Anne Burkholder grew up in the urban sprawl of south Florida, and graduated as a psychology major from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, where she met her future husband, Matt, the son of a Nebraska farmer.
That’s where her life took an unexpected turn.
After the two were married, they soon returned to her husband’s roots, a livestock operation near Cozad, Will Feed, Inc. Burkholder now is a successful feedyard operator at her father-in-law’s feed lot, and a beef industry advocate through her blog, “Feed Yard Foodie”.
“My husband and I made the life choice to leave the East Coast and move back to Nebraska because we wanted to raise our children on a farm,” she said. “Between growing a vegetable garden in the summer and helping to take care of our cattle at the feed yard, my girls learn the personal responsibility that it takes to be good caretakers of the land and our animals.”
She’s strongly committed to the hard-working lifestyle that farming demands, and sees the effects on her daughters.
“The work ethic and problem solving abilities that mydaughters learn growing up on a farm are tremendous life skills, and their dedication to excellence makes me very proud,” she said.
Burkholder’s own work ethics can be seen in her dedication to the health, welfare and comfort of her livestock. She and her team adjust feed components according to several indicators, including weather, supply and economics with the help of a consulting nutritionist.
“I believe it is my duty to always offer appropriate and quality care to my cattle,” she said. “I use a holistic approach to animal care that includes mental, emotional and physical fitness because I recognize that comfortable and well cared for cattle make safe and healthy beef – beef that I feed to my family.”
Will Feed, Inc. has earned both the Beef Quality Assurance and Progressive Beef certifications, which requires yearly third-party audits to ensure “that we offer optimal animal care while also focusing on sustainability and environmental stewardship,” she said. “I do this because I really am an animal lover,” she said, “but I also do it because I know healthy and comfortable animals make healthy beef and that’s what I’m putting on my dinner table every night.”