There’s a reason the term “family farm” starts with the word family: it takes a whole family to run it! Ben is the farmer of the family. Though Hi Brau Beef is a young business, Ben has been raising livestock his entire life. He comes from a family of farmers and is the third generation of his family to farm in Newberry. To further his knowledge of farming, he attended Clemson University and studied Animal and Veterinary Science. Upon graduation, he returned to his family’s farm and has since started his own farm with his wife, Tara. He’s active with the local Soil and Water Conservation District and agricultural organizations throughout the state. Ben’s passion is exploring ways to sustainably raise different varieties of beef in the pursuit of new flavors and the perfect steak. When he’s not working on the farm (a rarity), he loves to spend time with family and friends, especially when that involves grilling a good Hi Brau steak and trying a new craft beer.
You Can't Have the Family Farm Without
If Ben keeps the farm running, Tara keeps the family running. In addition to her full-time job as a mommy to two wild boys, she is a commercial real estate appraiser. While she appraises a variety of properties, she specializes in the appraisal of agricultural properties as well as conservation easements and properties for federal acquisition. Tara attended Erskine College where she earned her degree in Business Management. She later received her MBA from Winthrop University. Although she works full time, her career allows her time to devote throughout the day to raising the boys and assisting Ben with business decisions regarding the farm. Being from a small town, she’s a country girl at heart and loves being involved in both the business and day-to-day operations of the farm. It’s not all business, though, she also loves finding any excuse to entertain family and friends on the farm.
The Boys, as they’re lovingly known, are the reason Ben and Tara try to improve the farm for the next generation. Benjamin, 5, and Eli, 3, are balls of boundless, wild energy, and some days the farm is not big enough to contain them. Since there’s no minimum age to work in agriculture, they have already been hard at work in their few short years. Their farm jobs consist of naming the cows, catching bugs and lizards, riding the tractor, pulling fences with Daddy, and trying to convince calves to eat hay out of their hand. They can always be found getting dirty, breaking things, and getting into mischief. Nothing makes Ben and Tara more proud than raising the fourth generation of farmers to have a love of and respect for the land and animals.
Hi Brau Beef may sound fancy, and our beef sure is, but the farm is anything but. Oddly nestled between an airport and a golf course in Newberry, South Carolina, sits what Ben jokingly refers to as his “experimental farm”. It’s not so much that he’s doing crazy new things, but that he blends some new ideas with a traditional way of farming that’s a rarity. You might call it radically traditional.
In a time when most of the big “farm” businesses are just VC-funded conglomerates buying beef and reselling it under a fancy name, Hi Brau strives to produce a product that you can know anything about that you want to, and you know the family who raises it. Everything comes from a single farm. They use traditional methods like rotational grazing and try to encourage natural processes, such as carbon sequestration, which helps reduce greenhouse gases.
Cows aren't meant only to eat one plant. When wild cows roamed free, they were exposed to all kinds of plants. Hi Brau tries to replicate that by keeping different varieties of grasses, forbs, and legumes growing year-round. It’s like a cattle buffet. This helps keep the cows healthy and happy while the various plants support a robust population of pollinators, birds, and wildlife. The cattle are born on the farm and raised by Ben. The herd spends its entire life on green pastures along the banks of the six creeks that run through the farm. They are treated humanely and they strive to keep their lives stress-free, which is more than they can say for their own lives.
They don’t use commercial fertilizers. They don’t spray pesticides to control Nature. They do use no-till planting to keep the soil intact. They do allow pastures to rest between grazing. The mission is simple - they believe God blessed them with the land to be its caretakers, and their goal is to leave the farm better than they found it. And to make some awesome burgers.