The Bell L Brand that designates the Hanson family cattle has a long history behind it. Initially purchased and used by Wayne Hanson’s great-grandfather in 1909, under his grandfather’s cattle operation in 1943 and then his father, the brand now distinguishes the care and attention to detail handed down the line of six generations, to what is now fondly known as Your Local Ranch Ltd.
Housed just outside the northwest city limits of Airdrie, Your Local Ranch is an all-encompassing business venture owned and operated by Wayne and Rhonda Hanson, along with their children Katelyn, Travis, Wyatt, and their families.
“We control most every part of the aspect of our beef operation,” said Wayne Hanson.
He further explained his family is responsible for nearly every element of the venture, including raising the calves, practising rotational grazing and optimal feeding, vaccination, and ethical transport to a provincially inspected butcher shop.
The business also offers other cuts of meat, including chicken and pork, as well as eggs and honey.
At the store fronts in Airdrie and Didsbury, Rhonda oversees quality control and hand-wraps all cuts in traditional butcher paper.
Consistency is key for Hanson, who said the family began practising embryo-transfer breeding in 1976 while growing their purebred herd. Data was collected from those carcasses and eventually provided to the meat industry as a way to improve the product as a whole.
That technology pioneered by his family is still used on Your Local Ranch cattle today, as a mode of quality assurance, according to Hanson.
“That’s exactly what I’m using to make it so that every piece of meat that we butcher at the butcher shop will be as identical as we can,” he said. “So, if you bought a steak today and you bought a steak a month and a half from now, it would give you basically the exact same eating experience.”
Apart from the ranching element of the business, Hanson said he enjoys helping customers pick out the right cut for them and educating them on the best way to cook it for a well-rounded experience.
“Educating the people is the most important thing I can do,” he said.
The rancher added he thoroughly enjoys giving back to the community, and has been involved with the local 4H club, lacrosse teams, and Airdrie Pro Rodeo for numerous years.
“Giving back is a big part of what we do. The more you give, the more people give to you,” Hanson said.
Your Local Ranch was awarded Gold in the best beef category in this year’s Best of Airdrie Readers’ Choice Awards, as voted by Airdrie City View readers, and it seems the Hansons have – in many ways – seen the fruits of their labour.
Hanson added the success of the ranch and the storefront wouldn't be possible without the work of their dedicated employees.
“We’re honoured and humbled by the fact that they’re actually thinking that much of us to vote for us. It’s a special thing for us,” Hanson said.
The family business is located at Township Road 274 and Range Road 13 northwest of Airdrie and at 2103 20 St. in Didsbury.
For more information about Your Local Ranch and to browse their online store, visit yourlocalranch.com