Dutton Cattle Company holds open house event

T-L Photo/CARRI GRAHAM The Dutton Cattle Co. welcomes dozens of local and out-of-state farmers to the ranch Thursday for its open house.

FLUSHING — Many local and out-of-state farmers gathered at the Dutton Cattle Co. on Thursday morning to attend the company’s open house event introducing its Akaushi cattle.

The Dutton family and staff welcomed around 50 people to its inaugural Field Day at the company’s 1,150-acre ranch in Flushing. Owners John and Rita Dutton founded the company in 1981. Over the past few years, the Duttons have purchased Akaushi cattle which officials say produce healthier and more flavorful Wagyu beef.

Their son, Chris Dutton, thanked everyone for coming to the event, which introduced attendees to the benefits of the Akaushi cattle and allowed them to tour the farm.

JoJo Carrales, vice president of cattle operations for Heartbrand Ranch in Texas, said he attended the event to support the Dutton Cattle Co. The Duttons purchased its cattle from Heartbrand Ranch, which sells cattle to farms throughout the world.

“About five years ago, John and Rita bought some Akaushi cattle from us in Texas and really saw the opportunity to improve the beef industry in their area. We raise a breed of cattle called Akaushi, it’s a Japanese breed of cattle — it has very high marbling, it’s really consistent. It is a breed that we’ve used a lot in cross breeding. So when you have a producer like the Dutton ranch that uses Akaushi full blood bulls on top of their existing cattle, we offer a premium program at Heartbrand to buy those calves back for our brand of beef,” he said.

The program allows other breeders to use the Akaushi genetics to gain more profit on their offspring, Carrales added.

Carrales said the Duttons noticed a demand in the area for a higher quality of meat that is locally sourced and wanted to help fill that gap.

‘They’ve seen a very big local demand of people wanting higher quality meat, wanting it locally sourced and they want to know how it’s raised; so that branch of the animal industry is growing. We see that all over. … People want to know a lot about what’s going into their body … that sector of the industry is without a doubt growing. We felt that the Dutton ranch has not only improved cattle genetics, but have done so with a big thought for the renewable resources here, so they’re definitely a leader in the area and leader in the state in improving the land, improving the soil and grasses. They’ve been a great example for all their neighbors,” Carrales said.

Jeff Shepherd, Dutton ranch manager, said they started the full-blood Akaushi genetics at the ranch three years ago. He said it’s a relatively new breed for the area.

“We’ve been excited to introduce the breed to this part of the country. Right now, we are the largest full-blood registered herd here at Dutton Cattle east of the Mississippi,” he said.

The ranch has 983 cows on the property — as of 9 a.m. Thursday, when the farm’s newest calf was born.

Shepherd said they had initially planned to hold the introductory event last year; however, they were unable to do so due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“So fortunately, we were able to get it done this May. We’re just excited to introduce the breed to local producers, to consumers, to everyone. The breed just stands out so well; the palatability to the consumer. The end product, it’s undeniable when you taste this beef. It’s not only heart healthy, it’s just the best beef in taste, in my opinion, and a lot of folks agree with that,” he said.

The Duttons also own a restaurant – The Pike 40 in Morristown. Beginning next week, the menu will be revamped, and all beef and burgers in the restaurant will come from their farm-raised, Akaushi-Wagyu beef, Shepherd said.

Mike Vinka, a local farmer who attended the event, said he is a beef farmer who owns cattle in the area. He said he came to the event to check out the breed of cattle and look into “new possibilities.”

For more information about the company or the Akaushi cattle, visit duttonakaushi.com.


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