Hi there, I'm Kate Bonilla and WELCOME to Great U.S. Beef Jerky!
It all started with a love of the outdoors. To be outdoors in the fresh air, wide open spaces and around livestock was and still is, my happy place.
In fact that’s where I first got the idea of starting GUSB was while spending a week in October hiking around Rocky Mountain National Park. I had a perma-grin the entire week, I could not stop smiling because of how happy being in the mountains made me. And YES I LOVE hiking around in some snow!!!
I was a beef industry professional who at that time had a great corporate career going. I had worked for two of the big four beef packers, Cargill & JBS selling boxed beef across the Western U.S. and most recently was working as a beef buyer for a high end specialty meat company in Southern California, who was known in the meat business as the “Crown Jewel of the West Coast”. For decades it had a reputation as a successful and highly respected meat company who specialized in selling the finest beef to some of the greatest steakhouses and restaurants in California and beyond.
Nearly two years later in April 2020, thanks to the COVID pandemic shutting down 80% of California’s restaurants, one door closed and another one opened.
I had long wanted to become an entrepreneur, in fact I had studied up for it over 2 years in the little free time I had outside of my demanding corporate job. When the time came, God gave me the kick in the butt I needed to take that leap of faith.
In a matter of weeks I went from being an "essential worker" in the food industry to suddenly having all the free time I wanted to work on my own business because I had been furloughed indefinitely when 80% of my employer’s business dried up overnight with no good end to the pandemic in sight.
In August 2020 I launched Great U.S. Beef online with a whole lot of determination to make it successful and a hell of a lot still to learn about marketing and selling online.
I chose beef jerky because it was the perfect blend of something I knew well: the U.S. beef business and the fact that beef was a nutritious food that had kept me fueled up for both long days in the office as well as long days out exploring the wilderness.
Sometimes friends would ask me if I made the jerky in my kitchen. The answer is a big, NO. As a food industry professional I know very well the importance of Food Safety & Quality Assurance.
I have no desire to make anyone sick, least of all via my cooking. I’m not the greatest cook and I generally hate cooking anyways. I love to eat, I think I just dislike all the cleanup TBH. I do love to bake but mostly just around the holidays.
I have partnered with an excellent production facility in Southern California who has decades of experience making the best handcrafted jerky to the highest standards.
My mission is simple. I want to HELP PEOPLE.
I want to help busy people like YOU and me, who need a healthy & nutritious snack to keep them fueled up and satisfied. One that easily packs up to go any time, anywhere so you can keep doing what you do and power through your day. The protein and 10 essential nutrients in beef is that perfect fuel.
I also wanted to help people learn a bit more about where their beef comes from. Only 2% of the U.S. population is directly involved in agriculture so as people have moved away from the farm, they know less and less about where their beef comes from.
But they want to know and I think that’s great!
Like many of you, I didn’t grow up on a farm or ranch. I was raised by a single working mother living in apartments. I never let that stop me though.
As a kid I had a keen interest in horses and farming and ranching. I began taking riding lessons early on which eventually led to me finding my passion in animal agriculture by the time I reached high school. There I began studying Animal Science, I became an active member of the FFA (Future Farmers of America) where I raised market lambs for the county fair and was an award winning member of the Livestock Judging Team.
It was a natural choice (eventually after making some bonehead moves you make while you’re 20 years old and don’t know squat) to study Animal Science at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. After college graduation it took me a few years to “figure it out” (I’m a late bloomer) and I finally found my calling in the meat business working for Cargill selling boxed beef, pork and chicken.
Throughout my career in the meat business I have toured 5 packing plants (4 beef and 1 pork), visited feedlots, cattle ranches, a large family dairy, read countless beef market reports, bought and sold literally 100’s of loads of beef, researched various issues related to animal agriculture as they relate to sustainability, humane handling, government policy, international trade, industry economics, etc.
I don’t know everything, but I know enough to help those who want to know more. I’d like to help bridge the knowledge gap between those that produce our beef and the 98% of us who are not directly involved in agriculture.
There are stories to be told of the hard working American farmers and ranchers as well as truths to be shared about where our beef comes from. Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoy your jerky!