Our family farming history began with my great-great-... (nine generations ago) grandfather Johannes. He, his wife and three children left Saxony, Germany, on April 20, 1734, aboard the ship St. Andrew, mastered by Capt. John Stedman. They landed at Philadelphia on Sept. 22 and eventually settled our family’s first "New World" farm near Society Run in Frederick Township, Montgomery County, Pa., in 1743. Pig farming was our family’s specialty until the mid 1950s. A lot has changed since then. Our BQA cow–calf operation includes 100% grass-fed registered Red Angus, Hereford and purebred Beefalo; 30 to 35 pastured Duroc and Spot pigs; 100 Freedom Ranger broilers; and 90 Golden Comet and Buff Orpington layers. We organically maintain 80 acres, comprising 15 acres in rotational pastures, 15 acres in tillable cropland, and alfalfa/mixed grass hay on the balance. We have never used chemical pesticides or herbicides on our pastures or hay fields. We are not a "certified" organic farming operation, but we prefer the natural/organic approach to help promote sustainability.
Marketing Your Grass-Fed Meats - Part 3
Jan 21, 2011
Welcome back to part 3 in a 3 part series on……
MARKETING YOUR GRASS-FED MEATS
The BEEF business is completely different from the cattle business. You need a completely different mind-set to market beef to customers. You will need a totally different set of knowledge and skills.
Pay attention to your competition. Begin to read the food and business sections of your local newspapers.
Read on-line trade journals that will help you understand the beef, pork, poultry, lamb etc. businesses.
Learn about regulations.
Think about your geographical marketing area. Are you located in a rural setting out in the middle of nowhere? Are you within 15 – 30 minutes of a town, city or retail market or restaurant? Learn about managing a business. Look for training in marketing - selling approaches, demonstrating, negotiating with retailers or restaurants, and closing the sale.
• Be prepared for your business to take anywhere from 6 months to 3 years to take off.
• Your processor/butcher is key to your success. Choose it carefully. And talk to them on a regular basis.
• Look for close markets first such as Farmers Markets, health food stores and especially restaurants who prefer to buy locally.
• Be yourself and be professional. Capitalize on your down-home, family farmer image. It’s how you live your life, be proud of your heritage.
Always promote a positive impression of your products.
In a world of unsafe food, consumers fears about food safety and quality outweigh any sociological considerations they may have about agriculture. You must appear to be well-organized, and committed to quality to build the trust you need to make the sale and have repeat customers.
• EDUCATE your customers.
Compare your 100% Grass-fed BEEF to other species such as venison when referring to cooking time.
If your customers cook your meat incorrectly they won’t buy more!
• Offer delivery for the elderly and restaurants that feature Locally raised food.
• Be positive when presenting your 100% Grass-fed BEEF, Pastured Pork, Poultry, Lamb etc.
• Building your niche market takes steady work. Stick with it and be prepared for success!!
Target your marketing to the right customer. We have found that individuals with an existing or new interest in healthy, lean meat are the choice consumer niche.
The following points are some of the interests of consumers in the 100% Grass-fed BEEF marketing niche:
• Great taste.
• Pesticide-free food (for customers with chemical sensitivities).
• A healthy, high-protein diet (for reduction of cancer risk or for cancer patients).
• No artificial/injected/implanted growth hormones or animal by-product rations.
• Safe locally raised foods with no danger of E. coli or BSE.
• Lean meat.
• Humane Animal welfare.
• Cost-saving through prices lower than the chain stores.
• Convenience and TRACEABILITY!
• Desire to support farmers and eat locally raised foods.
We hope the last 3 weeks have helped you with some of your questions and/or concerns about marketing your grass-fed meats. Next weekend (weather permitting), we hope to see some of you in Latham, NY for Cornell Universities 3rd Annual "Winter Green-Up" Grass-fed Beef conference. STAY WARM!!!!!