Marketplace Op-Ed Series: Nebraska Star Beef, an American tune

by Dan Klute, Nebraska Star Beef

This column is part of our ongoing series of op-eds this election season from small business owners working with The Marketplace by TheBlaze. We often hear politicians talk about what small business owners want, and if elected, what public officials could do to help these entrepreneurs. But we haven’t heard enough from small business owners themselves. This series will feature small business owners discussing their business, ‘how they built that,’ and what it has been like trying to sustain and grow their business over the last 4 years. 

“For we come on the ship they call the Mayflower,

We come on the ship that sailed the moon.

We come in the age’s most uncertain hours

And sing an American tune.”

–Paul Simon

Like millions of other small businesses, Nebraska Star Beef has an American tune we’d love to share. It’s a song of faith, family and treating people the way you want to be treated. It‘s about being your brother’s keeper, having a vision with the courage to follow it and firmly relying upon the protection of Divine Providence. It’s about failure—and how you react to it.

This story is about my brother Dale Klute. He’s faced adversity. He’s been down, but never out. At one point in life, he literally had nothing but the shirt on his back, and then built something. Something on his own that had nothing to do with access to highways or bridges.

Dale and I grew up on a family farm in rural Nebraska. The two youngest of nine children, our parents taught us the importance of faith in God and hard work. Mom and Dad lived life in manner that: no matter what comes your way, if you have a strong relationship with God, things will work out. They knew what they were talking about.

The mid 1980′s were a rough time for many famers and cattlemen. Tough weather conditions, low commodity prices, and high costs forced many out of business. Dale was one of those. In a few months, everything he worked for all his life was gone. No one was to blame, Dale was just a victim of circumstance. So what did he do when all this happened, pity party or get to work?  The latter was chosen.

Dale moved to Colorado, started working for a cattle operation, advanced in the company and educated himself in the commodities futures market—something most farmers and livestock producers are scared to death of.  Dale and his wife Shawna started Klute Investment Services in 1995. Having the ability to protect investors from losses, and often times guarantee profits, Dale’s investment business grew. So did his desire to once again have his own cattle operation.

In 1998, Dale partnered with Elmo and Tony Mayes and purchased Phelps County Feeders in Holdrege, Nebraska.  What started out as a 12,000 head feeding operation, soon blossomed into 35,000. Hard work, honesty and integrity were paying big dividends. In 2002, after only four short years back in Nebraska, Dale began an all-natural beef program for more than 40 Whole Foods Market locations in the southwest United States. This relationship lasted until 2010, when Whole Foods asked Dale to supply all their stores with all natural beef. All Dale had to do was to make sure Phelps County Feeders and the ranchers that provided calves would follow the guidelines set up by the Global Animal Partnership. Dale politely declined. The entrepreneur insides him said we can do this on our own. Let’s create something special. So, Nebraska Star Beef was born.

Dale, his son Joe and Tony Mayes started Nebraska Star Beef in 2010. Soon after, they brought on my nephew Steve Johnson to work with product development and marketing. These guys, along with my niece Kayla, have done a fabulous job with our steaks, Fusion burgers and beef jerky. Our business partners Custom Pack and C & C Processing are top of the line skilled artisans. Nebraska Cold Storage and Crystal Creek Logistics are two wonderful small businesses that provide storage and shipping services.

So, why am I here writing this piece?  That’s where the firm reliance upon the protection of Divine Providence comes in. Late last year, Nebraska Star Beef reached the point where they were ready to sell their products. So Joe prayed to God, asking who they should bring on for sales. The answer he got was me. Trust me, I’m nothing special.  I’d been in sales for a company based in Irving, Texas for almost thirteen years. We never had any conversations about me working for my brother, so, when Dale told me the story, I started chuckling. It had been on my heart for several months to be ready for a change in jobs. I told him I was interested and we would work on the details. On March 1, 2012 I became part of Nebraska Star Beef.

