The one thing that is special about people like Phillip and Amanda Schankie – who are in a long line of farm and ranch families – is how they adapt to keep their operation in business. When the pandemic hit in 2020, Amanda quickly pivoted their operation in the Flint Hills northeast of Madison and started the Dirt Road Cattle Company. Although they had been raising beef and other food products for years, they began a new way of selling the food they raise direct-to-consumers.
“Until the pandemic, our normal operation was to pasture over 3,000 head of custom cattle each summer from April to August, then ship them to feedlots. However, when the pandemic hit, we had a freezer full of beef and looked for places to list it, then I found Shop Kansas Farms on Facebook.”
Now, consumers can purchase various products such as:
- Grass fed Angus Beef
- Grain Finished Angus Beef
- Pasture raised Chickens and Turkeys
Consumers can purchase the from their website and either pick them up at their ranch which has a new store front or get on their delivery schedule.
“People order online from us then we do a delivery route,” Amanda says. “It includes Emporia, Topeka, Manhattan, Lawrence, Kansas City, Overland Park, Olathe, Ottawa, Wichita, Eldorado, Eureka and surrounding areas to those towns. That has been a huge part of our business to be willing and able to deliver to customers.”
In addition to their delivery model, they also opened a store on the ranch. Many customers, like Carmen Miller of El Dorado, enjoy the scenic drive through the Flint Hills and meeting Phillip and Amanda in person.
“They are the real deal of a Kansas ranch family,” Carmen says. “My husband and I love their products and now refuse to buy from the store because nothing tastes as good as their beef, chicken and bison. And their farm fresh eggs are the best! It’s such an enjoyable drive through the hills to visit them.”
Another new development to make access easier is their Mobile Store.
“We converted a two-horse trailer into a mobile store,” Amanda says. “We put a freezer in there and, starting in September, will go to the farmer’s market in Emporia and Ottawa for this fall, then will start going to Wichita next year. People can order online and pick up their order at the Mobile Store or they can just shop our Store at the Farmer’s Market.”
Phillip and Amanda represent the heart and soul of the Kansas farmer and rancher who were raised to work hard and adapt to the various changes that come their way.
Considering that Amanda’s great grandma who lived to be 103 years old and her 90 year old grandma can remember farming using horses to pull a plow, they continue the legacy of people who love the soil and love providing nutritious, hand-raised food straight from their farm to people’s plate. Even in hardship, they discover new opportunities to get their high-quality products into the hands of people who enjoy buying directly from them.
“The best part of this has been to develop new friends who started off as customers,” Amanda says. “We thoroughly enjoy the relationships we’ve built with people who we deliver to or those who make the journey on the dirt and gravel roads through the gorgeous Flint Hills. Our customers our now our friends and we like that a lot.”
Shop Kansas Farms NOTE: Dirt Road Cattle is one of three inaugural Digital Storefronts on our website!