Small businesses drive rural America, but for those in the cattle industry, governing statutes and regulations have not evolved alongside the changing business models, said National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) member Ken Keesaman at a House Committee Small Business Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy and Trade hearing last week.
"The evolution of today's livestock industry has shifted, and in order for family businesses to survive, we have expanded and diversified our operations," said Keesaman, owner of KK Farms in Missouri. "In terms of agriculture, today's small business has changed and it is appropriate for the size standards applied by the Small Business Administration to more accurately represent today's small operations."
For small family businesses like KK Farms, diversifying is essential to mitigating risk, NCBA says. KK farms started out in the cattle business in the 1870s and has since grown to incorporate 1,500 acres where they raise 300 head of registered Angus cattle, a few hogs and farm corn, soybeans and hay.
The family has further diversified their operation by adding a vineyard and winery, a microbrewery, and has plans to add a restaurant and event center in an effort to spread risk.
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