Where Does Rancher’s Choice Beef Come From?

Rancher’s Choice is a popular brand of beef sold in the Midwest, especially in the Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota region. But where exactly does their beef come from? Let’s take a closer look at the Ranchers Choice company and meat sourcing.

Overview of Rancher’s Choice

Rancher’s Choice is a proprietary brand owned by Consumers Supply Distributing, LLC (CSD). They are based in Sioux City, Iowa and have over 60 years of experience in animal nutrition and feed manufacturing.

In addition to beef, Rancher’s Choice sells animal feeds under the same brand name. CSD operates feed mills in Sioux City where they manufacture Rancher’s Choice livestock feeds.

The company distributes their products throughout the Midwest using their own delivery system. Rancher’s Choice feeds and beef are popular choices among Midwest cattle ranchers and consumers.

Where are Rancher’s Choice Cattle Raised?

The cattle that produce Rancher’s Choice beef are raised on ranches and feedlots scattered across the Midwest. Exact sourcing locations are not disclosed, but based on the company’s Midwest footprint, most cattle likely originate from:

  • Iowa
  • Nebraska
  • South Dakota
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Kansas
  • Illinois

Calves may be born and initially raised on cow-calf operations in these states. They are then sent to feedlots for finishing on grain-based feeds.

Feedlot Locations

The specific feedlots that finish Rancher’s Choice cattle are not made public by the company. However, there are hundreds of feedlots located within the Midwest region where the company operates.

Major beef feeding areas are found in:

  • Nebraska – Holds over 2.5 million cattle in feedlots, the most of any state
  • Iowa – Approximately 1.15 million cattle on feed
  • Kansas – Around 2.45 million cattle finishing in feedlots

Grain finishing gives the beef well-marbled fat and the corn-fed flavor that Midwest feedlots are known for.

Rancher’s Choice Feed Mill

In addition to sourcing cattle from Midwest feedlots, Rancher’s Choice also manufactures their own proprietary feeds.

They operate a feed mill in Sioux City, Iowa where they produce livestock feeds sold under the Rancher’s Choice brand. These feeds are likely used by some of the same cattle ranchers who supply beef to the company.

Vertical integration from feed manufacturing to beef processing allows Rancher’s Choice to control product quality.

Meat Processing Partners

Rancher’s Choice does not own or operate any beef processing facilities. Instead, they work with regional packing plants to process cattle and package meats.

Exact partners are not disclosed, but based on locations, some likely processors include:

  • Tyson Foods – Operates plants in Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, and Missouri
  • JBS – Plants in Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas, and Illinois
  • Greater Omaha – Nebraska beef plant
  • National Beef – Kansas and Iowa plants

Rancher’s Choice technicians likely oversee production to ensure quality standards. Packers package the beef products which Rancher’s Choice distributes.

Rancher’s Choice Beef Grades

Rancher’s Choice offers beef in the Select, Choice, and Prime USDA grades. Most of their retail packs are Choice grade – the middle tier grade known for good marbling.

Higher grades like Prime depend on the genetics of cattle and how they are raised and finished. Not all Midwest cattle achieve Prime quality grades.

Breeds of Cattle

Rancher’s Choice does not specify which beef breeds they use. However, common breeds raised in the Midwest include:

  • Angus – Very popular breed known for marbling and flavor
  • Hereford – Hardy breed well suited to grass finishing
  • Simmental – Lean heavily muscled breed used for crosses
  • Charolais – Large white breed used for terminal crossbreeding
  • Red Angus – Similar to Angus but withstand heat better

Angus and Angus crosses likely make up a significant portion of Rancher’s Choice beef.

Where to Buy Rancher’s Choice Beef

Rancher’s Choice beef is sold at retail locations throughout the Midwest including:

  • Hy-Vee – Grocery chain with over 280 stores across Midwest
  • Fareway – 120 stores in Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota
  • Bomgaars – Farm and ranch supply stores in SD, IA, NE
  • Lou’s Thrifty Way – Small IA grocery chain with 7 locations
  • Various butcher shops and specialty grocers

Look for the Rancher’s Choice brand label to identify their products. Meat counters will typically have ribeyes, ground beef, roasts, brisket, and other popular cuts.

Is Rancher’s Choice Beef Grass Fed?

No, Rancher’s Choice is conventionally raised “corn fed” beef. Their cattle are finished on grain for the last few months before processing.

Some of their beef may be “grass finished” meaning they start on grass then move to grain. But Rancher’s Choice is not 100% grass fed beef.

Why Choose Rancher’s Choice Meats?

There are a few advantages to choosing Rancher’s Choice beef products:

  • Source verified Midwest beef
  • Vertically integrated from feed to meat
  • Choice is their baseline grade
  • Competitively priced
  • Family owned Midwest company
  • Relationships with local ranchers
  • 60+ year history in cattle feeds

Customers looking for locally sourced Midwest corn fed beef often prefer Rancher’s Choice.

Is Rancher’s Choice Beef Higher Quality?

Quality is subjective, but Rancher’s Choice provides good quality corn fed Midwest beef. However, they do not market it as “premium” beef.

Many competitors like Certified Angus Beef and other brands offer niche “premium” programs. But for an affordable commodity option, Rancher’s Choice hits the mark on quality and value.

Rancher’s Choice Beef Reviews

Reviews of Rancher’s Choice beef are generally positive. Most reviews mention good flavor and tenderness. Some find the marbling excessive while others wish it had more.

Minor complaints involve inconsistency – some packs exceeding expectations while others are just average. But most agree it delivers good corn fed Midwest beef flavor at a fair price point.

Rancher’s Choice vs Other Beef Brands

How does Rancher’s Choice compare to other Midwest beef brands?

Rancher’s Choice – Good middle-tier corn fed beef at decent prices. Choice grade baseline. Source verified Midwest cattle.

Iowa Premium Beef – Higher end brand with premium genetics and feed programs. Focused on upper Choice and Prime.

Nebraska Pride – Grass finished beef from Nebraska family ranches. Leaner but rich flavor. 100% vegetable diet.

CAB (Certified Angus Beef) – Top tier brand with strict standards for marbling and quality. Consistent premium beef.

Is Rancher’s Choice Beef Worth Buying?

For customers looking for affordable corn fed Midwest beef, Rancher’s Choice is one of the better options available. While not fancy “premium” beef, it provides good quality and value.

If you demand upper tier brands like Certified Angus Beef, Rancher’s Choice may not meet your expectations. But it hits the sweet spot for folks wanting locally sourced Midwest beef on a budget.

Rancher’s Choice Beef Overview

Beef Grades Explained – Select vs Choice vs Prime Steaks


Where does good ranchers meat come from?

The proof is in the protein. More and more companies are sourcing imported meat to save money at the detriment of your food quality and safety. We’re proud to source 100% of our meat from American farmers and ranchers. That’s a guarantee.

Who makes ranchers choice?

RANCHER’S CHOICE® feeds are high quality, highly digestible, and palatable. All products are manufactured by CSD in our Sioux City, Iowa plant. We maintain an approved supplier list for the control of all incoming ingredients to assure our customers of safe, high-performing feeds.

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