MTXBeef started over a COVID-era cocktail and a campfire.

It was spring 2020. The pandemic had hit. Nestled in the rolling Texas Hill Country—west of Austin and north of San Antonio—Justin and Missy Crocker were busy raising their boys and running their 8,000-head feed yard and feed mill in the small, rural community of Mason.

Despite being surrounded by agricultural production, their community lacked access to food delivery from grocery and big-box stores, Missy explained.

“A lot of people came to us as the larger cattle producer in our area, saying, ‘We’re worried about the food supply chain. What can you do for us?’”


Justin and Missy began knocking on the doors of nearby meat processors. Pandemic-era demand had skyrocketed. Central Texas meat processors—like others across the nation—were overwhelmed. Getting into a processor was difficult but they finally received a ‘yes.’ MTXBeef kept growing, and soon, they were splitting production across six different processors, traveling as far as five hours roundtrip.

Dispersed production had its struggles. “One of our greatest challenges was the logistics,” Missy said. “We were on the road a lot, trying to maintain temperatures, and trying to reduce stress on the animals. We had to make each of these puzzle pieces fit together perfectly.”

While they wanted to ensure quality control, she said it was “really hard to produce a consistent and sustainable product when you’re working with a handful of different processors.”

“My biggest pain point was feeling the anxiety of not knowing what was going to come back to us and eventually be delivered to our customer,” she said. “When you’re using an outside processor, you’re locked into just delivering what you get.”

  • Butcher moves beef carcass along meat rail in MTXBeef's Friesla Modular Harvest unit.
    Butchers at MTXBeef moving a carcass along the meat rail after skinning in a Modular Harvest Unit.
  • MTXBeef butcher skinning beef carcass in Friesla Modular Harvest unit.
    Beef carcass being skinned next to an interior knock pen in MTXBeef’s modular Harvest unit.
  • MTXBeef butcher skinning Beef carcass in Friesla Meat Processing System.
    Butcher skinning a beef carcass in the Modular Harvest unit at MTXBeef.
  • MTXBeef butcher performing zero tolerance trimming in Friesla Meat Processing system.
    MTXBeef butcher performing zero tolerance trimming on a beef carcass.
  • MTXBeef butcher performing zero tolerance trimming.
    MTXBeef butcher performing zero tolerance trimming on a beef carcass.
  • USDA HACCP paperwork being filled out by a butcher during meat processing operations.
    MTXBeef butcher performing HACCP checks inside the Friesla Modular Meat Processing System.


MTXBeef was at a crossroads. “We were kind of capped,” Missy said. “At that point in time, [we had to decide whether] to hover where MTXBeef was or to purchase our own plant and start producing for ourselves.”

The duo toyed with two potential decisions: building a processing plant from the ground up or purchasing a Modular Meat Processing System from Friesla. Coincidentally, another Texas meat processor had recently closed shop and their used Friesla System was available for purchase—and relocation to Justin and Missy’s property several hours away in Mason.

“We couldn’t wait two years for a new stick building,” Missy said. “We had to make a decision right then. The urgency of having a used system there in a month, and then up and running in four months, would allow us to grow in four months as opposed to two years. A lot could happen in two years. We didn’t want to wait and miss the boat.”

Justin and Missy dove into learning about Friesla’s scope of services—from System & Site Planning and Installation to HACCP Plan Writing and Training. Together, they “stepped back and realized our zone of genius is raising cattle,” Missy said. Knowing both their strengths and where they needed help, they were eager for a clear path forward.

  • Beef half carcasses hanging in a Frielsa Modular Carcass Aging Cooler.
    Beef carcasses hang in the Modular Carcass Aging Cooler at MTXBeef.
  • Butcher quartering a beef carcass in Friesla Cut and Package module
    Butchers breakdown a beef carcass in a Modular Cut and Package unit at MTXBeef.
  • Butchers breaking down a carcass in Friesla Meat Processing system.
    Butchers break down a carcass and trim waste inside a Friesla Modular Cut and Package.
  • Smiling MTX Beef butchers fabricate and breakdown beef carcasses on polytop cutting tables in their Friesla Cut & Package Module.
    Two butchers at MTXBeef fabricating beef in a Cut and Package module.
  • Butcher hand-cutting beef on table.
    Butcher cutting short ribs inside a Friesla Cut and Package Module.
  • Butcher loading ground beef into a piston stuffer.
    A piston stuffer being loaded with ground beef.


After weighing their options, Missy said they decided on the Friesla System for three reasons: speed (“The ability to get up and running at a much faster pace”), scalability (“The beauty of being able to easily add on or expand as we grow”), and experience (“To lean on Friesla’s team, with their services, to help us be successful”). 

“Building a plant to spec is a really lengthy process, but it’s like [our Friesla System] was picked up, dropped down, and—boom!—it passed inspection.”

Missy Crocker, MTXBeef

“Building a plant to spec is a really lengthy process, but it’s like it was picked up, dropped down, and—boom!—it passed inspection,” Missy said, estimating they trimmed off a year of planning compared with a new stick-built facility. She credited Friesla as MTXBeef’s “guide” in getting the plant up and running. “It was hard work, but y’all made it a lot less hard than it could have been.”

Several months into operations, MTXBeef’s team is processing and shipping tens of thousands of pounds of meat to consumers, markets, and restaurants across Texas—full steam ahead.

“Having the processing units onsite has been a game changer,” Missy shared. “When you’re in control of your product, it gives you the liberty to perfect things so that your end customer receives exactly what they ordered. I feel confident with the product we’re delivering because I see it from beginning to end.”


The Crockers’ beef industry roots run deep. Justin carries on the cattleman legacy of his father, a Marine Corps veteran who served in the Vietnam War as a helicopter gunner, earning a Distinguished Flying Cross. Missy, too, has fallen in love with the industry. Becoming a Mom adds gravity to her feelings about its future—and her part in it.

“We fear that it’s going to be an industry that our two kiddos are not going to be able to be a part of if we don’t become active,” she shared, “so our main goal is to bring that industry back to our family, back to our community, back to our people—so that our two boys, when they choose a career path, that they have the opportunity to include being part of the processing plant and the feed yard—to carry on that tradition in the agricultural industry.”

For Missy, pouring her heart into her and Justin’s businesses has been rewarding, but the couple’s eyes are on a bigger prize.

“I’m not doing this for me by any means,” she closed. “I enjoy it, I love it, but Justin and I are both doing it for the longevity of our family. That’s number one.”

Visit MTXBeef here. Learn more about Friesla’s Ecosystem of Services here.