Todd Churchill has an extensive background in family farm-style agriculture. He grew up on a farm south of Moline, IL. His family farm raised row crops, cattle, and horses. He graduated with a Speech-Communication degree from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, and completed additional coursework in accounting at the University of Minnesota.
After working in public accounting for several years, he formed his first company, called CFO Insights, LLC. That company provided part-time CFO (Chief Financial Officer) services on a contract basis to startups and small businesses. Over a period of 8 years, he functioned as the CFO and/or VP-Administration of more than 90 small companies, many in the agriculture industry. This provided an incredible real-world experience to blend with his education in marketing, sales, communications, strategic planning, finance and accounting, and organizational management.
Todd started Thousand Hills Cattle Company (THCC) in early 2003, after reading an article in The New York Times magazine by Michael Pollan, titled “This Steer’s Life.” This article described in detail the difference between conventionally raised cattle, and 100% grass fed cattle. Todd realized that he (like many Americans) didn’t really eat beef anymore. This wasn’t a conscious decision, beef just didn’t taste the way he remembered it, and it didn’t digest well. Michael Pollan’s article got him thinking that maybe what he didn’t like was the impact the confinement feedlot diet and experience did to the flavor and quality of the beef.
This led Todd to find some grass fed beef from very small producers in Minnesota, and the quality varied considerably. He eventually found a few farmer, ranchers and industry consultants that were raising consistent gourmet quality, healthful, great tasting grass fed beef. Todd felt that if it could be produced consistently throughout the year, this was a product that many consumers in the Twin Cities would like to purchase. To this end, Todd created the THCC protocol, which described the production practices required to raise cattle for THCC.
After only 10 years, Todd and his team at THCC built an incredibly diverse customer base of health food stores, premium grocers, restaurants, colleges, web merchants, and specialty butcher shops, primarily in the Twin Cities. By 2014, the growing interest in local and sustainable foods resulted in sales to more than 1000 retail locations, including 300+ Target stores nation-wide, restaurants, and over 30 public school districts in Minnesota.
In July 2011, Todd and his wife Dee had their seventh child, Sara, born with an incurable genetic mitochondrial problem. Sara lived for exactly six months. In part due to the changes this kind of grief caused, Todd chose to sell Thousand Hills to his long-term business partner Matt Maier in 2015.
In addition to his many and varied entrepreneurial endeavors, including Practical Livestock Solutions, Todd and his wife Dee raise 6 children, as well as assorted horses, ponies, chickens, dogs, cats, and of course cattle, on their farm near Cannon Falls, MN.
Click here to watch a terrific wide-ranging interview with Todd produced by James Beard Award, and PBS Producer The Perennial Plate.
Will Winter D.V.M.
Allen is a 6th generation family farmer (since 1840) and founding partner of Grass Fed Beef, LLC and Livestock Management Consultants, LLC. He has consulted with more than 3500 farmers and ranchers in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and South America on operations ranging from a few acres to over 1 million acres. Allen pioneered many of the early grass fed protocols and forage finishing techniques and has spent the last 15 years refining those. He is a “recovering academic” and has authored more than 300 scientific and popular press articles. He is featured in the Carbon Nation film, “Soil Carbon Cowboys” and has a recently released book co-authored with Teddy Gentry, “Before You Have A Cow”. Allen is a regular contributor to “GRAZE” and has written articles for the “Organic Broadcaster”, “Stockman GrassFarmer”, and many other publications. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Grass Fed Exchange and the Mississippi Sustainable Agriculture Network, Core Team Member of the Pasture Project, and Co-Investigator for Team SoilCarbon. Allen raises grass finished beef on his farm in Starkville, Mississippi, and is particularly well suited to consulting on beef genetics, forage and pasture management, and producing high-quality grass fed beef, especially in the Southeast US.
William G. Winter received a doctorate in veterinary medicine from Kansas State University in 1975. He also received a degree in Animal Husbandry and completed post-graduate studies and conducted research in veterinary toxicology. After graduating he moved to Minnesota, specializing in surgical referrals and opened an emergency clinic. In 1980 he created the Uptown Veterinarian, one of the largest and most successful holistic veterinary practices in the United States.
In 1983 he co-founded the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association. He writes for several veterinary and agricultural journals and web sites and has served as the veterinary advisor to the International Alliance of Sustainable Agriculture since 1984. He is the author of THE HOLISTIC VETERINARY HANDBOOK and manufactures and markets Rescue Animal Products as well as consulting as Director of Nutrition for Raw Bistro Pet Food, Inc.
In 1999 he retired from active licensed practice, then sold the Sojourner Farms Pet Food Company to become a free-lance journalist and lecturer, teaching about holistic veterinary livestock issues, sustainable agriculture and traditional nutrition. He has recently founded the American Holistic Livestock Association. He is the chapter leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation for Minneapolis-St. Paul, distributes farm-fresh dairy products and farm food in the Twin Cities area, and moderates several web discussion groups. In 2008 he founded Traditional Foods MN. He works as a holistic herd heath consultant for grass-based livestock producers and, since 2004, has been the herd consultant for the Thousand Hills Cattle Company. He is currently a livestock and forage consultant with Wick's Livestock Nutrition as well as for grass-based and pastured-livestock ranches and farms throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. He founded Grassfarmer Supply, Inc in Cannon Falls, MN in 2011. A life-long devotee of the Great Plains of America, he resides in Minnesota.