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Grovers see opportunity in Lime Springs Beef LLC

By Jean Caspers-Simmet

Date Modified: 09/11/2013 10:34 AM

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LIME SPRINGS —The Grover family expects many good things to come from Lime Springs Beef.

Jim and Marian Grover, their son, Travis, and his wife, Vanette, and their children Brettyn and Kate, operate Grover Farms. They have an Angus-based cow and calf and feedlot operation between Lime Springs and Cresco.

Jim, Marian, Travis and Vanette are shareholders in the plant. Vanette is treasurer of the firm's board.

Kate, who is secretary of Crestwood FFA, is involved through her FFA chapter. The chapter purchased 20 shares of Lime Springs Beef stock for $20,000.

Before Crestwood FFA could invest in the plant, the Legislature needed to pass a bill that allowed for entrepreneurial education funds from student organizations and clubs to be invested in entrepreneurial enterprises. The FFA members worked with Rep. Josh Byrnes of Osage to draft House File 533. Sen. Mary Jo Wilhelm of Cresco helped get the bill passed in the Senate. Gov. Terry Branstad signed the bill in April.

Kate said the members of her FFA chapter voted on whether the chapter should buy shares.

"I really wanted it to pass, and I encouraged other people to vote for it," Kate said. "Once they understood what a good opportunity it was, 99 percent were in favor of it."

Travis said that their calves are born and finished on their farm and that fits well with the firm's plans to only process cattle raised within 100 miles of Lime Springs.

"The cattle are raised from conception to consumption right here, and this will be a locally owned business," Travis said.

"I look at this as an opportunity for the next generation," Jim said. "We're three generations here. If these guys (the grandchildren) want to be involved things will change and this might give them an opportunity that they wouldn't have otherwise."

"The unique thing about the new plant is that people want to know more about where their meat comes from and that the farmers are doing a good job taking care of the animals," Vanette said. "We work really hard to make sure we're doing that, and we want to develop that trusting relationship with the consumer. This is our living, it's what we do."

"The better we take care of our livestock, the better they take care of our family," Travis said.

"It will be a great opportunity to involved with many things," Kate said. "We get to watch the plant grow. It will be a good real-life experience for FFA members. It will be lots of jobs for the community."

Jim and Jesse Stevens, president of Lime Springs Beef, were friends growing up.

"When Jesse came back to Lime Springs with this idea, he came out and rode in the combine with me one day and yapped about this concept all day long," Jim said. "He kept asking me if I thought it would work. Now we're going to see."