Animal farming has been the backbone of Zobel Family Farms for six generations, and Larry and Tami Zobel plan to continue that history.

Zobel Family Farms consists of cattle feedlots, weaning-to-finished pig pens, and approximately 3,000 acres of farmland, with three generations working south of Bancroft in Cumming County in northeastern Nebraska.

Zobels expanded its business as the family grew, but recently expanded the farm’s offerings, building on a long-held dream of selling home-grown cuts of beef and pork directly to consumers.

A dream come true

“We’ve been talking about it for about ten years,” says Larry. I felt that was probably the direction that would serve the family and the industry itself. “

Tami and Larry’s three children, Morgan, Mitchell and Madison, each have some involvement in the operation, which was part of a long-term plan, but “only if they want to,” Larry says.

“It was definitely their choice,” adds Tami. Morgan’s husband, Jesse Jacobsen, also works at her family business.

When COVID-19 hit, the direct-to-consumer push began. “COVID was our push to jump into it,” says Tami. Larry quickly adds, “If we hadn’t been pushed, it might not have happened.”

But it did, and today Zobels is meeting customer demand for farm-sourced beef and pork and spreading the word about its products by selling directly to consumers through farmers markets.


These little piglets: These finished pigs are just part of Zobel Family Farms’ larger animal husbandry operation, some of which participate in the growing direct market pork and beef business.

A veteran rancher, Larry develops a keen eye for selecting animals that serve cuts of choice and prime beef to his customers, providing a satisfying dining experience.

“Some of us may never have even had a chance to eat Prime,” says Larry. “I thought they were out of their price range, but by knocking out the middlemen here, you get better quality meat for a lower price.”

Zobels credits the ranchers he’s worked with over the past 20 years or so, and the genetic programs from those farms, with good livestock for Zobel’s feedlots. Larry and Jesse own their own herd of calves and some of their steers are used for his Zobel meat business.

Zobel’s 2,000-head feedlot is made up of mixed breeds, but “we feed them all,” says Larry. Zobel beef production.

He adds that it is probably less than the pork side of the farming equation, which is focused on Duroc sows and either Large White or Landrace sows. There are 3 finishing piggeries that house 100 pigs.

Larry is the majority owner of a sow unit near York, Nebraska and supplies all the pigs that end up on Zobel farms.

the beginning of the market

“Before this started, we had customers who would buy a quarter or a half of the beef. Only people we knew, but now we serve hundreds of people,” says Tami. says Mr.

Most of these customers are served through family-attended farmers markets, including three weekly in Omaha and one weekly in West Point from May to October.

This exposure has been beneficial as we are building a repeat customer base who look for Zobel Family Farms freezer trailers every week. Just as customers expect her Zobels to come to a farmer’s market, Zobels has learned which cuts sell better in each market.

Filets and bacon are always hot sellers, and roasts and ribeyes were popular this summer. “Everyone is looking for steak,” says Tami. “Our beef oysters and hot dogs are also popular.”

As well as brisket and ribs for smokers, adds Larry. “Our customers are amazed at how different our ground beef is compared to what’s available at the grocery store.”

Larry and Tami Zobel in front of the farm office.

The Right Way: Larry and Tami Zobel run a sixth generation pig, cow and crop business. Zobel Family Farms received the Environmental Stewardship Award from the Nebraska Pork Growers Association in 2013 and the Cumming County Grower Award at the Earth Awards in 2015.

Zobels works with many different processors to see if they can meet the demands of different customers such as cottage bacon, beef tongue being popular in some markets. “We actually have a waiting list for tongue, filet, bacon, ribeye and jerky,” says Tami.

Can’t make it to the farmers market or can’t wait for the 2023 farmers market season? Zobel customers can now order their favorite cuts of beef and pork online.They make weekly deliveries in eastern Nebraska and ship throughout the continental US

new storefront

Zobels has built a new office and retail space at its homesite, in addition to its website and farmers market. There, customers can purchase their favorite cuts a short distance from where the animals are raised.

Additional freezer space at the new facility will allow Zobels to increase the number of heads processed. We currently process 5 to 10 cows and 6 to 10 pigs each month.

“We are booking more processing days next year so that we can keep up with the demand of our customers buying beef and pork.”

Zobel farm cows

Cattle Background: Approximately 1 in 100 Zobel cattle are employed in the family meat industry. Farmers in Omaha and West Point By participating in her markets, the family has been able to attract new and loyal customers for meat products.

With the new freezer space complete, “it will allow us to have more inventory so we can expand to those who can serve,” says Tami, and can even serve cuts to restaurants. “But we didn’t have the inventory, space, or processing power needed for that consistency.”

In addition to helping with the meat side of the business, Madison is also tasked with enhancing Zobel Family Farms’ social media content to tell stories about the farm and farming in general.

Telling the story of agriculture is a side benefit of the Zobel meat business, especially when consumers come to the farm store to see where the beef and pork were raised.

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