Fellers Ranch® Partners
Jeremy and Darcy Johnson
- The Johnsons are avid supporters of local communities and they donate their meat products and processing services to organizations such as the Eagles Club, Lions Club, Ducks Unlimited, the Minnesota Deer Association and Pheasants Forever. They are also active members of their church, where they have served on the council multiple times over the past 20 years. Their artisan butcher shop currently has a staff of 22 full-time and part-time employees. They are proud to be the largest private employer in Conger, MN.
- Darcy Johnson, a small business owner from Alden-Conger High School in Minnesota was named the 2019 Small Business Person of The Year. She and her husband Jeremy purchased the Conger Meat Market in 2004 with plans to continue its traditional customer base by using award winning original Czechoslovakian recipes--and it worked! This hardworking woman has made an impact not only on her family but also throughout our community.
- Jeremy Johnson is a native Minnesotan who grew up in Conger, MN and has been leading his church as well as the community for years. In 2019 Jeremy helped lead all of this growth needed to convert what was once just your average small town butcher shop into one that now processes Wagyu beef under federal regulations which allows people across America greater access food sources they can trust!
Jay and Tricia Johnson
- Jay Johnson is a lifelong entrepreneur who took his love for beef farming into full-time work. He gained passion by living on a dairy farm each summer where he learned how to work with cattle and interact with people that share similar interests in food production.
- His wife Tricia also grew up on a small Southern Minnesota cattle farm- and now they're bringing healthier products back home to Fellers Ranch® - Minnesota's Natural Wagyu
Ryan and Janelle Merkouris
- County resident Ryan Merkouris grew up in Alden, MN where he learned to work hard and has passed down his skills to his son Caleb. He spent many years working for the Freeborn County Sherriff's Office as well as the Albert Lea Police Department as an officer and deputy sheriff.
- Janelle (Beck) Merkouris has spent her life on the farm, first as a child and then in adulthood. She worked for Albert Lea's Good Samaritan Society before joining forces with Fellers Ranch® where she is responsible for communication outreach initiatives that support farmers across Minnesota!
Henry and Margaret Savelkoul
- Henry grew up on an eight-sibling family farm in northwestern North Dakota, which he still refers to as “God’s County”. He is the only Fellers partner that can honestly say that he ran away from home on horseback. Whether it was to get out of doing chores (as Grandma Savelkoul claimed) or simply to see Canada on horseback (as Henry claimed) has never been proven...
- Henry eventually made his way to “civilization” in Minnesota (somewhat reluctantly), attending college at St. Thomas. While there, he met Margaret Sykes, who hailed from Wisconsin. Even though she still cheers for the Packers, Margaret and Henry are proud to have called Minnesota home ever since they married in 1964.
- As proof of the phrase, “You can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy . . .”, Henry talked Margaret into moving to rural Minnesota (Freeborn County) after college, where they have lived ever since. Henry and Margaret were soon raising cattle, along with their four children. Attending the livestock shows and auctions at the County Fair was an annual event, and there were even a couple trips to the State Fair with calves raised on the Savelkoul Farm.
- One of Margaret’s favorite memories of the livestock business was the time she had a big group of lady friends (from town) out for coffee, and she had to explain why half the cattle were in the front yard, rather than in the pasture where they were supposed to be.
- Henry and Margaret now have 11 grandchildren and one great grandchild. Fellers Ranch® allows Henry to continue to pursue his lifelong passion of working with cattle – he is especially proud Fellers Ranch® can explain to its customers exactly where their meat came from. Specifically, he likes that every calf is fed on the Merkouris family farm just outside Conger, MN, and is then butchered at a small-town, artisan butcher shop less than two miles away. Henry’s favorite Fellers Ranch® products are ribeye steaks and Wagyu jerky. Margaret’s favorite is filet.
Don and Julie Savelkoul
Don and Julie are life-long residents of Albert Lea, Minnesota. Julie has worked as a nurse (primarily in Albert Lea) for over 30 years, and Don owns and runs his own law office. Don and Julie have three children – two nurses (Sarah and Hannah) and one college student (Michael).
Don grew up showing cattle at the Freeborn County fair, the State Fair, and AKSARBEN Stock Show. He attended college at St. John’s University and law school at the University of Minnesota. Julie graduated from St. Scholastica.
Fellers Ranch® gives Don and Julie the opportunity to participate in a growing business connected to their home community. All three of their children were in 4-H, and they understand how important ag-related businesses are to small towns like Conger and Albert Lea.
Don is one of Henry and Margaret’s four children, and he swears that he did more farm chores the other three kids combined. He loved being involved with the cow-calf operation, and he is thrilled to play a role in growing Fellers Ranch® -- a business that is not only good for its partners and their families, but great for its customers. The health benefits of Wagyu are of particular interest to the Savelkoul's. (For example, Wagyu contains a much higher proportion of desirable mono-unsaturated fats and Omega 3 than any other beef.