Brothers Eddie and Luther Moore began producing beef in order to provide their family with a product of the highest quality possible. Today, Moore Brothers Natural Beef shares the health and wealth of their beef with those looking to buy the very best for their own tables.
The conversation has been edited for clarity and brevity.
Can you provide a brief introduction? Tell me more about yourself and your business.
Eddie: We produce beef raised on a vegetarian diet without antibiotics or added hormones. We use a combination of unlimited grasses and limited non-GMO grains. Our goal is to produce the best beef we can with the least amount of inputs, keeping it natural and simple, the way it used to be. Our beef is dry-aged for about two weeks in carcass, much different from conventional beef today. It is vacuum sealed with USDA inspection and is legal for sale anywhere within the United States.
We’ve been farming together since about 1987. We grow a variety of different crops: corn, soybeans, oats, wheat, hay and also do the cattle. We produce about 95% of the feed these animals eat, so we really know what we have in the product that we’re selling to our customers.
What drew you both to farming?
Luther: We were raised on a tobacco farm all our life. It’s a beautiful sight to see different crops grow. Our livelihood, it’s not always the most money, it’s not always easy, but we enjoy it.
Was there ever a point growing up that you considered forging a different path or did you know that farming is where you received fulfillment?
Eddie: Your first sign you know you're in trouble when you go into the classroom and you're looking for a window seat. Being drawn to the outside was sort of baked into the cake for us growing up. I don’t think that it was a grand plan for me to start with, it’s just sort of what we ended up doing as a natural calling I guess. I've never had another job, this is all I've ever done.
We touched on every day being different in farming and the challenges that it brings, what’s the hardest part of farming for you both and whats the most rewarding?
Luther: The hardest part of farming is probably on the financial end, making all the things come together from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.
Eddie: I don't know anything that’s more challenging physically, mentally, emotionally and financially. There’s a lot of things that we can’t control. Being outside, we’re along for the ride if you will. It all comes together to be a unique challenge, and the financial part just adds that extra complication to it. That’s been an increasing risk as most farmers have used volume to make up the difference, as margins have got thinner and thinner in agriculture, and that actually just increases the risk. Las Vegas doesn't have anything on gambling. When you talk about farming, it’s a real gamble.
And the most rewarding?
Luther: We get to see things grow. There’s no crop more beautiful than some of the crops we get to see grow.
Eddie: For me, it is just being outside and enjoying the creations of our Creator. Being in a building all the time, it’s sort of depressing really. It’s all about the natural beauty whether it’s in a tree, or whether its in a crop, or just the dirt, in a new born calf, whatever it is, looking at the beauty that God’s made and not what we’ve made.
Why do you think it’s important for your community, or any community, to buy local food?
Luther: The more the money stays in your community, the more it’s going to turn over. Once it leaves the community, good chances are it’s not coming back.
Eddie: Buying local can benefit everyone. We've become addicted as a society to transportation. That’s a lot of cost that could be reduced if we had more local items so there’s not as much transportation cost. If our beef costs a little more than what would be in a grocery store, more of that cost is put into producing a good quality product, and less of that cost is in transportation and moving that product from place to place.
How do local farms affect your community’s economy?
Eddie: I think local farms can have a key role, especially in Robeson County. I do believe that our greatest resources are land, water and the people here in Robeson County. Some think Robeson County is in the middle of nowhere, I actually think it’s in the middle of everywhere. We’re 100 miles to Charlotte, 100 miles to Greensboro, 100 miles to Raleigh, Wilmington, Myrtle Beach — we are in the middle of a huge market opportunity.
How is the farming community in Robeson different than other rural communities?
Eddie: In Robeson County, minorities are actually the majority. The Lumbee tribe is probably the most populous part of the county in that breakdown. There’s a lot of history, and a lot of things have changed overtime. I can remember my daddy telling the stories of going to the tobacco market and there would be 6 restrooms: 2 for indian, 2 for black, 2 for white.
You referenced that the majority of the population within the county is Native American, is that reflected amongst the farming community of Robeson County?
Eddie: If you look at a USDA map I have, Robeson County has the highest number of Native American farmers anywhere east of the Mississippi River. One thing that’s unique about Robeson County is even when you compare it to Western parts of the country, a lot of the Native people here actually own land.
Why did you want to begin selling to universities, why is that an important market for you? Is it more of a business decision or is it more of a personal calling?
Eddie: For me, at UNCP its a personal calling. Our great grandfather, W. L .Moore was a part of the group that helped start what is now UNCP. That group of people really had a vision, to help the community and the native people. There’s passion for us to try and continue to work with UNCP, it plays a huge part in Robeson County. We are still in the process of trying to get things lined up - to sell beef to UNCP brings back a full circle for us since our great grandfather was involved in that start and this local movement is really important. i feel the students want it, i feel the university wants it and the complication is just getting it worked out with the contractors.
Why should universities buy from local farmers?
Eddie: Universities are looked up to. If they can support the local farmers and work with them, that would be a positive for everyone.
Moore Brothers Natural is available at their farm market in Prospect, located at 4317 Prospect Road, Maxton, NC 28364.
Their products are also available in the following locations:
Wilmington — Lovey’s Natural Foods & Cafe and Tidal Creek Co-Op
Raleigh — Harmony Farms Natural Food & Supplement Store
Southern Pines—Nature’s Own Market
Eddie and Luther hope that in the future their customers will be able to place orders through their website MooreBrothersNatural.com and have the products delivered to your doorstep.