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Ranchers find success through sustainability

June 21, 2010

[Source: Ann Sperring for the Ocala news]

Torm Siverson checks on the mothers and calves at Pasture Prime Wagyu in Pedro, Florida on June 10. Siverson came back to Florida to wind down his family's dairy operations, but found new possibilities with Wagyu cattle. (Alan Youngblood/Ocala news staff photographer)

When Nels and Marilyn Siverson’s dairy farm could no longer churn out a profit, the future of their 450-acre spread in Pedro threatened to turn sour.

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The cows were sold, the land was listed for sale and the explosive land grabs of 2006 appeared poised to swallow another “homegrown” product. Fortunately for a discriminating and healthy dining population, their son Torm Siverson had a different idea.

He had returned from the West Coast to deal with the 18-month process of winding down the dairy, and in his spare time he explored alternatives to walking away from his childhood home.

“My wife and I had been looking for a way to fit our philosophical ideas into our lifestyle,” Siverson said. “I read some articles about Wagyu cattle and began to see possibilities. We also wanted to raise our children with the values and ethics we share. Operating a family-owned ranch with an environmental conscience and offering the public quality food choices felt like the right choice.”

While his mother and father retired to California, Torm Siverson stayed in Marion County, Florida.

Months of research and visits to ranchers growing prime beeves convinced him that time and circumstances offered the opportunity to combine his education and experience.

So a new business, Pasture Prime Wagyu, found solid ground when he arranged for cows, not condos, to inhabit the family’s land.

By 2007, the first herd of Wagyu cattle in Marion County was grazing and growing, and Siverson was developing a livelihood that sustained a lifestyle.

The first of the cows, which require 25 to 30 months to mature, is now ready for processing, and Siverson is finding a receptive market.

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