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Jackson County young farmer couple building local meat connections

Rising demand for locally raised meat during the pandemic helped a Michigan operation double its production.

Husband and wife Chris and Jackie Sandford are sixth-generation farmers who both work full-time in agriculture.  Jackie says COVID was a blessing for their beef venture that they started in 2019.

“It was a blessing on our business, it helped people see the need to source their proteins locally,” she shares.

The Sandfords started selling at farmers’ markets and have since created a farm store to sell directly to consumers. 

“We wanted to bring people to the farm and help share our story, and help share the truth about agriculture,” she explains.

Chris is also working to help create a local meat processing facility to fill a gap in the region.

“It’s still a work in progress, but we have two really good potential candidates that are moving forward with wanting to provide our county and the area with a processing facility,” he says.

Jackie says young farmers should look beyond the hardships and turn barriers into opportunities.

“And that truly is what it takes today in agriculture in wanting to start your own farm—you have to look beyond those challenges,” she says.

The couple was recently recognized as Michigan Farm Bureau’s Excellence in Agriculture Award winner.

Photo courtesy of Michigan Farm Bureau.

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