Hay business is family operation

Beams turned drawback into opportunity for success

Geraldine Smith
Special to Colorado Community Media
Posted 4/10/19

Mike and Melissa Beam grew up country-style in Illinois, attending the same high school. Ensnared by the whimsy of fate, they moved to Colorado separately, where they met and married. Their roots …

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Hay business is family operation

Beams turned drawback into opportunity for success

Posted

Mike and Melissa Beam grew up country-style in Illinois, attending the same high school. Ensnared by the whimsy of fate, they moved to Colorado separately, where they met and married.

Their roots were country and so, in 2012, they purchased 35 acres in Elizabeth but found that their horses devoured that grass in a few months. Their nemesis became the minimum amounts of hay imposed by sellers that were well beyond their needs.

Ever inventive, they began selling the excess hay and the Double Beam Ranch business grew out of necessity. Eight months ago, new beginnings continued when the latest ranch hand, McCoy James Beam, was born. Besides parenting and the hay business, Mike and Melissa have day jobs as a pump technician and ER nurse, respectively.

One additional hat that they, and now others, wear is their own Double Beam Ranch logo clothing. Popular demand drove them to stock and sell their logo hats and T-shirts to the public.

Prior to the burgeoning business and the birth of McCoy, they camped every weekend somewhere in Colorado and Mike still loves to hunt elk and deer while Melissa’s passion is travel.

Finally, to answer the obvious question: Is there is any relation between the James Beam Liquor and the Beams? Yes, Virginia, it seems there is remote connection.

Melissa Beam spoke with the Elbert County News about their hay business.

Where do you buy your hay?

We source hay directly from the farmers. We did hay research online and now also receive recommendations from our farmers. Our hay comes from Idaho, Utah, Montana, the Dakotas and Wyoming.

How do you ensure you get quality hay?

We do a site visit before we buy and have certain criteria. The hay must be barn stored and covered for transportation and we test for these standards when we receive the hay.

How do you test it to be sure it has been stored and transported as you wish?

We have three-foot-long hay probe that pulls an inch-sized core sample from the middle of the bale and we do this throughout the stack. We send the sample off to a lab in Idaho and they do a complete analysis.

What types of hay do you offer and what is the best-selling?

Our hay is horse quality hay. We offer grass hay, mixed hay and alfalfa hay. The grass/alfalfa mix is our best-selling product. Grass is cheaper per ton than alfalfa and the mix price is somewhere in the middle of the three. We have round bales and square bales as well.

Are there regulations for selling hay commercially in Elbert County?

If you sell hay that you do not farm on your land, a permit with the county and a license with the state are required. Currently, we have a permit through 2020 but we will need to move to commercial property soon because of our growth.

What are the future plans for the Beam Ranch?

We are closing on a 37-acre property on Country Road 13. We should have our building in place and operational within a year. It will be a hay store with hay feeding accessories, such as hay nets, hay feeders and all things hay. We will also concentrate on educational marketing to help customers find most economical ways to feed their animals.

What is your business philosophy?

We want to provide affordable, quality hay to our customers. Most of all we believe in customer service and guarantee our hay. We do not believe in hay sold as is, where if you see it and agree to purchase it you are responsible after the sale. Even if you buy 20 bales of hay and six months from now, if they have properly stored it, we stand behind our hay.

Do you deliver?

We offer delivery and off-loading services. Our tractors fit through standard doors. Any load quantity from a few bales up to several semi-loads can be delivered seven days a week, during the day or evening. We deliver to Elbert County, Douglas County (Larkspur, Sedalia, Castle Rock), Kiowa and east of Kiowa, north almost to Brighton and parts of El Paso County. Of course, the farther the delivery the more expensive.

Customers can also pick up the hay at the ranch and see that we truly store our hay properly.

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