West Texas family’s farm-to-table beef business helps meet demand
On a typical Sunday morning in the small West Texas town of O’Donnell, population 766, a family, seeped in cotton farming and cattle ranching tradition, listens to the pastor of their Southern Baptist church passionately give a sermon. As they file out of church, greeting their fellow churchgoers and friends, the Mires family heads to the home of 87-year-old Meme Mires for their weekly Sunday dinner.
After putting the meal leftovers away, cleaning the table, and washing the dishes, members of the family pull chairs around and the kids sprawl out on the floor. The discussion about the family’s history in West Texas and endeavors in farming and ranching comes to a pinnacle when Jaityn Mires, 13, makes a statement about why she likes to show cattle. Her words left not a dry eye in the room, including her grandpa, Travis Mires, or “Pumpy” as he’s fondly referred to by his grandchildren.
“I like just knowing that we all did it together and helped each other out,” Jaityn said. “At the end of the day, knowing it gets to come from my own family definitely gives me a lot of pride, and I’m glad that I get to show Mires cattle.”
Competitive show cattle are not the only thing the Mires family raises. Mires Cattle Company is also a commercial cow-calf operation consisting of around 250 heifers and 12 bulls. Unique to some parts of the industry, their operation also includes feeding 50 calves at any given time to market weight. What started out as custom feeding 10 to 12 cattle each year for themselves, family, and friends has turned into the family’s farm-to-table beef business, The Meat Hoss.
The Meat Hoss
Named after Hoss Cartwright, an O’Donnell native who is famous for his role in the “Bonanza” television show, The Meat Hoss is run by Megan Mires, her father-in-law, Travis, and her mother-in-law, Kay Mires. When the three saw a growing demand for their beef and shortages in the grocery store due to COVID-19, they were propelled into action.
“We decided we had to move,” Megan said. “It was the time to do it or don’t.”
Megan went through the process of officially making their business concept a limited liability company in September 2020.
Kay, who is the customer relations manager for The Meat Hoss, said their farm-to-table beef business was an opportunity for Megan to have a business and Travis to be in the meat supply industry.
“This is kind of the union where two dreams met,” Kay said.
As their business has grown, so has their customer base. They supply beef to not only O’Donnell and surrounding towns, but across Texas and to other states. Their list of customers includes families, small restaurants and businesses.
All of the meat sold through The Meat Hoss is processed at local “mom and pop” processing facilities. After passing inspection by a U.S. Department of Agriculture inspector at the processing facilities, Megan said the meat can be sold by the package.
Convenience for their customers is an important part of the Mires’ mission. Until they started their business, Megan said some members of the community had to travel at least 15 miles to the nearest grocery store.
“Now we’re able to have a source right here for our hometown, which was really my biggest dream…to be a place for people to buy beef in town,” Megan said.
Buying from The Meat Hoss is more than an average shopping experience, Megan explained. Customers have the option of custom orders where they can choose the package weights, steak thickness, and meat cuts, or they can explore the coolers of meat to select individually packaged cuts.
“It’s been fun for people to be able to choose exactly what fits their family’s needs and to be able to have fresh beef at their fingertips,” she said.
Customers who elect to pick their meat up rather than have it delivered or shipped get to experience cattle ranching firsthand. When they pull into Megan’s driveway, they are greeted by cattle pens filled with calves. Even though many of their customers are from the agriculture-rich area of West Texas, Megan said visiting The Meat Hoss operation might be their first time being up close and personal with cattle. Each sale made is also an opportunity for Megan to share the beef industry with consumers.
“I want to be known not only for our quality being the very best,” she said, “but for teaching them something about the beef industry and giving them the tools to share with others.”
Travis, owner of Mires Cattle Company and cattle manager for The Meat Hoss, said they are involved in every stage of the process from birth of the calves, including ensuring they are getting hay the family has grown, the highest quality feed, and the best care. Knowing this is what gives them the confidence to not only eat the meat products themselves at family meals, but also provide it to their neighbors and friends.
“It’s nice that we are building a reputation,” he said. “We’re working on our reputation every day.”
Faith and Family Tradition
The trio running The Meat Hoss each have backgrounds in agriculture. Travis said he grew up on the same farm where they now raise cattle and grow cotton and hay.
“It’s always been a love of mine to have cattle,” Travis said. “It’s been a dream come true to provide that beef on to retail customers.”
All members of the Mires family, including a list of Texas Tech University alumni and past livestock judging team members, play some role in the family’s operation. Travis said even the family matriarch, Meme, who still cooks family meals, has cattle grazing on her property. It is also not uncommon to see the Mires grandchildren on horseback helping move the cattle or assist with other tasks.
“It really is a family affair,” Megan said. “Everybody plays their own role, and I’d say we all work together pretty well. God blessed us all in different areas.”
As they have faced the toils of being in the agricultural industry, the family has remained rooted in their faith in God and in each other.“It didn’t matter if we made a crop or not, we were going be farmers and we were going raise cattle,” Megan said. “It didn’t matter if we were profitable or if we lost it. God gave our family this land and we were going do with it what he asked us to do.”