About Triple E Farms, LLC
A few years ago, Frank retired and purchased a farm near Sandoval, IL from his uncle. It was the same farm that Frank grew up on under the watchful eye of his grandparents. He began cleaning the place of all chemical and artificial pesticides and herbicides, planted suitable grass pastures, built a new house for his lovely wife, Barbara, and began raising Murray Grey grass fed cattle.
It was clear to Frank that raising cattle on open pastures, and grass-fed only, provided health benefits to the consumer. According to the American Grassfed Association research shows that grass-fed meat is lean, contains a high percentage of good fats (Omega 3s and CLA), and beneficial antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Additionally, grass-fed and pasture-based farming restore natural ecosystems and wildlife habitat. It reduces reliance on petrochemicals, improves the soil with organic matter, and reduces greenhouse gasses…especially CO2. Additional, important benefits are a healthier environment for the animals, and a boost for the rural communities, creates jobs and sustainable businesses.
Flash forward to January 2018. Frank’s son, Francis Jr, is CFO of Eagle Rock Distributing based in Atlanta. The Economos family owns and operates the distributorship. John, the father, is Chairman, and Steve, the eldest son, is the CEO. The other three brothers, Nickolas, Andrew and Michael are all significant contributors to the enterprise in various executive positions.
Following an introduction by Francis to the family, Frank was invited to come look at a 1,600-acre property near Kingston, which is roughly 60 miles north by northwest of Atlanta. The property, the owner at the time Frank walked the grounds was the Anheuser-Busch company. The company purchased the property and installed quite the infrastructure to handle the spent grains from his brewing operation. The farm operators would spread the mixture over various parts of the property to ascertain its usefulness as a fertilizer. It then became known that just selling it as feed to farmers was a much simpler, and more profitable way to rid himself of the grain waste. Anheuser-Busch sold the property to the Economoses in November 2018.
Following Frank’s visit to the acreage, he made a proposal to the Economos family to take a few hundred acres of the property on which to raise grass fed cattle. Research brought him to new cattle breed more suited to the hot Georgia climate… South Polls. The Murray Greys possessed thick hair and were well suited for the cold winters of Illinois, but not for Georgia.
Following the agreement reached between Frank and Economoses, Frank essentially became the sole proprietor of the grass-fed cow operation, an integral part of Triple E Farms (Eagles, Elk and Economos. Frank began the transition of closing down his Illinois operation (Fox River Farms), selling his livestock after transferring a few cows to Georgia, and placing his farm and home on the market for sale.
It turned out to be much bigger than raising grass-fed South Poll beef. It has also turned out to be a much longer process than Frank thought. The bigger part is interesting in that Frank is a true steward of the land, improving it, running fence, adding infrastructure for water, and helping groom the land for the Economoses’ interest in hunting. The land is blessed with white tail deer and turkeys. It’s rich, rolling hill lush pastures are dotted with peaks and other areas shaded by lush forest. There is also an important cave find on the property. The family donated the cave and 40 acres to the Felburn Foundation to manage and preserve.
Frank is currently running 43 head of South Polls and wants to build to at least 100 head. There is much work to be done though, and as an example, Frank continues to haul water by trailer to whatever pasture the cows are currently grazing.
Now, it may not have been mentioned, but Frank is 72 years of age, and works a full day, every day. Most anyone visiting will experience a difficult time keeping up with him. He is constantly busy improving an already beautiful 1,600 acres plus patrolling the perimeter, planting field cover compatible with the turkey and deer population and clearing back wood trails.
What Sets Our Meat Apart?
South Polls, according to the Drovers Cattle Exchange the origins of the South Polls began around 1990 with the idea for a breed to suit the changing climate. Teddy Gentry, of Fort Payne, AL was driven to create the ideal breed to suit the future. The South Poll, a maternal composite combining four maternal breeds: Angus, Hereford, Senepol, and Barzona, is a moderate framed, slick haired cow designed for hot, humid environments. Gentry crossed a Barzona with a Hereford and then a Senepol with a Red Angus, and then these two offspring were bred resulting in what we know today as the South Poll breed. The idea for the South Poll's origin was based on a desire to combine four maternal Bos Taurus breeds together to form a more heat tolerant animal, that had a gentle disposition and tender carcass qualities.
Physical Description. South Polls are red or red and white in color and are slick-haired, small-framed cattle that weigh around 1,000 to 1,200 pounds.
The market for grass-fed beef market is growing, and while the total market is not closely followed, and therefore not predictive of total size, sources say the market has grown steadily at 25-30% annually for the past decade (source: AG WEB). Without offering specific price data, grass-fed beef certainly enjoys a higher-per-pound processor price than grain-fed cows raised by huge operations.
Time and effort will complete this journey for Frank, but this author believes it will bring a lot of satisfaction to a lot of folks.
Frank Lutz - Head Herdsman
30 year career with Maxwell House Coffee and then Kraft Foods. Retired and purchased the farm he grew up on in IL. His wife wanted to eat healthy and wanted grassfed/finished beef, which was hard to find nine years ago. So Frank researched what was necessary to grow healthy cows on a forage diet, bought some Murray Grey cows, got certified by the American Grassfed Association and the rest is history.
Frank and Barb’s two children and four grandchildren live in the Atlanta area. When the Economos family offered him the opportunity at Triple E Farms... it was a dream come true... do what you love and live close to the ones you love!
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