The very first morning I went out to sell steaks and beef jerky, I was listening to Glenn’s radio program like I have been since he went national in 2001. Before I had a chance to make a sales call, Glenn announced that markdown.com was changing directions. He asked for small businesses to fill out an application for the Marketplace. I went home that night and filled one out, having a feeling this was meant to be. I shared with my wife what I was doing.  She said, “That’s nice, honey.”  What were the odds we’d be chosen for the Marketplace, one in several thousands? But hey, here we are. God used me as Nebraska Star Beef’s connection to the Marketplace. It wouldn’t have happened had Joe not asked for Divine guidance.

In one aspect, the President is right when he says, “You didn’t build that.” Without the grace of God, no business would succeed. That doesn‘t mean challenges don’t exist. Nebraska Star Beef has entered an arena with some really big dogs, and in their “dog eat dog” world, we’re the Chihuahua. But, that’s okay. Our partnership with the Marketplace has given us not only the opportunity to be in front of millions of potential customers, but also the hope we will not only survive but thrive.

Hopefully, our American tune will be uplifting for all those small businesses who are struggling in these times. We’re struggling right along with you, but everything is going to be fine. We might not be sailing to a new land or exploring outer space, but we’re all here at this time and place for a reason. God has great things in store for each and everyone of us!

In light of the national conversation surrounding the rights of free speech, religion and self-defense, Mercury One is thrilled to announce a brand new initiative launching this Father's Day weekend: a three-day museum exhibition in Dallas, Texas focused on the rights and responsibilities of American citizens.

This event seeks to answer three fundamental questions:

  1. As Americans, what responsibility do we shoulder when it comes to defending our rights?
  2. Do we as a nation still agree on the core principles and values laid out by our founding fathers?
  3. How can we move forward amidst uncertainty surrounding the intent of our founding ideals?

Attendees will be able to view historical artifacts and documents that reveal what has made America unique and the most innovative nation on earth. Here's a hint: it all goes back to the core principles and values this nation was founded on as laid out in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.

Exhibits will show what the world was like before mankind had rights and how Americans realized there was a better way to govern. Throughout the weekend, Glenn Beck, David Barton, Stu Burguiere, Doc Thompson, Jeffy Fisher and Brad Staggs will lead private tours through the museum, each providing their own unique perspectives on our rights and responsibilities.

Schedule a private tour or purchase general admission ticket below:

Dates:
June 15-17

Location:

Mercury Studios

6301 Riverside Drive, Irving, TX 75039

Learn more about the event here.

About Mercury One: Mercury One is a 501(c)(3) charity founded in 2011 by Glenn Beck. Mercury One was built to inspire the world in the same way the United States space program shaped America's national destiny and the world. The organization seeks to restore the human spirit by helping individuals and communities help themselves through honor, faith, courage, hope and love. In the words of Glenn Beck:

We don't stand between government aid and people in need. We stand with people in need so they no longer need the government

Some of Mercury One's core initiatives include assisting our nation's veterans, providing aid to those in crisis and restoring the lives of Christians and other persecuted religious minorities. When evil prevails, the best way to overcome it is for regular people to do good. Mercury One is committed to helping sustain the good actions of regular people who want to make a difference through humanitarian aid and education initiatives. Mercury One will stand, speak and act when no one else will.

Support Mercury One's mission to restore the human spirit by making an online donation or calling 972-499-4747. Together, we can make a difference.

What happened?

A New York judge ruled Tuesday that a 30-year-old still living in his parents' home must move out, CNN reported.

Failure to launch …

Michael Rotondo, who had been living in a room in his parents' house for eight years, claims that he is owed a six-month notice even though they gave him five notices about moving out and offered to help him find a place and to help pay for repairs on his car.

RELATED: It's sad 'free-range parenting' has to be legislated, it used to be common sense

“I think the notice is sufficient," New York State Supreme Court Judge Donald Greenwood said.

What did the son say?

Rotondo “has never been expected to contribute to household expenses, or assisted with chores and the maintenance of the premises, and claims that this is simply a component of his living agreement," he claimed in court filings.

He told reporters that he plans to appeal the “ridiculous" ruling.

Reform Conservatism and Reaganomics: A middle road?

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Senator Marco Rubio broke Republican ranks recently when he criticized the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act by stating that “there's no evidence whatsoever that the money's been massively poured back into the American worker." Rubio is wrong on this point, as millions of workers have received major raises, while the corporate tax cuts have led to a spike in capital expenditure (investment on new projects) of 39 percent. However, the Florida senator is revisiting an idea that was front and center in the conservative movement before Donald Trump rode down an escalator in June of 2015: reform conservatism.

