​​Sugar Creek's Beginnings
 
      Sugar Creek Piedmontese, LLP's story begins several years before a partnership began between the Lavy's and Schieffer's. Our story begins in 1992 after Beth Lavy read an article in the Small Farmers and Ranchers magazine about a unique breed of cattle that was lean, but still tender.   It went on to explain how there were farmers raising them in the eastern states and getting $6.00 lb for hamburger.   I think here in the mid-west hamburger was $1.50 at this same time.   There were several pictures of the breed and how they crossed with other breeds.  Both Chuck and I were very intrigued and started our search for our first Piedmontese bull.    Everyone is use to looking up and finding everything they need on the internet.  But in 1992 there was no internet.  This made our search more difficult.  Finally Chuck and I located a breeder in Lebanon, MO and in 1994 Chuck and I purchased their first Fullblood Piedmontese bull, (C-3 Capital Gain).  Capital breed our cross heifers and we raised cross Piedmontese calves for four years before we added 3 registered females.  It has taken several years, but the Lavy Farm currently has about 40 head of registered Piedmotese cattle.
 
    About 4 years of watching us raise the Piedmontese cattle LeRoy and Mary Ellen Schieffer (my parents) also started raising Piedmontese cross cattle. LeRoy's true passion is in raising cross calves.  But Mary Ellen loves the fullblood cattle.  They started with 2 fullblood heifers and their her has grown to over 25 head of registered  Fullblood and Purebred Piedmontese cattle.
 
 Creating a Brand
 
    We were happy selling Piedmontese cross calves to Heartlands Meats, a feedlot in Mendota, IL for several years. This was allowing us to increase our fullblood herds and selling breeding stock throughout the United State.   As both of our herd grew we found that we had a one problem; where to market our fullblood and high percentage cattle that did not met our breeding stock standards.  Both farms had been marketing those animals to ourselves and our friends, but we could not keep up with our farms growth.  The owners of  Heartland Meats had been marketing all the animals they purchased at the Farmers Markets in Chicago and doing very well.  They suggested that we try selling Piedmontese meat in St. Louis Farmers Markets.  All of us knew how to sell live Piedmontese cattle to other breeders, but sell beef to the everyday consumer, we were not sure.
 
      So after talking it over the decision was made to sell Piedmontese beef at the Farmers Markets.  With that decision came the next question, what do we call our new venture, both us had individual farm names, but it did not seem right to use one over the other.  We thought; we live in Lincoln County, and in the Auburn Junctions area, but none of those names worked either.  Then we thought of the creek that runs between our two farms, Sugar Creek and somehow that felt right. We also knew that we wanted to have the name of cattle in the name, so Sugar Creek Piedmontese was formed.
 
Grass VS Grain Finished
 
Sugar Creek Piedmontese cattle are born on grass and spend the majority of the lives in pastures.  Both farms have always grain-finished our cattle,   after visiting with customers at the farmers markets we found that there was a demand for 100% grass-finished beef. The consumers demand for grass-feed beef was for two major reasons; one they are looking for a leaner beef, and two trying to purchase a product that was not fed GMO feeds.   Sugar Creek Piedmontese considered changing our finishing program, but after we researched several aspects of grass-feed beef like;
               1.  Cattle’s nutritional needs
               2.  The amount of time it takes cattle to get to harvest weight on 100% grass
               3.   The fact that older animals that have more connective tissue which makes the meat tougher
               4.    The health benefits of the Piedmontese finished on grain.  
 
      We feel that it is also more difficult to develop a consistency in grass-finished cattle year round, because the nutritional needs can not be met with just grass.   Sugar Creek Piedmontese decided that we could deliver all of the health benefits of grass-finished cattle while still producing a product that is consistently tender, leaner and favorable. 
 
​Our Feeding Program
 
     Our feeding program is very labor intense; we hand feed morning and evening, with a ration of spent brewer’s grain from O'Fallon Brewery.  In basic terms, a brewery uses several thousand pounds of grain every day to brew thousands of gallons of beer. That grain is soaked in warm water, which extracts starch that turns into fermentable sugars. Once that's done, the grain is separated and discarded, and the brewing process continues.  It is the discarded grain or spent grains that is a by-product for the Breweries.  The spent grains is a very good source of protein for cattle and is highly digestible by cattle.  The grains we have delivered from O’Fallon Brewery are barley and wheat.   At this time there is no barley or wheat that are GMO.   Besides the spent grain our cattle have free access to either high moister hay and/or grass. 
 
     My husband Chuck, LeRoy (my dad) and my 2 boys (Steven & Philip) spend all summer cutting, raking, baling and then rapping hay for the cattle to eat when the grass quits growing.  Mary Ellen (my Mother) and I try to keep water and food to the men.  We have even been known  to rake or drive equipment to and from the different fields and farms. 
 
     Much like humans, cattle need proper nutrition, natural minerals and salt, to keep their immune system working properly.  Healthy cattle do not need antibiotics.     Instead, we keep cattle healthy by focusing on providing the best possible nutrition, love, care and the best possible environment.
Our Team
  1. Mary Ellen Schieffer
    Mary Ellen Schieffer
    Sales
  2. Chuck Lavy & LeRoy Schieffer
    Chuck Lavy & LeRoy Schieffer
    Animal husbandry Manager.
  3. Steven & Megan & Philip Lavy
    Steven & Megan & Philip Lavy
    Support Staff.
  4. Beth Lavy
    Beth Lavy
    Sales