The 24-year-old farmer building a business, a cattle farm, and an off-farm career
A full-time animal nutritionist with Purina Animal Nutrition and a full-time farmer, Lillie Beringer almost never sleeps. The 24-year-old is combining her two passions, keeping her family’s legacy alive, all while educating consumers.
After returning home from college in 2018 to pursue her career as an animal nutritionist with Purina Animal Nutrition, she had the surprising opportunity to purchase her grandparent’s farm – a chance she didn’t take lightly. Beringer now manages nearly 500 custom fed cattle alongside her parents and her own 100 cow/calf pairs.
2020 was also the year she decided to start her own business on top of her titles as farmer and animal nutritionist.
Starting her niche
Beringer is constantly sharing her “why” of farming on her website of Beringer Family Farms, as well as social media pages. Currently, she is working to direct market beef to consumer across the country.
“The gap between farmers and consumers is growing every day,” said Lillie. “Families want to know where their food comes from and I’m just a piece in that puzzle when I can share how and why I care for our cattle.”
Beringer believes there’s a positive mind-set for the farm-to-plate movement. As she continues to share her farming story, she has made connections with people throughout the nation who appreciate her explaining the why as well as she grows her clientele.
“I’m excited to continue growing my social educational platforms; I think that’s the best way to reach the most people. I hope consumers are able to gain more trust in where their meat comes from by me simply sharing my day in the life.”
Concerns from her customers
What makes Beringer a successful animal nutritionist, is the fact that she is doing exactly what her customers are striving to do every day – raise healthy, quality livestock. In turn, she says she shares mutual challenges and frustrations.
“At the start of COVID-19, packers were shut down and farmers were losing $300 at minimum to $800 per head on cattle while packers were pocketing $1,200,” says Beringer. “It doesn’t make sense, and I can’t really get away from it as it’s not only happening to our family, but with my customers, too.”
Beringer says the August 10 derecho weather event hit her and a large number of her customers, hurting their operations on top of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The derecho is going to put a lot of people out of business,” says Beringer. “It’s hard to say but it’s also the hard truth as so many farmers have lost everything. It’s really difficult to remain positive right now and you don’t want to be all doom and gloom, but it’s reality for a lot of farmers.”
However, Bering still believes after all farmers have been dealt in 2020, there is still opportunity for her and her customers.
“I started my niche as a way to think outside the box and use the COVID-19 pandemic for the greater good,” says Beringer. “Consumers’ buying choices have changed dramatically to online and I think that’s going to be a trend to stay. Local lockers have been busier than ever, and they’re willing to take on this kind of long-term approach.”
Her family’s legacy is the leading driver for this young farmer’s work ethic. Although she experienced some setbacks in 2020, she maintains a confident attitude for growth in 2021.