Growing up on family farms and cattle ranches on the opposite ends of California, Jack Rice and I (Jay Shipman) had similar upbringings. Our families taught us the value of faith, work ethic and to love the land the livestock and the ranching way of life. It stuck, and we both attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to major in Agriculture Business Management and Crops Sciences. This is where Jack and I formed our friendship and began to form the ideas that would later become J & J.
After finishing school and working for several years, Jack and I found an opportunity to put some of our ideas to use. Together we wrote a Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) grant proposal for an organic beef production and marketing project to be conducted in California's growing organic beef segment. Our project was chosen and approved for funding in April of 2003. Our successful grant proposal gave us the confidence and hope that our ideas and skills could also be turned into a successful sustainable agriculture business venture.
Three years later (2005) after several months of physical discomfort, my wife found out her body was attacking itself. The condition was considered permanent, and doctors recommended medication and conventional treatments that most said would be for life. After prayer, months of research, education and advice from health conscious friends as well as relatives and professionals, we decided to pursue primarily nutritional and holistic methods of treatment. Although my family and I tried to exercise and eat right, our bodies were not healthy, and it was showing. It was then that the Shipman family had a revelation: All food is not the same and must be viewed as more than just fuel to keep the body going. Food is intended to make our bodies flourish, feel good, be medicinal and help our systems run like the fine tuned machines God intended them to be. The changes we made to our diets and eating habits included: a switch to all natural and organic whenever possible, and for beef, a switch to naturally produced and 100% grass-fed.
Growing up on a cattle ranch, beef had always been a big part of our diets. Now with my own family, this was still the case. We appreciated high quality, conventionally raised beef and did not mind spending more for it. But now, we were looking for organic, all natural, and grass-fed. Not knowing what to expect, our first few months of buying and eating grass-fed beef were filled with disappointment and frustration. The availability was very limited, quality was poor and inconsistent making the product unattractive at any price. We came very close to abandoning buying grass-fed beef all together.
While corresponding with Jack via email on our situation and beef purchasing predicament, our old ideas began to re-ignite. In combination with our experience and love for the ranching life, sustainable ideas seeded in college which were confirmed in our SARE grant, and now our personal need for a healthier more natural grass-fed beef, J & J Grassfed Beef was born. More than just an opportunity in a growing market segment, our desire was fueled by the personal ownership over the need for healthier beef. Knowing others had to be experiencing the same frustration as we were, in 2006, J & J Grassfed Beef produced and marketed our first all natural 100% grass-fed beef.
Our goal then and now is to provide the healthiest and highest quality all natural grass-fed beef available on the market. We do this by using consistent methods of sustainable production, intense management, high quality genetics, and year round pasture grazing, never confining our animals to feed lots. Our system encourages the health and wellness of the animals, and our cattle are never given antibiotics or growth hormones. The highest quality standards are kept and controlled through the entire process from the finishing, to processing, to delivery, and to wherever it is you buy your J & J grass-fed beef.