Romance vs. Reality Part 1: A Grass-fed Beef Marketing Cooperative Shares Lessons Learned

There's a lot of interest lately in figuring out new ways to create a food system that is more resilient and that meets the needs of both the producer and the customer. With that in mind, here's the first of a two-part series that could add to the discussion. It was originally published by On Pasture in August of 2015. It was written in 2001 by Annie Wilson, member and former business manager of Tallgrass Prairie Producers Co-op and originally published in Rural Papers Newsletter Kansas Rural Center, in October, 2001 . The Co-op operated from 1995 to 2000, raising and marketing grass-fed beef from ten Kansas ranches. It ceased active operation in 2000. Wilson offers the following as their lessons learned in the hopes that others will benefit. The purpose of this article is not to discourage other producers from niche marketing, but to share our experiences in our five years of marketing grass-fed beef. The variables in any business effort are so endless that we cannot conclusively pronounce what will or won’t work for others. