The project sought to augment traditional ranch income by marketing grassfed beef cattle – drug and hormone free – using nontraditional means. This method comprised selling cattle to the project coordinator’s company, Wyoming Natural Products Company LLC, to be marketed retail and wholesale as individual cuts of beef.
The grant was used to offset advertising on the East Coast via National Public Radio and the expenses of the Foods Expo East Trade Show. To measure results, the project team assessed whether cattle sales to Wyoming Natural Products Company LLC and the profits or losses generated by the company would enhance ranch income.
In short, Wyoming Natural Products has yet to become profitable, so the ranch income has actually suffered. Still, project coordinator James Millett said that benefits, both measurable and non-measurable were directly attributable to the Western SARE project.
· Determine whether cattle sales and company profits with nontraditional marketing methods differ from traditional marketing
· Use ranch income data to assess whether nontraditional efforts are profitable
· Compare gross sales of packaged beef for two time periods
Several measurable benefits resulted from the Western SARE project. The advertising on National Public Radio station WAMC in Albany, New York, generated approximately $5,500 in gross sales and 15 queries.
“It is felt that had our budget allowed us to continue the ads for a longer period of time, increased sales may have been achieved,” said project coordinator Jim Millett. “This is based on the advertising adage that repetition is the key to product and name recognition.”
Wyoming Natural Productions Company continues to receive orders on its Web site, www.wyomingnatural.com, and its 800 number, 1-800-969-9946, from customers who heard about the company and its products on WAMC.
“As our company grows and becomes more profitable we plan to increase our Public Radio advertising,” said Millett.
The second direct benefit from the Western SARE project was derived from attending a trade show, the Natural Products Expo East. During the show, Wyoming Natural Products made 82 contacts, and the company is currently selling its natural beef jerky to one of those contacts, an East Coast natural foods distributor. Millett said he expects sales to continue to grow from those contacts.
He said the other benefit, possibly the most important one, “is the real-world education we received, and are still receiving, from our business experiences provided at least in part by the Western SARE project.”
Simply put, he said, the non-measurable benefits are: “We learned a lot, met a large number of people and became much more ‘worldly’ in a very competitive business.”
BENEFITS OR IMPACT ON AGRICULTURE
While no financial benefits have accrued so far, the project could increase future income.
PRODUCERS ADOPTION/REACTIONS FROM PRODUCERS
Through technical advisor William Taylor, the project was presented during a public meeting held by BOS Beef Marketing in 2003. Taylor introduced the SARE program, objectives and process, and other presenters provided current and useful information on marketing strategies and value-added products.
“Jim (Millett), Joe Sandrini and Patty Cole did an outstanding job of providing current and useful information to producers interested in marketing strategies and value-added products,” said Taylor. “They explained the differences between organic and natural products, talked about marketing plans and alternative enterprises and covered the preparation and determination needed to do niche marketing.”
They also discussed the process BOS Beef Marketing used to develop their products and markets and provided local producers an opportunity to sign up as a product supplier.