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Connecting with the Community

Caviness Family
From left, Terry, Regan and Trevor start their days early, either at the plant or in the corporate office. (Photo courtesy of Caviness Beef Packers.)

Building long term relationships is a key mission of Caviness Beef Packers. From the rancher to the dairy manager, from the food distribution service to the local university, the Caviness family works to create meaningful relationships in their industry and community.

“A goal that drives our business is building long-standing relationships with our suppliers, our customers and our employees,” said Terry Caviness, CEO of Caviness Beef Packers. “That’s been our primary goal, and we want them to grow with us and continue to be progressive in the industry.”

Building the Beef Business

Terry graduated from Texas Tech University in 1969 with a degree in industrial management. He immediately returned to work the family business at Caviness Beef Packers. Years later, his sons Trevor and Regan followed suit, coming back to work for the family business after earning their degrees at different institutions. Trevor now serves as the company president and Regan the vice president.

Creating relationships, giving back to the community and operating as a family have been the driving forces for Caviness Beef Packers since Terry’s father, Pete, opened the doors of the packing plant in Hereford, Texas, in 1962.

That first day, Terry said they had around 15 employees and harvested about six head. Now, 58 years later, Caviness Beef Packers harvests up to 2,000 head a day and employs some 1,100 people. What was once a budding business, has turned into a thriving, third-generation family operation in the “Beef Capital of the World.”

“Really, if you’re not growing, you’re falling behind,” Trevor said, “so we’ve always invested capital back into the business. As long as I’ve known or been around, we’ve been building, improving, changing or modifying something.”

The operation outgrew the original plant and moved to a newly constructed facility in 2005. In 2010, they added rendering and hide operations, and they will finish a 130,000-square-foot addition in 2020 that will allow them to add a second shift to their operations.

Products from Caviness Beef Packers are distributed to more than 40 states in the U.S. and exported to at least 13 countries. Trevor said most of their product goes to food service distributors of varying sizes, while the rest is split between retail services and quick service restaurants.

As a family-owned business, Trevor said they can maintain an open-door policy with both their suppliers and customers to encourage open and honest communication about supply and demand in the industry.

Knowing the needs of the industry allows Caviness Beef Packers to respond to consumers wants and needs. Another aspect that helps them respond to shifting demands is the size of their operation. As a smaller operation, Trevor said, they can be agile and maneuver to meet the desires of the consumers with the supply they have.

“We’ve always kind of had the motto of, ‘If the consumer is willing to pay and we can do it, then we’ll jump through hoops to provide him or her with what they want,’” Trevor said. “Our ultimate goal as an industry is to satisfy the consumer.”

Cows and bulls currently make up 90% of the cattle harvested at the Caviness Beef Packers’ plant, while the other 10% are cattle younger than 30-months from area feed yards. Terry said the cattle are all procured from within a 600-mile radius of the packing plant. They work with area ranchers and dairy operations to procure cattle for their bull and cow processing and strive to add as much value to the operations of their suppliers as possible.

Investing in Education

As the Caviness family has invested in their relationships with those in the local industries and community, they have been able to give back to the community in very meaningful ways.

Supporting higher education initiatives in the West Texas region is one way the Caviness family helps foster their community.

With their deep roots in the agriculture community and a vested interest in the continued advancement of agriculture in the region, the Caviness family said they feel it is especially important to support higher education in that field. This is what led their family to be one of the philanthropic trailblazers for the Texas Tech School of Veterinary Medicine.

“Whoever supports the area ranches, feed yards and dairies – we’re with them,” said Terry. “They’re our life blood.”

Dr. Guy Loneragan, BVSc, the dean of the Texas Tech’s new School of Veterinary Medicine, said the Caviness’ investment has made the vet school possible.

“When you look at the vet school you can look at it as a number of ways,” said Loneragan. “It’s an educational program, it’s a workforce program, but above all else, it’s a program that is engaged in the community. So when people like the Caviness family step up to contribute to those activities, it means that the community’s invested in that engagement as well.”

Loneragan said there are two main goals guiding the recruitment strategy, admissions structure and curriculum design for the new vet school: serving rural and regional communities and increasing access to affordable education in Texas.

The school will recruit and admit students from rural and regional communities Loneragan said. They will also encourage students to not only go back and work in those rural and regional communities, but really invest in their communities in a similar way as the Caviness family has invested in their community.

This Texas Tech model of veterinary education is what really moved the Caviness family to invest in this initiative. They want to see the university educating students from rural and regional communities, Trevor said, and giving those students the tools necessary to send veterinarians back to help advance rural communities.

Trevor said his family and the company believe education is critical to developing young people and advancements in the industry. He said the relationship Caviness has developed with the Texas Tech School of Veterinary Medicine will help bring bright people into rural communities to help advance their industry and the community.

“You have to look at Tech’s model of looking at more than just paper scores,” said Trevor, “and it’s modeled to get folks back to rural communities. You have to find someone with a passion for ag, teach them skills and give them the tools needed to go and invest in those rural communities.”

Supporting the Community

The Caviness spirit of building relationships and investing in the community has truly shone during the challenging times caused by COVID-19. As the coronavirus pandemic takes its toll on the meat packing industry and the Caviness’ West Texas community, Trevor said they have done their part to make sure their employees are safe and fill the needs of their community.

Caviness Beef Packers has followed all federal guidelines and taken over 40 additional protective measures in their plants to ensure employee safety said Trevor. Led by their health and wellness team, along with their safety team, they have also provided education to their employees about safety measures at work and home to help protect the health of their employees and their families. Because of this, Caviness Beef Packers has only had two employees test positive for coronavirus and they have been able to continue to keep their plant running at 100% capacity.

“Our number one priority is doing an effective job of educating on best practices to keep people COVID free,” said Trevor. “That is our main focus today.”

