- Animals: bovine
- Farm Business Management: cooperatives, marketing management, feasibility study
- Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, habitat enhancement, wildlife
- Production Systems: holistic management
- Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems, new business opportunities
Yellowstone Grassfed Beef (YGB), by the J Bar L Ranch, is a new brand of natural grass-fed beef being marketed wholesale to food services, restaurants and grocery retail, as well as being marketed directly to consumers. Animals in the program are raised using natural production methods, are grass-fed and grass-finished, and raised on land with stellar environmental management practices. Of particular note for this project, the environmental practices result in good bird habitat, and they especially support the reproduction of sage grouse. Though not an endangered species, the sage grouse is a species of interest to the EPA.
YGB has held a vision of building an online direct-to-consumer enterprise that will be an important part of their market base. With funding from the Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (Western SARE) program, YGB sought to test the hypothesis that conservation-minded consumers (as identified through membership in conservation-related organizations) might be particularly open to ordering YGB products when provided information about the company’s environmentally-friendly production practices and an opportunity to place orders.
While we continue to maintain that the hypothesis is sound and that members of conservation groups will appreciate the opportunity to use their consumer dollars to do conservation work, the outcomes of this project lead us to believe alternate strategies need to be used. On the face value of measuring return on investment, the project was not a success.
The main objective of the project was to measure and compare the inquiry rate and conversion rate to the above outlined marketing approach to that of industry averages for direct mail marketing strategies.