Adding Value to Grassfed Beef Niche Marketing Efforts

2005 Annual Report for EW04-012

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2004: $60,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2006
Region: Western
State: California
Principal Investigator:
Cynthia Daley
California State University, Chico

Adding Value to Grassfed Beef Niche Marketing Efforts


The grassroots efforts by western ranching families to produce an “all natural grass-fed” product have become popular with specific sectors of the consuming public. We support sustainable agriculture practices by enhancing the marketing opportunities of grass-fed livestock producers and their families through the training and education of growers and extension personnel on the potential health benefits of grass-fed beef products through workshops, product analysis, label development, refereed and popular press publications and the development and maintenance of an informational website.

Objectives/Performance Targets

1. To provide training and education for producers and extension personnel on the potential health benefits of grass-fed beef products. All research published to date, along with new data provided by the CSUC Applied Agriculture Research Initiative project #59054, will be presented in grass-fed beef workshops and seminars. In addition, all data will be posted on the website for general consumption.

2. To provide producers with complete, user-friendly, reports of their grass-fed product in terms of total lipid analysis, and assist with data interpretation and utilization of that data during marketing efforts.

3. To provide support for the maintenance and enhancement of the informational Grass-fed Beef website, i.e., update with most current research findings relevant to the grass-fed beef production.

4. Provide one-on-one support for grass-fed producers to develop their own personal labels appropriate for USDA approval through annual Grass-fed Beef workshops, which will feature information on health benefits research, labeling regulations and marketing strategies. Successful grass-fed programs will present case studies.


  • Work that has been completed:

    Website is operational with the following components:

    1. Health Benefits: Review article on the “Value Added Components of Grass-fed Meat Products” has been accepted for publication by the Nutrition Journal. Copies of this journal article in .pdf will be posted to the informational website.

    2. Niche Marketing Seminar Proceedings from 2004 and 2005

    3. Labeling information:
    a. How to create your own label
    b. Regulations concerning labels.

    4. Grass-fed beef recipes

    5. Research: a number of publications related to grass-fed livestock production are hot-linked to the website in the following categories:
    a. Effect of grass on lipid content in meat
    b. Health attributes of grass-fed meat products
    c. Marketing
    d. Forage and performance
    e. Grass-feeding effects on carcass quality

    Lipid analysis has been completed for grass-fed producers interested in health benefit label claim through USDA. Reports have been generated.

    Met with grass-fed producer groups regarding health benefit label claims and research progress.

    Met with Ron Daines, Western SARE communications specialist, on progress to date.

    Plans have been made for the 2006 Niche Marketing Conference.

    Completed the 2005 Niche Marketing Conference on grass-fed livestock products: a 3-day event to cover topics related to lipid profiles, health benefit label claims, USDA labeling regulations, grass-fed beef product quality, issues related to marketing grass-fed beef, economics of processing grass-fed meat products. This was a 3-day event co-sponsored by Western SARE, CSU Chico, Applied Ag Research Initiative and University of California Cooperative Extension Service, to cover product quality and marketing that included a hands-on session where producers were able to break carcasses into primals and then address the issue of trim, the cost of excess trim and the cost of low quality carcasses. This was a unique experience where producers could see first hand the issues related to converting their livestock into a marketable product. Pictures are attached.

    What work is left to do:

    Complete plans and execute the 2006 Niche Marketing Conference for grass-fed livestock producers.

    Finalize the statistical analysis and manuscript for the 2nd refereed journal article on lipid profiles found in grass-fed beef.

    Finalize producer reports and setup one-on-one meetings to discuss label claims – work in progress.

    Update and maintain website with new Niche Marketing proceedings, producer contacts and the latest research developments.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes:
  • Facilitated the meeting between WGB cooperative and a new retailer at our 2004 Niche Marketing seminar, which has created a new and larger outlet for their grass-fed beef product. This type of networking between producer groups and retailers is critical to the success of these growers.

    Western Grasslands Beef Cooperative has submitted label claim for elevated Omega-3 with the help and assistance of this project.

    Survey assessment of growers at the 2005 Niche Marketing Conference was extremely encouraging. On a scale of 1 – 5, we averaged a 4 on questions related to information relevance to improving their product quality and marketing strategies.

    Improved knowledge and dissemination of scientific research through the website has provided the justification for health benefit label claims related to lipid content, Omega 3 and CLA fatty acid composition of grass-fed meat products – thus “adding value” to marketing efforts.

    There have been a number of extension personnel (8 agents representing over 16 counties)involved in the planning, development and execution of these conferences thus improving the general knowledge of the grass-fed meat movement and niche marketing efforts throughout the Western region.

    Refereed Review Journal Article entitled “Value Added Components of Grass-fed Meat Products” has been accepted for publication by the Nutrition Journal.