Two sisters, one business dream: To sell pork raised on their Sumner family farm while sharing their passion for agriculture. The business, Sassy Sisters Swine, was founded in August 2020 by Mekenzie and Mattison Beattie. Mekenzie is a University of Nebraska-Lincoln student studying agribusiness and Mattison is a student at S-E-M High School. Sassy Sisters Swine is a product of the Beattie Family Farms, a diversified farm located west of Sumner and owned by their parents Bart and Shana and grandparents Jeff and Nanette.
“I’m involved in UNL’s Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program,” Mekenzie explained. “I was inspired by others to create a business, but I wasn’t sure what to focus on. People would call my dad to purchase a hog and he sold five to ten per month, and I thought ‘why not take it over?’ When the COVID-19 pandemic happened, it sparked a need for local meat. We posted pork for sale on our personal Facebook page and sold three or four hogs in one week.”
Sassy Sisters Swine focuses on educating consumers to help them better understand where their food comes from, and the safety involved.
“We talk about the entire process from raising the hogs, the biosecurity, and day-to-day farm practices to the meat processing and recipe ideas with the finished product,” Mekenzie said. “We want to provide the best pork eating experience while serving our local community and sharing our story.”
Pork bundle packages and individual cuts of meat are available for purchase. The meat is processed in a USDA-certified facility in Diller, Neb. Once or twice a year, customers are offered the opportunity to purchase whole or half hogs. The sisters currently have business pages on Instagram and Facebook, and plan to have a website soon.
The Beattie sisters agree that the business has been a big learning experience that uses each person’s unique strengths.
“I’m more creative,” said Mattison. “I designed the logo and oversee product packaging and marketing. I’m also home and can run deliveries. Mekenzie does a great job communicating with customers and organizing the orders, deliveries and books. Both of us have experience in meat judging through our local 4-H program. We have our moments, but we forgive quickly and work on most parts of the business together.”
Mattison also emphasized that the business is a family effort. Their younger brothers, Preston and Bart, help with hog chores when the sisters are unable. Their parents or grandparents have taken hogs to the processor, too.
“Mattison and I touch base at least once a week about the business and what we need to accomplish,” Mekenzie said. “I try to come home one or two times a month during the school year, and that may mean that I’m delivering hogs to the processor or picking up meat and bringing it back for deliveries.”
As with any startup business, there have been challenges.
“We are definitely learning as we go,” Mekenzie said. “It’s tricky to understand customer demand, the seasonal markets and how much inventory to have on hand. It’s also a struggle to find a USDA-certified processor with openings.”
When asked what the future holds for the business, both sisters are keeping their options open. They’d like to grow the business into a full-time gig, but “you get out of it what you put into it,” Mekenzie added. “We’re farm girls at heart and would like to come back home some day and do this together.”
Overall, business is going well and both sisters agree that it is rewarding.
“This is our opportunity to share our story,” Mattison said. “We get to show people how we produce and care for our animals. We are focused on delivering a high-quality protein product, and it is exciting to hear our customers’ feedback.”
“We use the phrase, ‘growing a legacy’,” Mekenzie echoed. “We’ve built some great relationships with our community and know that one person cannot do this business alone. We appreciate everyone who has served as a backbone or has supported this business so far. It means everything.”
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