The Aubrac Cattle of Valley View Farm
Bob Schelhaas is a producer who has been raising drug-free beef for 10-15 years in Pipestone County, just outside the city of Edgerton.
Drug-free means no hormones, growth promoters, feed additives, antiobiotics or other drugs.
“I just thought it was healthier that way,” Schelhaas said. “I think we get enough chemicals in everything else we don’t need it in our meat.”
He uses vaccines on his cattle, but if one gets sick and needs antibiotics then they will no longer be identified or sold as drug-free.
“I just enjoy raising them that way if possible,” Schelhaas said. “I do sell quarters of beef and there have been quite a few people that have gotten them from me because it’s drug-free.”
Schelhaas milked cows when his kids were younger, but switched over to beef once they graduated from school. Schelhaas use to raise purebred Gelbvieh cattle and has been transitioning over to Aubrac cattle since 2007. His herd size is now about 25-30 cows with just over half of them being purebred Aubrac cattle. By next year, he believes 75 percent of his cattle will be purebred Aubrac.
Schelhaas started switching over to the French breed after someone asked him about grass-fed beef. More people wanted to know how their animal was raised, Schelhaas said.
“I just happened to be on the computer one night and I had a thing come up on the side or bottom about the Aubrac grass-fed breed,” Schelhaas said. “So I looked into it a little bit and they were having a sale by Lincoln, Neb. about a month after I discovered it.”
Schelhaas bought his first percentage of Aubrac cattle at the sale in Lincoln. He has added to it since then, and even purchased a couple full-blood (born in France) bulls over the years.
The breed originated in the Aubrac mountains in southern France. The terrain in the Aubrac Mountains is not conducive to producing grains, so the cattle subsist off a forage diet that consists largely of grass.
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