Brad Hastings, Co-Chief Executive Officer of Cactus Feeders, Inc. headquartered in Amarillo, Texas, provides the experience and leadership that ultimately brings one million cattle affordably into the consumer marketplace each year.
“We are one of the largest cattle companies in the world, with seven feed yards across Texas and three in southwest Kansas,” Hastings elaborates. “In easy-to-understand terms, you could say that we are a hotel, restaurant and doctor’s office for both our company-owned cattle and the cattle of producers across the country that use our services. The animals always come first, we make sure they have a safe place to stay, three meals a day, and attend to their health needs.”
One of every 25 feed lot-finished cattle in the US is from Cactus Feeders. Their well-cared for cattle ultimately go on to produce 12 million pounds of boneless red meat every two weeks!
“Many might call us a ‘Corporate Feeder’, but I really dislike that term,” explains Hastings. “In fact, we are exclusively employee-owned by approximately 850 family farmers with cattle and hog operations in eight states. The employee-owners of Cactus Feeders work tirelessly each day to ensure that the animals in our care (both cattle and pigs) are raised in an environment that is safe and provides the best possible healthcare and nutrition. Ultimately, the best product we can create is a well-cared for animal.”
The mission of Cactus Feeders is to feed a hungry world, starting with family, friends, and neighbors and that includes making beef (and pork) products accessible to anyone who wants them. In light of the growing global demand for food, they are constantly evaluating ways to improve sustainability, improve efficiency, and continue to bring quality proteins to market in way that affords everyone the opportunity to feed their families high-quality, nutritious proteins.
In addition to his role at Cactus Feeders, Hastings has also been on the Board of Directors for Texas Beef Council (TBC) since 2016 in various capacities. This year, he is serving as Chairman of the Board. One of the programs he is proud of is the Medical Office Outreach, which uses a pharmaceutical sales model to educate and build relationships with primary care medical professionals. “We developed a strategy to get factual information into highly respected physicians’ hands about the nutritional benefits of beef in a well-balanced diet,” he says.
Hastings also is proud of the Texas Beef Team’s many accomplishments and applauds the team’s work as ambassadors of beef, “. . . building customer trust and demand in an authentic way.” Beef to fuel an active lifestyle is a strategy that Hastings can relate to personally as a former runner and Spartan enthusiast.
Read on to learn more about this forward-thinking, hard-working leader in the Texas agricultural community.
This Might Be a Surprise: I didn’t grow up in agriculture, my dad was a newspaper man in Iowa! I earned a degree in accounting and consider myself “recovered CPA” who initially got into the agricultural industry on the finance side. I started at Cactus Feeders as Chief Financial Officer in 2007.
Fitness: Being active has been part of my life forever and I’ve run quite a few half marathons and other distances. I discovered Spartan and other obstacle course races a while back and participating in those gave me peak enjoyment – I enjoyed the competition, community and challenge. However, I’ve had to scale it down in the last few years and find other fitness activities that address limitations from joint replacements – hip, knee and shoulder!
Family: Married to Terri for 31 years, she says I’m just getting younger and younger because of all the joint replacements! We have three grown children, a daughter and two sons all in their twenties.
Funny Story: On a trip to Japan and Taiwan with TBC and the US Meat Export Federation, it was so funny to see how the residents of those cities reacted to the bunch of us walking around in cowboy hats and boots.
Favorite Cut of Beef: At home, I’ll choose a strip steak, it’s lean and does well on the grill. If eating out at a mid-range, chain-type steak restaurant, I typically go with the sirloin because I feel it has a much more consistent outcome.
Best Burger Joint in Amarillo: I like Polk Street Eats.