The West Point Military Academy graduate, Jacob (Jake) Sass, and Miss Rodeo Kansas, Abbey (Pomeroy) Sass, along with their two sons, three and a half year old Sheridan, and 14 month old Merritt are at home on the family farm outside of Chatfield, Minn.
Like many parents seeking distinctive names for their sons, Jake and Abbey desired names that held personal significance. Abbey has competed in rodeos as a barrel racer and has a connection to Sheridan, Wyo., and Jake likes the name Sheridan because of his lifelong passion for military history. Philip Henry Sheridan, a prominent figure in the American Civil War and a career United States Army officer, inspired one of the names. The other, Wesley Merritt, pays homage to an American major general who served in the cavalry during the same war under Sheridan and was second in command. With a laugh, Abbey referred to their two young sons as “brothers in arms.”
Jake’s grandparents and dairy farmers Elmer and Marlys Sass purchased the family farm in 1953. In the mid-80s, Jake’s parents Scott and Barb Sass married and moved up the road from Scott’s parents and raised beef cattle. After living in a trailer Scott and Barb built a ranch-style home, now home to the third generation who are raising beef and growing row crops and hops.
After attending West Point Military Academy where he earned an environmental engineering degree, Jake served eight years of active duty in the Army which included five deployments overseas.
After serving in the Army, Jake went to work in the corporate world before moving back to the farm during COVID. From a young boy, Jake knew all along that he wanted to farm sharing, “I loved farming.” His father told him that he needed to leave home for two years after graduating from high school, explaining that he couldn’t stay on the farm. His father didn’t care what he did but he had to leave.
Abbey grew up on a hobby farm in Hesston, Kans., graduating in 2014 from Kansas State University with a degree in interior design. After representing Kansas and the rodeo industry, Abbey worked one year for an architectural firm that designed everything from cookie-cutter hotels to boutique hotels, her dream job.
What makes farming stand apart from other occupations? “The extremely unique thing about farming is that it is a profession. It is something more than a job. You are doing something good for humanity or society, and you have to have a certain love and affection for it.” Jake continued, “Second, I don’t know of any other profession where family is written into the fabric of farming.” He elaborated on how the family is integral to every aspect, from succession planning to the active involvement of all family members, including children.
They cultivate 750 tillable acres owned by his aunt, uncle, and dad. Jake humorously noted the unique experience of renting from family members whom you also see every Christmas at the dinner table. Additionally, there are 200 acres of pasture land supporting just under 70 cows, with plans to grow the herd to 100-125 cows. Jake explained that they purchase directly from a 300-head feedlot. This approach allows them to reduce inputs, presenting a significant advantage when it comes to row crops. It also ensures a supply of feeder cattle that aligns genetically with their production goals, reducing risk, and controlling calf costs.
Civil Sass Beef presents a selection of both bulk and individual cuts of beef for purchase. Chatfield’s Carly Mae’s Bakery stocks individual cuts, and you can also find them at the Chatfield farmer’s market. Additionally, explore the online store, www.civilsassbeef.com. For inquiries, reach out to Abbey at (316) 217-5261.
Engaged in an exceptional initiative, the Sasses stand out as one of the few Minnesota farmers dedicated to hop cultivation. They tend to two acres of Cascade, Centennial, and Chinook varieties yielding just under 3,000 pounds in 2023. The harvested product is directly supplied to breweries, guaranteeing a high-quality offering. Explore Civil Sass Hops at www.civilsass.com or reach out via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Abbey and Jake feel fortunate to return, finding Jake’s parents well-prepared and focused on facilitating a smooth transition. The presence of a supportive community has been immensely beneficial. The couple is blessed with a strong network of family and friends whom they can rely on.