Niche Beef Production and Marketing in Colorado

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2002: $59,470.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2005
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $42,838.00
Region: Western
State: Colorado
Principal Investigator:
Martha Sullins
American Farmland Trust
Julia Freedgood
American Farmland Trust
Dawn Thilmany
Colorado State University
Tom Field
Colorado State University

Annual Reports


  • Animals: bovine


  • Education and Training: technical assistance, demonstration, extension, networking
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, cooperatives, feasibility study, agricultural finance, market study, value added, whole farm planning
  • Production Systems: holistic management
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, partnerships


    This project provided training through workshops, field visits and networking to 120 agricultural professionals across Colorado interested in branded beef businesses. Niche-oriented production and marketing create an opportunity for producers to diversify and augment their income stream while decreasing their exposure to the market volatility of conventional beef production. Successful diversification depends on education and ongoing access to technical advice about adapting cattle production and product processing, pricing, storage, regulation and marketing strategies to ensure a revenue stream that meets producer objectives and needs, and a degree of liability and risk that fall within acceptable levels for the producer.

    Project objectives:

    1. 1. At least 120 agricultural professionals across Colorado, including Cooperative Extension advisors, USDA field personnel, state agriculture agency and community organization staff, other professionals and ranchers, will attend one of three two-day professional development workshops designed to assist livestock producers in developing and operating alternative beef production and marketing programs.

      2. At least 80 of all workshop participants will use the training materials to conduct their own educational programs by:
      a) providing assistance to ranchers who are starting or already operating a niche beef production and marketing process; or
      b) increasing community awareness about the importance of sustainable agriculture and the need to support local agriculture to keep land in agricultural use.

      3. At least 80 of all workshop participants will know how to contact fellow professionals for ongoing technical assistance on niche beef issues through:
      a) workshop materials and other resources via the Internet; and
      b) a network of state and regional contacts and resources.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.