Alan and Deanna Jones, project coordinators, operate a 1600 acre diversified family farm that supports two families, which includes our son Kevin, his wife Teresa and their daughter Shyanne. The grain farm operation consists of corn, wheat, milo, beans, oats, and lespedeza. In addition we manage a herd of 120 head of commercial Angus cattle.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND RESULTS
Our goal for this grant was to develop and expand a cull cow group marketing program in southeast Kansas. Too often farmers treat marketing of cull cows as something they have to do as a by product of their operation. This project is intended to provide a marketing example to regional producers through a farmer to farmer cooperative network. This will enable farmers to pool cull cows for volume sales and thereby lower individual transportation costs. Competition should increase by making more market outlets available ultimately returning income to participating producers.
We started our project by conducting a survey of 200 cattle producers in our area. This helped us identify how interested producers would be in a program such as ours. We hired a project coordinator, Kim Harris, who organizes the cattle for sell and contacts the buyers to get the price for the producers. We developed a web page and printed flyers describing our program. The flyers were distributed in the region at coops, veterinary offices, Farm Service Agencies, banks and various other places where farmers gather.
As the program developed we were able to coordinate and market loads of cull cows that returned more net dollars to the producers. We feel that less stress were put on the cattle since they went straight to the packer and did not have to stand at a sale barn before being shipped. We feel that the program has created a better understanding of cooperation among producers. This project makes producers work together to share transportation costs, to share marketing of cows which builds volume for a quantity negotiated sale thus giving smaller family farmers the same leverage in the market place as larger producers. Now that we have the program established we hope to continue the practice to help farmers help themselves.
Our project was announced in local papers when we received our grant. Alan spoke on several livestock panel discussions at various farm organizations where he was able to present our project. We had a display which, we put up at meetings to draw attention to the project and we distributed our flyers. An article was published about our survey results. We received a phone call from National Farmers Organization asking permission to use our survey results. Alan participated in a radio interview about the program on a farm station.