The Future For Small Beef Operations
|The organic and grass-fed markets are making huge gains each year.|
Many small cattle ranchers are suffering financially these days. With the increased costs of operating a ranch, the decreased returns of commodity beef, the additional scrutiny that faces public land ranchers and the pressure from many environmental groups, it’s a wonder that anyone raises cattle at all.
Yet, through direct marketing there is a world of opportunity. Research shows that the organic and grass-fed markets are making huge incremental gains each year. Many people are looking for local products to feed their family. The increase in food safety issues such as bse (bovine spongiform encephalopathy), or mad cow disease, brings even more opportunities for the small, local producer.
Our Vision of the Future for Small Beef Operations
Many family farms and ranches are simply too small to play the commodity game. Stan Parsons, of the Ranching for Profit School, figures you need a minimum of 1,000 head to be profitable. If you don’t, you need to find a new game. Direct marketing is a good game.
Worldwide, the organic market is the fastest-growing segment of the food industry. We are just now beginning a nutritional revolution that will revive demand for grass-fed beef, lamb, chicken and dairy. This period is to family farming what the 1970s were to Silicone Valley, or what the 1940s were to Detroit.
If you have the marketing skills, or the desire to develop them, you will thrive in this demand-driven market segment. This is one of those periods in history when you want to have all your ducks in a row. Ride this wave up and have yourself positioned when the market matures in 15 to 20 years.