UNL senior runs farm-to-table beef business

LINCOLN, Neb. Nebraska is known for beef and for the holidays filling up the deep freeze or gifting the in-laws a steak bundle is a tradition for many.

One UNL senior says the holiday is giving her beef business a serious boost.

Hannah Esch founded Oak Barn Beef last year after a simple story from a third grader inspired her to work to bring consumers a product they could track right down to the DNA.

Esch is like many 22-year-olds. She is busy getting ready for finals, preparing to graduate from Nebraska in May but in her spare time she’s running her own business.

“Oak Barn Beef is a farm-to-table beef company in which we sell my family farm’s premium beef directly to consumers across the United States,” said Esch. “I started this in April in 2018 and we’ve been building it ever since, I’m actually still a full-time college student.”

Esch was working last year as Nebraska Cattlewomen’s Beef Ambassador when she was inspired to bring a new approach to the beef industry.

“When a third grader from a rural community told me that eggs come from cows because they’re next to the milk in the grocery store,” said Esch. "I just realized the huge educational gap between producers and consumers I decided I wanted to tell our farm’s story and connect the two.”

Esch has been boxing up her holiday orders from her website with a mix of various products from steaks, to prime rib, to her new beef sticks.

She says the past few months have been overwhelming in a good way.

“Customers go on there to purchase beef on the holidays for mostly in-laws actually,” said Esch.

As her business grows Esch says she’s looking forward to having more time to focus on her work and on educating the public about farm-to-table foods.

“Looking to expand in the next year or two, to have about 60 cattle that transition into our beef program,” said Esch. “We’re growing.”

Esch says they are still taking local orders before the New Year through their website.

Oak Barn Beef website