In the fertile lands of the Gypsum Valley outside Salina, Kansas, brothers Jack and Jerry Cossette are raising Purebred Wagyu that's deliciously earthy-flavored, beefy and astonishingly marbled. The Cossette family has been raising Angus cattle since the ‘80s, but it wasn’t until 2008 that they switched to raising the Japanese Wagyu breed.
As Jack tells it, they were on vacation in Washington D.C. when they saw the exotic steak (sold by the ounce!) listed on a restaurant menu. Since beef is their business, they couldn't not try it -- so they ordered it for dinner. Jack, in addition to helping out on the farm, had spent 30 years running various restaurants in Kansas City, so he knew a thing or two about food. From the first bite of Wagyu in the D.C. restaurant, he knew it was something special, something delicious -- something he wanted his family to raise themselves.
But Jack and Jerry weren’t going to do Wagyu exactly how it’s done in Japan. They wanted to raise Purebred Wagyu in a way that allowed the animals to be outside on pasture, and that made sense for the Kansas environment.
“We went no-till early on,” Jack explains, referring to a progressive farming practice where you never plow the soil, “because when you plow fields you lose moisture. We raise all our alfalfa, corn, oats, sorghum, and soybeans that way.”
Jerry and Jack also rotate cover crops into the mix of roughage and grains that their Wagyu herd snacks on, because that allows their farm to sequester additional carbon and retain healthy, moist soil even in dry years.
“We just call it naturally raised,” Jack explains. “And it really works. It’s got a great buttery flavor with no aftertaste. The meat is so good you really don’t need anything to doctor it up.”