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From farm to table - marketing matters for MO beef

From farm to table - marketing matters for MO beef

By Blake Jackson

The COVID-19 pandemic spurred a surge in farm-to-consumer beef sales. While the trend has slowed, Missouri beef producers can still benefit from this alternative marketing approach. Selling directly allows farmers to capture a larger share of the profits compared to traditional livestock auctions.

However, this increased profit potential comes at a cost – significant time and effort investment. University of Missouri Extension specialist Jacob Hefley advises producers to carefully evaluate this business venture before diving in.

Beyond financial considerations, producers should analyze various direct-to-consumer marketing options:

  • Freezer Beef: Customers purchase a whole animal (or a share) before slaughter, taking ownership and responsibility for processing costs. This method offers flexibility but doesn't require state or federal inspection.
  • Individual Cuts: Processed meats require state or federal inspection but allow for higher profit margins. However, producers must actively market all cuts to avoid waste and maintain freezer space.
  • Meat Bundles: Combining popular cuts with less desirable ones in bundles can entice customers hesitant to buy a whole animal share or those with limited storage. This approach, requiring inspection, also offers a bulk-buying option.

Regardless of the chosen model, direct sales demand more marketing effort compared to traditional channels. "Success hinges on the ability to be both a skilled marketer and a livestock producer," emphasizes Hefley. Direct sales might not be suitable for all farms due to this dual role.

While the potential rewards are high, producers who struggle to effectively market and sell their products can quickly see losses. Carefully weighing the pros and cons is crucial before venturing into direct-to-consumer beef sales.

Photo Credit: gettyimages-sstajic

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Categories: Missouri, Livestock, Beef Cattle

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