Meet Wayne: Our Award-winning Processor.
If you know anything about us, you know just how important our partnerships are to the success of our business and the end-quality of our products. Our relationship with Wayne Lautsbaugh from Crescent Meats is one of the most vital ones we have. As our meat processor, Wayne and his team (family, actually) are responsible for processing the animals into the steaks, roasts, and burgers that then get sent to you.
After interviewing and personally touring many processing facilities, we ended up choosing Crescent Meats because of 3 very important factors:
- Proximity: Crescent Meats, THB Grasslands and Grandview Ranch (two of our main bison ranches) are all located in Cadott, Wisconsin, just mere miles from each other, allowing us to keep tabs on the animals from pasture-to-plant.
- Transparency: Crescent Meats is a small, family-owned meat processing facility that believes in quality and transparency just as much as we do.
- Collaboration: They also believe in collaboration and were excited to work with us to bring new products and recipes to the market that fit our very strict ingredient standards. They love it when we stop by the plant for in-person brainstorming and sampling sessions which we do as often as we can.
We had Wayne, the founder of Crescent Meats and Patriarch of the family, answer a few questions for us so you could get a better sense of why we work so well together. If you have any more questions about him, us or how our products are processed, just ask.
What inspired you to get into the meat processing business?
My desire to get into meat processing started as a child when we processed our own beef and hogs at my family’s small hobby farm. As I grew up, my father and I started making homemade sausages from the meat and that was what really sparked my interest. In 1995, I started my own small, meat processing plant in Pennsylvania where we processed venison, beef and hogs in the winter months only – I was still working a full-time job as a supervisor for a large construction company. In 2003, my wife and two kids purchased a small meat processing plant in Cadott Wi. That original plant has closed but as a family, we have managed to turn this passion into a successful business that our whole family can get involved in.
How are your meat processing standards different than other facilities?
Our interest has always been in high-quality niche meats from more exotic animals such as bison, elk, venison, antibiotic-free meats, etc. Quality is extremely important to us and so we always use premium ingredients and meats whereas other companies, especially the larger ones tend to fill their meats with lots of binders and a higher fat content so they can be sold cheaper. Our products may cost more but they are also superior, making them worth the money customers are paying.
What makes you an award-winning meat processing facility?
We strive for the highest possible quality and continue to learn every day, improving our processing and our products. My son Vance received a Bachelor’s Degree in Food Science from UW- River Falls and graduated from the Master Meat Crafters in Madison. My daughter Samantha graduated from Chippewa Valley Technical College with an Associate’s Degree in Business Management. We work together as a family to make this business work and although it’s challenging at times, I believe we have what most families only dream of!
How did you first start working with The Honest Bison?
I met Sean at my shop and took him on a tour of our plant. He was looking for a processor close to his bison ranch just south of Cadott Wi. More than that, he was really looking for a partner, someone that shared his vision for bringing transparency and honesty to the food industry as well as high-quality, premium products. Our core values really lined up and because of our close proximity to his bison ranchers, we are able to follow the path of the animals from pasture to processing.
How are the two of you pushing the boundaries of the meat processing industry?
Crescent Meats and The Honest Bison will never be commodity meat processors – we are truly a niche business. Unlike the mega companies, it takes us all week to do what they can do in an hour. By doing the processing the way it was done years ago, it helps eliminate dangerous pathogens like E.coli. High-speed production is one of the main reasons we have issues with E.coli, there are scientific documents verifying that letting the carcasses hang allows the pathogens disappear. Sean’s belief in high-quality animal production, as well as grassfed protocol in his bison, makes us a perfect team. We both believe in transparency with our customers.