Date of this Version
This NebGuide offers producers suggestions for selling beef directly to consumers.
Successful direct selling of beef to consumers requires a different mind-set from our traditional sale of commodity beef to processors, wholesalers and retailers. The much closer relationship of the beef producer to the actual consumer creates many opportunities to provide more income from each individual animal and for the consumer to receive a product which is generally not available in the store. A growing number of consumers are interested in purchasing beef that is produced locally, on small farms or ranches, humanely raised, without implants, without the feeding of subtherapeutic antibiotics, and without feeding transgenic (GMO) grain or protein. Buyers often prefer beef that must meet an established list of requirements. The more of these criteria that you can provide to customers who believe they are important, the more valuable is your product.
Direct relationship marketing of beef requires different skills and substantially more knowledge. The sheer size of a whole beef carcass and people's experience of buying only a few individual cuts as needed make direct beef sales more challenging. Initial success will likely require compromise by the buyer and seller to make it workable for both. It will be simplest to not sell the carcass in any greater break down than one-half of one-half which is equivalent to one-quarter of beef but includes half the meat from the forequarter and half from the hindquarter. It is very difficult when greater numbers of carcasses are involved to make forequarters and hindquarters come out even in demand even when thoughtful price differentials are used. Therefore the one-half of one-half procedure simplifies both processing and marketing.