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Avoiding supply chain problems: Beef home delivery straight from this Rock Hill farm

The couple have been raising cattle for years and were providing meat to friends when word spread and they realized they had a bigger business on their hands.

ROCK HILL, S.C. — A Rock Hill farm has found a way to circumvent national supply chain issues and make sure food is getting to people -- and the COVID-19 pandemic has made their new business boom.

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Emily and John Barnes are probably not what most people picture when they think of farmers. The Instagram account for their Rock Hill farm and business Bravo Steaks takes you behind the scenes of farm life.

The couple has been raising cattle for years and was providing meat to friends. After word spread about their meat production, they realized they had a bigger business on their hands.

"We send our livestock to a USDA inspected butcher and we give the butcher instructions on what we want cut and then we get the frozen meat back," Emily Barnes explained. "It's been inspected and then we sell it directly to individuals in several different ways."

They first launched their public sales in 2019.

"COVID helped us out a lot to grow our business and we haven’t looked back.," John Barnes said. "People stayed at home. Grocery stores got bare. So they came to us and our business grew."

In fact, their business quadrupled from 2019 to 2020. Emily Barnes said the trend has continued this year. 

"It's been a great thing," she said. 

Delivery straight from the farm

And now with supply chain issues, Bravo Steaks is in even more demand. They have linked up with the national distributor Market Wagon – another company built by farmers - to keep up with orders.

Market Wagon sources everything, including baked goods, meat, and milk, locally and delivers it directly to customers' doorsteps. Their workflow avoids the supply chain issues seen elsewhere in the economy.

"What people learned in the pandemic is a local supply chain is far more resilient," Nick Carter, the CEO and founder of Market Wagon who also grew up on his family's farm, said. "Your local food is not going to get stuck on a container ship outside the LA port."

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Market Wagon has also seen success with growth from six cities in March of 2020 to almost 40 cities just a year later. They handle all the shipping and logistics. This allows farmers like Emily and John to stick to what they know -- and customers get the food they want when they want it.

The Barnes said the national supply chain issues has increased their cost of doing business: Feed for the animals has gone up 100% and from the shipping side- ice packs have gone up 500%.

Contact Michelle at mboudin@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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