Terry Graybill, Ron Wetherell, Doug Stowater, Adam Timmerman, Shane Graybill and Steve Ruden have teamed up to raise American Wagyu beef cattle which is a specialty breed not often found in the United States. Wagyu meat is world known and has been raised by Japanese for as long as research can find. The men in Cherokee decided to start raising the American Wagyu after attending an Iowa 82 meeting a few years back.
"Iowa 82 represents the 82 smallest counties in Iowa," Terry said. "The guy doing the presentation told us the counties that were thriving had one of three things. They either had a lake, a four lane highway or they raised a lot of cattle."
"If you're going to raise cattle, why not figure out how to get more money for those cattle," Terry Graybill said.
With that attitude, the group decided to invest in Wagyu beef cattle and hasn't looked back. In 2007, Terry hooked up the trailer and went to Burwell, Neb., where they bought a 98 percent full blood bull named Reggie, from Morgan Ranch. Shortly after breeding Reggie with some of their own livestock to get what they call half-breeds, Terry made another trip back to Morgan Ranch to purchase four half-breed Wagyu heifers.
But the combination of half-breed heifers and a 98 percent pure Wagyu bull brought some three quarter pure breeds into their herd. For the partnership, the more Wagyu style of meat the better. Wagyu meat has world-renowned marbling characteristics that present a healthy alternative to traditional beef, along with enhanced flavor, tenderness and juiciness for which Wagyu beef is known. It is that way because the meat contains more mono saturated fats (or good fats) than saturated fats (or bad fats).
"So if there is such a thing as healthy beef, this would be it," Graybill stated."They are also raised without steroids."
The business has just continued to grow slow but sure from there. The group of men found Dr. Jerry Reeves in Washington State last year, who liked the fact that they are trying to get the Wagyu name out. He sold the men four full breed heifers and some semen straws to use in artificial insemination that is now producing the group's first round of full breed calves.
"It's been a long, long process and a lot of money," he said, "but it's been worth it."