RELATED: The problem with asking what has conservatism conserved

The "reformicons," like Rubio, supported moving away from conservative or supply-side orthodoxy and toward policies such as the expansion of the child and earned income tax credits. On the other hand, longstanding conservative economic theory indicates that corporate tax cuts, by lowering disincentives on investment, will lead to long-run economic growth that will end up being much more beneficial to the middle class than tax credits.

But asking people to choose between free market economic orthodoxy and policies guided towards addressing inequality and the concerns of the middle class is a false dichotomy.

Instead of advocating policies that many conservatives might dismiss as redistributionist, reformicons should look at the ways government action hinders economic opportunity and exacerbates income inequality. Changing policies that worsen inequality satisfies limited government conservatives' desire for free markets and reformicons' quest for a more egalitarian America. Furthermore, pushing for market policies that reduce the unequal distribution of wealth would help attract left-leaning people and millennials to small government principles.

Criminal justice reform is an area that reformicons and free marketers should come together around. The drug war has been a disaster, and the burden of this misguided government approach have fallen on impoverished minority communities disproportionately, in the form of mass incarceration and lower social mobility. Not only has the drug war been terrible for these communities, it's proved costly to the taxpayer––well over a trillion dollars has gone into the drug war since its inception, and $80 billion dollars a year goes into mass incarceration.

Prioritizing retraining and rehabilitation instead of overcriminalization would help address inequality, fitting reformicons' goals, and promote a better-trained workforce and lower government spending, appealing to basic conservative preferences.

Government regulations tend to disproportionately hurt small businesses and new or would-be entrepreneurs. In no area is this more egregious than occupational licensing––the practice of requiring a government-issued license to perform a job. The percentage of jobs that require licenses has risen from five percent to 30 percent since 1950. Ostensibly justified by public health concerns, occupational licensing laws have, broadly, been shown to neither promote public health nor improve the quality of service. Instead, they serve to provide a 15 percent wage boost to licensed barbers and florists, while, thanks to the hundreds of hours and expensive fees required to attain the licenses, suppressing low-income entrepreneurship, and costing the economy $200 billion dollars annually.

Those economic losses tend to primarily hurt low-income people who both can't start businesses and have to pay more for essential services. Rolling back occupational licenses will satisfy the business wing's desire for deregulation and a more free market and the reformicons' support for addressing income inequality and increasing opportunity.

The favoritism at play in the complex tax code perpetuates inequality.

Tax expenditures form another opportunity for common ground between the Rubio types and the mainstream. Tax deductions and exclusions, both on the individual and corporate sides of the tax code, remain in place after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Itemized deductions on the individual side disproportionately benefit the wealthy, while corporate tax expenditures help well-connected corporations and sectors, such as the fossil fuel industry.

The favoritism at play in the complex tax code perpetuates inequality. Additionally, a more complicated tax code is less conducive to economic growth than one with lower tax rates and fewer exemptions. Therefore, a simpler tax code with fewer deductions and exclusions would not only create a more level playing field, as the reformicons desire, but also additional economic growth.

A forward-thinking economic program for the Republican Party should marry the best ideas put forward by both supply-siders and reform conservatives. It's possible to take the issues of income inequality and lack of social mobility seriously, while also keeping mainstay conservative economic ideas about the importance of less cumbersome regulations and lower taxes.

Alex Muresianu is a Young Voices Advocate studying economics at Tufts University. He is a contributor for Lone Conservative, and his writing has appeared in Townhall and The Daily Caller. He can be found on Twitter @ahardtospell.

Is this what inclusivity and tolerance look like? Fox News host Tomi Lahren was at a weekend brunch with her mom in Minnesota when other patrons started yelling obscenities and harassing her. After a confrontation, someone threw a drink at her, the moment captured on video for social media.

RELATED: Glenn Addresses Tomi Lahren's Pro-Choice Stance on 'The View'

On today's show, Pat and Jeffy talked about this uncomfortable moment and why it shows that supposedly “tolerant" liberals have to resort to physical violence in response to ideas they don't like.