Trevor said they have also been able to use their industry relationships to help fill needs in the community during the pandemic through donations to nonprofits in the area.

We just want to help fill the needs so the community prospers.

Caviness Beef Packers partnered with Cactus Feeders and others in the local agriculture community to support the High Plains Agriculture Pop-Up Pantry where 2,000 farm-fresh family food packs of beef, milk, cheese and other items were provided to people in need in the local community. They have also financially contributed to an emergency fund created by the Amarillo Area Foundation and have provided a total of $300,000 in bonuses to their employees.

“We’ve been helping out nonprofits and others with good initiatives to help those in need,” said Trevor. “We’ve been giving out ground beef, contributing to food pantries and providing dollars to help those with true needs. We’ve been there.”

Building relationships and investing in the community have been key initiatives at Caviness Beef Packers for the past 58 years. From early childhood education to senior citizen initiatives, from higher education to nonprofit support, Trevor said their family works to give back to their community in any way they can. They want their communities to grow to create a healthy and prosperous environment for all who live there.

“We do what we can to enhance all their life initiatives,” said Trevor. “We feel like it’s our civic duty to do that. We just want to help fill the needs so the community prospers.”

Leaving a Longhorn Legacy

Classy Lady poses for a picture at golden hour.

With a population of 40,000, Cooke County, Texas is a traditionally agricultural focused part of the state. With a blend of production agriculture and the oil industry, something that stands out among the rest is a herd of iconic Texas staples, the Texas Longhorns.

Based in Era, Texas, Scott and Stacey Schumacher, along with son, Stran, and daughter, Selah, stay busy with many endeavors in and out of the agriculture industry, including raising Longhorns.

“When people outside of the agriculture industry think of cows, they think of either Holsteins or Longhorns, so we have done everything to build a brand that captures the novelty that people have with Longhorns,” Stacey said.

Scott is a fourth generation Cooke County farmer and rancher. He was born and raised in Cooke County then attended Texas Tech University and received a degree in agricultural business. After graduation, he returned to Era to continue his work with his family’s farming and ranching operation. 

“Our operation utilizes a lot of land around Cooke County, including leases,” Stacey said. 

Scott and Stacey were married in 2010 and grew their family when their son, Stran, was born in 2013 and daughter, Selah, in 2018.

The Schumachers run a commercial cow-calf operation and also purchase commercial calves at local sale barns to finish out on wheat pastures as a backgrounder operation. To create more value within their herd, they are starting to switch their commercial cattle to registered Angus to enter the Angus bull sector of the industry.

Scott also started a custom chemical spraying company, S&S Enterprises, where he chemically treats pastures and crops. “S&S Enterprises showcases how chemistry can help shape the future of farming and ranching, and ultimately allow farmers and ranchers to efficiently feed the world,” Scott added.

Additionally, he harvests various crops including hay, corn, milo, and wheat for both cattle grazing and combining for grain. 

In addition, Stacey is the founder and Executive Director of the Texas Coalition of Animal Protection. “TCAP is a non-profit organization that provides low cost spays and neuters for cats and dogs as well as low cost vaccines,” Stacey said. The coalition has seven standalone clinics and contracts with numerous cities to do spays and neuters on-site. 

Before Scott and Stacey met, she needed something to get an agricultural tax-exemption at her home.  She was not interested in purchasing something for that would end up on grocery store shelf, but rather something that could be enjoyed for years to come. She loved the look and the ease of keeping of the Longhorns, and she decided they would be a perfect fit for her home.

            After their marriage, the Schumachers decided to keep growing their Longhorn program. The Schumachers sell their calves after weaning or when the animal doesn’t fit their operation’s needs. Since they sell many of their calves at weaning, the Schumachers purchase cows to continue their personal cow herd growth and improve genetics.

            Stacey said Longhorns can be more profitable than commercial cattle if they are marketed correctly. 

            “Social media changed the cattle industry for everyone, but for the Longhorn industry, it really opened up a new market,” Stacey said. 

            A big market they reach with their Longhorns is the homeowners who are moving to 10-to 20-acre plots wanting something that is easy to keep and to provide visual appeal to the land. Stacey said that as long as that market continues to grow, so will their Longhorn business. 

It is super important for people to know that agricultural producers work hard for them and they do that with a lot of pride.

The Schumacher Cattle Facebook page has 265,000 followers watching for updated pictures of calves, daily chores in the operation, or the beloved “Hey Scott!” video segments that highlight various tasks completed by farmers and ranchers, such as vaccinating, tubing and treating cattle. 

“Not being a native country person, I asked Scott a lot of questions when we met.  Through Facebook, I figured out the questions that I was asked a long time ago, people were still asking today,” Stacey said.

While engaging with others on the Facebook page is not Scott’s favorite part of the job, Stacey saw the need to answer questions and show people about their way of life.

The Schumachers use the Facebook platform to sell their Longhorns, inform followers about the breed, and advocate for the beef and agriculture industries. 

Building a brand around the importance of agriculture and the Longhorn industry has been important for the success of their operations.

“It is vital that people know agricultural producers work hard for them and they do that with a lot of pride,” Stacey said. “We have done everything we can to inform people where their food comes from. We want people to know that ranchers do not abuse their animals or the land, but they work really hard to maximize all the things that they can to create a sustainable product.”

Scott and Stacey have seen their son become extremely interested in the equipment they use like tractors and sprayers, and hope that their daughter, Selah, will have an interest in their way of life, too. 

“My hope is that they continue in this industry, just like Scott did,” Stacey said. “We are aiming for longhorns in every pasture,” Stacey joked when asked where the operation will be in 10 years.

5-year-old, Stran, proudly displays his “My Daddy Feeds You” shirt while helping feed cows.
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