“Every time I see an ambulance go by, I stop and say a prayer because odds are, I know the person riding inside,” said Adam Jones, an Angus cattle rancher near St. Francis, Kansas. It’s a sentiment many in rural America share, where neighbors may not be just around the corner, but the bond of community is thick nevertheless.
Jones’ family ranch, Crooked Creek Angus, is one of 40 featured in the new coffee table book “Sheltering Generations — The American Barn.” The book, written and designed by members of the Certified Angus Beef brand team, features stories of ranchers in more than 20 different states. It celebrates their way of life, the bonds formed in rural communities and the important role of barns in the American landscape.
In the same spirit of community that inspired it, funds from sales will support farmers and ranchers. The entire purchase price of each book will benefit the newly launched Certified Angus Beef Rural Relief Fund, helping cattlemen recover from natural disasters.
“We’ve all heard some weather event referenced as the drought/flood/blizzard/fire of our generation too many times already,” said John Stika, president of the brand. “As a member of the beef community, when our farmers and ranchers are hurting, our brand family from gate to plate is committed to providing help.”
The book is dual purpose: a way to share the stories of everyday ranch life and to help provide relief when those who raise quality beef need a helping hand greater than their neighbor can provide.
“The next extreme weather event may not be tomorrow,” Stika said. “But when we see the pain caused by natural disasters in cattle country, our partners and consumers look for ways to help. This fund allows us to channel that community spirit the next time someone calls.”
While each family featured in the book has their own special tale, each also has at least one thing in common: they all have the brand logo painted on their barns. In 2018, in a throwback to “old school” marketing, the brand painted 40 barns to celebrate its 40th anniversary.
At each painting throughout the campaign, the community gathered to “watch paint dry” and eat beef. Families recounted stories of how the barns were built, the life lived under their roofs and the cattle cared for in their shelter. The book connects consumers to the story of where each bite begins. There’s the rancher-turned-restauranteur in North Dakota who used to drive three hours one way to source consistent quality beef for the small-town steakhouse he also owned. The couple who started with a dream, but no heat or water the first winter in their farmhouse in Minnesota and now support nine families from their herd. An old dairy barn in Pennsylvania became a classroom. A chance meeting at a gas station in South Carolina led to the barn where their children married and their cattle are sold each year.
“Sheltering Generations — The American Barn” is on sale now at shop.certifiedangusbeef.com for $19.95.