Wagyu beef industry small but strong in Kansas


By Alice Mannette, The Hutchinson News

via The Telegraph (GA) - March 20, 2020


HUTCHINSON, Kan. | For Drew Bryan, beef is money.


In addition to buying the best pork and beef to sell in his butcher shop in Hutchinson four years ago, Bryan decided to add a premium meat - crossbred Wagyu – to the selection.


That’s when Bryan, the owner of Jackson Meat, started raising crossbred Wagyu cattle, The Hutchinson News reported. Now, he sells this meat in his store.


“When we bought the meat market, it gave us the opportunity to raise from farm to table meat,” Bryan said. “I always had a small herd (Angus). For me, it’s therapy.”


Wagyu are a breed of Japanese cattle, valued for their marbleized meat. Primarily black, the Wagyu are smaller than most American cattle. According to the American Wagyu Association, approximately 10% of Wagyu are a reddish color.


Full-blooded animals have a pedigree, like dogs, and must be registered with AWA. Each animal has a name, and their heritage can be traced back generations. AWA has more than 700 active members in every state but Alaska.


For crossbred stock, the rancher buys a Wagyu bull and lets him breed with cows. In Bryan’s case, Angus cows.


Other breeds traditionally used for crossbreeding are Holstein and Brahman. In the case of Jim Keller of Terra Cattle of Rose Hill, he is crossing his bull with both Charolais and Angus. Keller is new to this enterprise. He bought his bull two months ago.


“He’s very calm,” Keller said. “His father was a top sire in Japan.”


Like Bryan, Josh Homolka of Scorched Stone Farm in Holyrood, Kansas, near Ellsworth, started his Wagyu operation four years ago. He currently owns two full-blooded Wagyu bulls. Like Bryan, Homolka uses Angus cows for crossbreeding...