Working in the agriculture industry is an important job. It is a job that supplies food to communities all around the country. Krista and Danielle Irlbeck understand this more than anything. Instead of spending nights in town when they were younger, they were on the ranch tending to cattle and learning how to make their family farm thrive. Their father, Steve Irlbeck, who was also taught to farm and ranch by his father, passed that love for farming and ranching on to his two daughters. As a family they are proud to put in the long days and do what it takes to get the job done.
The Irlbeck Farms Story
The Irlbeck family can trace their roots back to Carol, Iowa in the beginning of the 1900s and in 1906 their family made the move to Happy, Texas. Today, Steve Irlbeck and his daughters, Krista and Danielle, run Irlbeck Farms. Growing up on the ranch both girls developed a love for caring for their cattle and most importantly learned what was required to run a successful ranch. They both feel fortunate to have the opportunity and knowledge to carry on their family legacy. Steve says, “there’s not a job my daughters can’t do.” He even has a granddaughter who has already begun following in their footsteps.
They take care of the cattle by checking on each cow’s health and feeding them when the heard is short of grass, which is usually only in the winter. In Spring, the girls and Steve are busy making sure the calves are born without issues and that they remain healthy. By summer, they are spraying and plowing the land while continuing to take care of the cattle, which means that every morning is spent checking in on them and herding them to water. The Irlbeck’s feel blessed to have the opportunity to make a living for their family by carrying on their family’s ranching legacy. They know it’s not what they do, but who they are. They are raising their cattle with CARE.
The Irlbeck’s participate in Source, Age, Non-Hormone Treated Cattle, Verified Natural Beef and the Where Food Comes From BeefCARE programs. As you can tell, verification and sustainability are something the Irlbeck’s take seriously on their ranch. The BeefCARE program helps ensure that the animals and the environment are cared for. This means healthy soil, clean water, and utilizing farming techniques that keep the land plentiful such as rotational grazing. Supporting your people and local communities are also a big part of the certification process. Treatment of employees, succession planning for the future and even community support are all areas Where Food Comes From looks at when certifying ranches and farms.
Steve says these programs are designed around how cattle should be treated, handled and cared for. This means following specific processes and guidelines to produce the best quality beef for consumers. The work they do on the ranch is a family affair and they know it takes the entire family to make the operation successful.
The Irlbeck’s have truly put their heart into sustainable ranching.