Makenna Mays, Whitewater Publications, Brookville IN-
Nestled in the quiet backroads between Brookville and West Harrison sits a farm that has been putting food on the tables of families for six generations.
Today, Beneker Family Farms offers premium angus beef that they raise on the rolling hills of their Whitewater Valley farm.
The Beneker farm, a Centennial Homestead farm, has been in the family for over 130 years, easily cementing it within the vast agriculture community of Franklin County. Today, the farm is operated by Dave and Jackie Beneker and their son Allen and his wife Jayme.
Dave grew up farming with his father John Beneker. John's home on the farm was a log cabin he shared with his parents and four siblings. Part of that original home still stands today.
Dave, who is a life-long farmer, is a graduate of Brookville High School and Purdue University. Dave was also involved in Franklin County 4-H growing up, and later became a member of the Franklin County Co-op, even serving some time on the board.
Dave's wife Jackie is known for her life-long investment in the community's schools and athletics. Jackie is a member of the last class to graduate from Whitewater High School. Jackie has taught both biology and physical education in Connersville, and today coaches track and field at Franklin County High School.
And that brings us to Allen and Jayme. Allen and his sisters all graduated from Franklin County High School where they were active in sports and 4-H. Allen went on to graduate from Miami University with a degree in education. Today, Allen is a full-time farmer and a victim's advocate who plays a large role in domestic violence outreach and victim outreach. Jayme, a Kansas native, is a former professional volleyball player and Big 10 coach. While still passionate about teaching volleyball and life skills to young girls in the community, she is also the person who answers the phone or email when you contact Beneker Family Farms.
Roughly eight years ago, Allen and Jayme decided to move home to begin their own family and continue stewarding the farm where Allen grew up.
“When our oldest was under a year, we were getting questions from friends and families who were looking for beef that they could buy directly from our farm,” said Jayme. “We thought, of course we can help. That's really how Beneker Family Farms got started.”
Since then, the Benekers have been working hard to expand this farm to table food operation. Beneker beef is now dry- aged, USDA-processed, vacuum-packed, and easily delivered to your home. This is a process the Benekers have perfected after years of being involved in the agriculture community.
As they navigated the pandemic, like many other family businesses, they learned there's nothing like the security of being able to control your own food source. In 2020, they added a Farm Store
where customers could make an appointment to pick up beef from the farm. In 2021, they worked hard to streamline the online ordering process, shipping and delivery. Now families don't have to
leave their homes to get quality beef delivered to their door. In 2022, the Benekers are building into their new beef subscription products to make the process even easier.
“We are continuing to do new and innovative things with our beef, and we're always looking for new ideas and opportunities,” said Jayme.
Both Jayme and Allen recognize the importance of keeping the farm sustainable, so it is around for years to come. To do so, they have welcomed feedback from the community that has supported them over the years.
“I don't think a year goes by where we haven't changed, tweaked or refined something based on the feedback we've gotten from everyone,” said Jayme.
As far as future growth, the Benekers hope their business has a positive impact on the quality of life for the people who live in their community and beyond.
“We have listened firsthand to people who talk about how important it is to have a quality, healthy meat source that they can count on, and they know where it came from. So that's what we've been working hard to develop.” said Jayme.
The Benekers also hope their business expands in a way that makes an economic impact and allows for them to create job opportunities for those interested in agriculture, marketing, logistics, or business.
“One of the best parts of the journey so far has been the amazing community here that has come along with us and who are cheering us on as we've been learning and growing over the years,” said Jayme.
In next week's edition of the Brookville Democrat/American, we'll take a closer look at the business aspect of Beneker Family Farms and all they have to offer.