Meet the Modern Farmer: Meagan Burns

Though Meagan Burns grew up on an Illinois dairy farm and married a Texas cattleman, it never occurred to her that she herself might wind up tending a 112-head herd.

Ann Summa

Though Meagan Burns grew up on an Illinois dairy farm and married a Texas cattleman, it never occurred to her that she herself might wind up tending a 112-head herd. The marriage didn’t work out, but one day she overheard her ex on the phone, trying to sell some cows he owned outside of San Miguel de Allende. At the time, Burns had hit rock bottom after losing two Chicago marketing jobs back-to-back. Then, her mother died. “My whole world came crashing down,” admits the 50-year-old. Burns tried to convince her former husband not to off-load his grass-fed, pasture-raised animals to producers who would fatten them in a feedlot. “He said, ‘I don’t have time to figure it out, but if you want to, go ahead.’”

She did. A mere three years later, Burns is part of a growing community of women trying to raise awareness about clean meat in a country where regulations are few and the industry has little transparency. “I know a pig lady and a chicken lady and a turkey lady. I’m the cow lady,” she says. “I’m responsible for slaughtering these animals. I don’t take that lightly, and I consider it a profound experience. I’m a better person, a more grateful person because of it. I think my mother’s looking down on all this, smiling.”

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