Steward Loan Partnership

Posted by White Oak Pastures Team
Aug 15, 2023 10:58:10 AM


Participate in White Oak Pastures’ success in a new way! 

White Oak Pastures’ success has always been driven by innovation. We were pioneers in building the grassfed beef market, and the very first pound of American grassfed beef that Publix Super Markets’ ever sold was ours. And over the last couple of months, it’s become clear that it’s time for a new innovation at White Oak Pastures. To better extract the full value of the livestock we butcher, our path forward is to place a heavier focus on our direct-to-consumer business. 

As we begin to make this transition (more on that below), we are also grateful to be able to partner with the regenerative lender Steward and their network of individual lenders from across the country. Steward is providing White Oak Pastures with a secured interest-bearing loan on our processing facilities, helping us access the time and capital we need to refocus our business. If you'd like to learn more about this loan, Steward's mission, and how you can join the thousands of lenders supporting White Oak Pastures in a new way, please click here. We hope you'll consider participating.

Our new path forward...

Will Harris, the 4th Generation Owner of White Oak Pastures, was an early innovator in the grassfed beef market. Gaining traction in stores like Whole Foods, Publix, and Kroger supermarkets gave him the confidence to build on-farm, USDA processing, which had previously been the bottleneck to growth. 

With the ability to process livestock on the farm, the demand for grassfed beef on the rise, and being one of the only farmers able to consistently deliver product, White Oak Pastures became a successful little farm. This trend continued until about 2014, when Country of Origin labeling laws were reversed and imported products began to show up in retail meat cases all over the country. In just a short period of time, the margins of the wholesale business shrank, as did our volume, which has been a recipe for poor cash flow and financial performance.

Will had the opportunity to be a guest on the Joe Rogan Experience in November of 2022, where he publicly took a stance against imported product and greenwashing in the marketplace. Shortly after, our relationship with Whole Foods Market, who had been a partner of White Oak Pastures for almost 20 years, came to an end. 

We've spent the last eight months focusing on the business, but better evaluating each part and the ways they impact the whole. We know there must be a balance between wholesale and retail sales that we have not yet achieved. To better extract the full value of the livestock we butcher, our path forward is to place a heavier focus on our direct-to-consumer business. 

Customers like you have always been the heart of our success, and we’re excited to deepen our relationship through expanded direct-to-consumer sales in the years to come. We hope you’ll consider participating in Steward’s participated loan as we head down this new path together.

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Keep reading about our three core values:

Regenerative Agriculture • Animal Welfare • Rural Revival

For cooking tips and original recipes, check out our recipe blog:

Grassfed & Pastured Recipes