Veteran-Owned Cattle Company Proves Suffering Builds Grit
USFR-KANSAS CATTLE CO
At the KC Cattle Company, business is booming.
“Business has been a wild ride the last year,” says Patrick Montgomery, owner of KC Cattle Company.
When Farm Journal first met Patrick Montgomery last year, the three-year-old business was just picking up steam. Thanks to some new-found fame, KC Cattle Company has since taken off.
“We call it the ‘hotdog catastrophe’ that happened on August 1st last year,” he says. “We sent hotdogs to ‘Food and Wine Magazine’ on the East Coast, and they wrote this article claiming we had the best hot dog in the world. The article went viral. It kind of blew us up overnight.”
The article said the hot dogs from KC Cattle Company tasted like steak, and interest exploded. That also drove business to their website even before the meat boom of COVID-19 hit. Now, Montgomery says they are having processing problems, which is impacting the availability of meat products on their online store.
“We're doing all we can to get animals harvested and continue servicing customers,” he says. “It's been a struggle.”
Montgomery says the struggle for KC Cattle Company today is keeping up with the new-found demand.
“We put four carcasses of beef online last Friday, and those sold out in an hour.”
Montgomery is a producer who’s no stranger to challenges. U.S. Farm Report first visited him in May of 2019, the challenges make every victory even sweeter.
“There wasn't anybody doing this in Kansas City,” said Montgomery in 2019.
Montgomery decided to dive into raising wagyu beef in 2016, making his first sale two years later.
“About 95% of our revenue is done through our website,” he says.
The idea of the KC Cattle Company grew from an untraditional seed.
“I grew up 30 minutes from here,” said Montgomery, standing on his ranch just outside of Weston, Mo. “My family wasn’t in the agriculture business and about the most exposure I had to it during high school was getting paid $8 an hour to buck hay bales on a trailer.”
After graduating high school, Montgomery got a taste of college and decided that wasn't the path for him. So, he dropped out, opting to enlist in the military. Montgomery became an Army Ranger and during his first appointment, tragedy struck. His brother-in-law was killed in action while in Afghanistan.
“I was tasked with bringing him back to my sister, which is probably be the greatest honor I have until I die,” said Montgomery.
That honor and that tragedy, led him on a deep, dark path for about a year and a half.
“I'm fortunate for even the tough parts because it made me the man I am today,” said Montgomery in 2019. “I think about those things, if they would change just a little bit, I wouldn't be standing here when it came time to re-enlist.”
Montgomery knew he needed to change focus, so he decided to pursue a degree in animal science with hopes of one day becoming a veterinarian, when that experience birthed another idea: KC Cattle Company. Today, Montgomery raises wagyu cattle and sells high quality, higher priced beef in the Kansas City area, as well as online. The business is owned and operated by only veterans.
“That's kind of by accident,” said Montgomery. “There is no part of my marketing plan or anything that included, you know, being a 100% veteran operated cattle ranch. It's pretty cool to see the change in some of the guys that come out here and transition from that military lifestyle to civilian life.”
Life-changing for the veterans who work on the ranch, and even life-changing for Montgomery, who still has a vivid passion for his country; a passion that isn’t wavering even in the midst of COVID-19.
“I don't think we're heading for a huge downturn,” says Montgomery. “I think we're going to figure this out as a whole and America will come back stronger for it. Suffering builds grit is what I like to say.”
With a belief that COVID-19 will breed strength, he’s confident the U.S. will prove to the world why America is the home of the brave.