Painted Hills Beef Operation Grows Naturally

City: Fossil, OR

For more than a decade, Wheeler County ranchers and their company—Painted Hills Natural Beef, Inc., have been supplying the highest quality, value-added beef products to customers and chefs in the Pacific Northwest, Mountain West and now the eastern U.S.

In the summer of 2011, Business Oregon helped the company expand and grow their workforce by more than 50% with a loan from the Oregon Business Development Fund. The $141,000 loan will help Painted Hills finance the purchase of land and to construct a new administrative headquarters in Fossil. The company expects to add five employees in the next three years. In addition, the Bank of Eastern Oregon and Wheeler County's John Logan Revolving Loan Fund also contributed to the financing of the project.

Business Oregon first backed the enterprise at its start in 1997 with a $35,000 forgivable loan from the Governor's Strategic Reserve Fund. The company's new administration building is on a state certified industrial site in the city of Fossil. Improvements to the site were partly funded by Business Oregon's Infrastructure Authority's Special Public Works Fund.

Painted Hills Natural Beef originates in Wheeler County, Oregon. In the mid-1990s seven ranchers got together to discuss the current trends in the beef industry and how to add value to beef products. The top quality cattle they were producing on Wheeler County ranches were being blended in pens that held cattle of lower quality. The ranchers formed Painted Hills Premium Beef, Inc., predecessor to Painted Hills Natural Beef, Inc. Their goal was to eliminate the inconsistency in its beef product while producing natural meat of the highest quality. The company is now a wholesaler of boxed primal cuts of beef as well as a small percentage of value added beef products (such as hot dogs and deli meat).

The cattle are "grain-fed" a 100% vegetarian diet consisting mainly of barley, corn and alfalfa hay. No growth hormones, steroids or antibiotics are used while raising the cattle. The company's beef is raised in the pastures of 80 family farms with no added hormones, steroids or antibiotics and the primarily Angus cattle are fed a 100% vegetarian diet. The cattle are never fed animal by-products of any kind.