- Animals: bovine
- Education and Training: focus group
- Farm Business Management: whole farm planning, cooperatives, marketing management, feasibility study, market study, value added
- Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, partnerships, social networks
Many beef producers in the United States are experiencing the effects of concentration in the cattle industry through lower market prices. In Oklahoma, where cattle are the number one commodity raised in the state, ranchers are looking for alternative ways to market their cattle. However, most ranchers do not have the time, expertise and network to develop organizational and relational plans to market their beef.
The goal of this project is to explore the feasibility of linking a producer retained-ownership program with small independent packers to market quality natural beef products within Oklahoma, Texas, and Kansas and to review the effects of agricultural policy on the participants in this process. Using a whole systems approach, the priority area will be to research the feasibility of producers marketing their beef products directly to the consumer using a cooperative network of producers and packers. Sharing information, marketing channels and marketing duties will allow producers the opportunity to realize more on-farm income.
The research objectives are:
1) develop a beef producer survey to investigate producer interests in being linked with packers and exploring value added marketing strategies;
2) develop a survey that will be distributed to small independent Oklahoma beef packers to investigate characteristics of packer operations, their interest in being linked with producers, and equipment needs to provide retail packaging;
3) obtain information and expertise from the Oklahoma State University Food and Agricultural Products Research and Technology Center on collaborative value added natural beef marketing strategies;
4) design and distribute a pretest market survey, perform test market research for value added natural beef products by developing and distributing an in-store survey to a sample size of 400 consumers;
5) analyze government policies and programs that effect the feasibility of linking beef producers and packers with consumers; and
6) hold regional state focus group meetings in each quadrant of the state, and conduct producer and packer group sessions to develop producer networks to be linked with participating packers.
The project outcome is to develop a research plan that will identify areas of need and available resources for producers and packers who are interested in linking together to produce, process, and market sustainably raised beef. Areas of need will be analyzed and responded to by providing timely educational and technical assistance. If the results from the consumer test market studies are positive, the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture (KCSA) intends to develop a pilot program.
The research and education plan includes a variety of farmers, institutions, and foundations. The KCSA will serve as the lead project investigator. The OSU Food and Agricultural Products Center will serve as co-investigators. The Food and Agricultural Products Center and OSU Extension will provide technical support and educational materials on business plans, and value added marketing examples from other states. Results from the study will be provided on the KCSA website, and will be available at our offices in hard copy. The research findings will be published in the KCSA monthly newsletter, which has approximately 4,000 subscribers. Results will also be made available through the OSU Extension Service, Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, and the Oklahoma Land Stewardship Association.
- Develop a beef producer survey to investigate producer demographic and socioeconomic information, farm size, cattle numbers, current marketing methods, and interests in value added natural beef marketing strategies.
Develop a survey that will be distributed to small independent Oklahoma beef packers to investigate the characteristics of packer operations, their interest in being linked with producers, and equipment needs to provide the retail packaging.
Obtain information and expertise from the Oklahoma State University Food and Agricultural Products Center on collaborative value added natural beef marketing strategies.
Perform market research for value added natural beef products by developing and distributing a survey to Oklahoma, Texas, and Kansas consumers.
Analyze the government programs and policies effecting the feasibility of linking natural beef producers and packers with consumers.
Hold regional focus group meetings in each quadrant of Oklahoma and conduct interview sessions to assess the means by which a producer marketing network linked to interested packers may be developed.