4 Critical Factors the GRASSFED Industry Cannot Ignore
Consistency, Protocol, Profitability, Marketing
Consistency: Critical for the Growth of the Grassfed Industry: I feel there are four critical issue that I see, as a founding member of the Grass Fed Exchange, that will keep the Grassfed Industry from growing and meeting its full potential. I will try to address these in the next few blogs that I will post. I just cannot do justice to any one of these subjects in one short blog.
We in the grassfed industry can produce a very high quality, tender, and flavorful, eating experience for the consumer which we serve, that is also very healthy for her and her family. It seems to me that there is a lot of interest in not only trying grassfed products by the consumer but also by the producer wanting to produce a healthy product for his or her family but also wanting to share this experience with others.
Currently we are seeing cattle prices having some short term upside potential. We, in the industry, know that this is only short lived unless we can create a greater demand for the product that we raise. With all agricultural products well off of their recent highs, we, as producers naturally look for ways to increase our bottom line. Looking at specialty markets is one of the ways we can do this.
What concerns me at this time is that there will be some producers looking at a way to increase their profits that do not fully understand what it takes to produce a consistent quality product. The right product will entice the consumer to keep coming back to buy more. She will then go to tell her friends and neighbors what a good and healthy experience she had with one of our great products.
I can relay this to you, as one who was very excited about the great health benefits that grassfed products would have upon our society. I have seen far too much suffering and sorrow come to family and neighbors because of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. I felt if I could raise a product that would have the potential to help alleviate some of these problems, as a steward of the livestock that have been given to me by my Creator, I have a responsibility to produce such a product and to share it with my family, friends, community, and as many people as possible.
I began to change my herd to grassfed genetics, switched from a corn base diet to an all forage, grass diet. When I had some product ready to sell I shared it with family and friends. I thought that I had produced a superior product and I was excited about it. My bubble burst in a big hurry. Out of the 20 to25 people that I gave product to only one ever felt it was a gift. I had produced what I thought was a superior product only to find out that it was not as tender as I had thought. It also had a very strong flavor which turned almost everyone away from ever trying grassfed meats again.
I relay this to you because I do not want others to do the same thing I did. Yet that is exactly what I am seeing in so many places as new producers get excited about raising grassfed beef, in particular. They then go to the local health food store and convince or solicit him to offer his grassfed product in his store. If this product is not tender or has an off flavor, we have just lost that customer from buying any grassfed products in the future. Not only will he or she not buy any more grassfed meat but he will also tell his friends about the poor eating experience that they had had with our grassfed product.
We do have a very good product to offer to our consumer but we need to be sure that the product we are offering is of the quality that we want to share. It is not just as simple as turning few yearling steers or heifers out to a pasture and when, and if they, get fat we harvest them and call them grassfed. Yet this is exactly what I am seeing far too often. As you can see grass fed meat does not have to be less tender or have less marbling. We can produce a consistent quality product that will give our consumer a great eating experience every time.
I would encourage you to come to the Grass Fed Exchange conference in Albany, New York from September 27th to the 29th 2017. Learn from others who are there as to how they have mastered how to produce a consistently superior product the gives the consumer a GREAT eating experience. Go to our web site at www.grassfedexchange.com and check out the lineup of speakers, tours, and vendors that will be represented at the conference. We are all about educating our producers and our consumers about grassfed products and how this can make for a healthier food supply.
Wayne Rasmussen co-founder and Chairmen Emeritus, of the Grass Fed Exchange