The history behind Wyoming Legacy Meats
Dr.s Frank and Catherine (Caety) Schmidt – an Orthopaedic surgeon and anesthesiologist, respectively – moved to Cody, Wyoming to begin practicing as physicians after finishing residency in 1989. Both born and raised in Texas, the wild, wide-open frontier and crystalline mountain air called them north.
No stranger to the cattle business, the Schmidt family first began raising cattle in 1836 after his family fought in the Battle of San Jacinto and received an original land grant of 640 acres in East Texas. “When I was growing up, both my father and grandfather had cattle herds. I learned to raise cattle with them,” said Frank. “When we moved to Wyoming, it was the natural thing to do – to acquire cattle.”
In 1999, Frank and Caety purchased Double Doc Ranch on the Beaver Creek near Shell, Wyoming. The 1500 acre ranch and 200-cow calf pair herd not only continued a family legacy, but gave the Schmidts a chance to raise from start to finish the meat their three children – Hal, Virginia, and Jackson – consumed during their steak and potato family dinners.
“As a physician, I am deeply concerned about nutrition and how it affects the longevity of the human body. In my own family, we have had the ability to feed our children natural beef that we raised, and natural 4H raised pork and lamb. I am hopeful that when my children have children this tradition will be continued.”
SHARING THE LEGACY
In 2016, Frank became interested in the access others have to Wyoming-raised beef. His family was able to eat beef they grew on the family ranch, but like most Wyoming ranchers, the Double Doc sold the majority of their calf-crop at auction. This landed most Wyoming cows in large out-of-state feedlots, consuming feed and care far different from a the fresh grass and humane handling given to them during their Wyoming upbringing. Because there was no USDA slaughter + processing facility in the ranch-rich state of Wyoming, ranchers had little choice but to sell their beef to feedlots, unable to themselves market or distribute it as Wyoming-raised without trucking it to an out-of-state facility for USDA inspection.
“I think the Wyoming rancher has been underrepresented in the cattle industry, and I’m trying to create a way for the Wyoming rancher to get more value out of the hard work he puts into his product,” said Frank.
In May of 2017, after nearly 10 months of building construction and incorporation of USDA standards, Frank and Caety opened Wyoming Legacy Meats, the first USDA Slaughter and Processing facility in the state of Wyoming in 50 years.
“Wyoming has the most beautiful open spaces, the most pristine environment with the purest water, the cleanest air, the best variety in grass grazing, and its present-day practices capture the true Western flavor of raising cattle on the open range,” said Frank. His passion of providing an avenue for Wyoming beef to be raised by Wyoming family ranches and arrive on the plates of consumers all over Wyoming, the country (and perhaps, one day, the world) – to raise and market Wyoming meat from conception to consumption – had come to fruition.
ALL NATURAL BEEF FOR ALL
All Wyoming Legacy Meat is All-Natural, not treated with antibiotics or hormones. Wyoming Legacy Meats is in the process of incorporating Grass Fed and Organic options. “I believe going back to treating the Earth as it should be is important for growing anything,” said Frank. “Natural and organic substances and practices are best for the plants and the animals and the combination thereof, which, ultimately, comes down to what is sustaining humans.”
Because of Wyoming Legacy Meats, Wyoming ranchers of beef, pork, and lamb have an option to share the fresh, prime taste of Wyoming meat with the world. And the world will have a chance to taste the full, rich flavor of meat raised on the lush, high mountain and golden prairie lands of the Cowboy State.
“We have the best beef in the world,” said Frank. “I know that sounds corny, but no one raises beef in this pristine of an environment except us. The people of Wyoming have a very special gift to give the world.”