Kirk Sterzick isn’t sure why his barn was selected for a special painting by the Certified Angus Beef brand, but he’s honored all the same. “They’re celebrating their 40-year anniversary and painting 40 barns across the county,” he says.
Last Friday, a painter and representatives from Certified Angus Beef arrived at the Sterzick Farm to do just that. Bryan Schaaf, public relations manager with the group, says some barns were nominated while others were selected because they are beautiful and historic. He adds that the company wanted to be sure Michigan farms were included since the brand has a close relationship with Meijer.
In celebration of the day, more than 100 people descended upon the farm to enjoy a brisket lunch and get a peek at the painting in progress.
Centennial Farm Focuses on Angus Cattle
Located south of 52nd Street on Alden Nash Avenue, the Sterzick Farm dates back to 1909. Originally, it was a dairy operation and saw few changes for more than half a century. One of the most significant differences between the farm as it was then and is now is the placement of the historic barn.
“My grandpa and dad moved the barn back in 1953,” Sterzick says. While it previously was in a field, it is now located behind the house.
A larger change occurred in the late 1960s when Kirk’s parents, Adrian and Joyce, purchased four Angus heifers. It was the start of a move away from dairy in favor of beef cattle. Since then, the herd has grown, and Kirk Sterzick has continued the family farming legacy. He has also embraced the Angus brand, been an active member of the Michigan Angus Association and has served on the group’s board.
Today, the Sterzick herd numbers about 25 animals. “Kirk raises bulls that have really good genetics,” Schaaf notes. Given the Sterzick Farm’s long history and commitment to Angus beef, it’s fitting that the barn is now adorned with the Certified Angus Beef logo.
Celebrating a Milestone by Painting Barns
Certified Angus Beef doesn’t have quite as long a history as the Sterzick Farm, but it can trace its roots to 1978. The brand was created out of a desire to create uniform standards for premium beef. Schaaf says the group wants consumers to be confident that when they buy Certified Angus Beef they will be receiving a quality product.
“How can we take a highly variable thing like a steak and make it standard?” he says. The answer was to create a system of evaluation that ensures consistent quality. “We have ten specs, and the most important is marbling,” Schaaf says. He adds that a higher level of marbling, which refers to fat interspersed in the meat, indicates higher quality.
With 2018 being the 40th anniversary of the brand, the company decided to celebrate by painting its logo on 40 barns across the nation. “The idea of going back to the farm seemed right,” Schaaf says.
Troy Freeman of Free Sky Studios in Springfield, Illinois was brought on to paint the barns. The first barn was painted in Florida in January, and the project will wrap up in Ohio in October.
During the event at Sterzick Farm, the rain held off as a crowd gather to enjoy a good lunch and good conversation on a property that’s been a local landmark for nearly 110 years. Surveying the scene, Kirk smiled and said, “A lot of good people getting together for a good cause.”