nonprofit sector, Kerry met Del. He is the fourth of five generations at Ficke Cattle located outside Pleasant Dale, Nebraska.
Kerry joined Del’s cattle genetics business, hoping to expand their line by adding direct marketing of meat to consumers. The two share a common vision of engaging people and families in agriculture. They want to build a place and a business “where people can see how animals are raised and feel comfortable and welcomed.”
Affordability is the key to their business plan: provide a premium product at an affordable price. They’ll achieve this by extending the grazing season, reducing inputs, and improving cattle genetics for efficiency.
Kerry and Del are considering selling premium cuts to offset the cost of giving some away to people in need. The two were even more inspired when they toured the Lincoln Food Bank and found there was a shortage of meat for the community’s needs.
The Recipe to Reality seminar provided Kerry with “so much pragmatic, real-life knowledge” and practical steps to take her idea from a dream into a plan. I’m proud to know her and Del, and I wish them good luck.
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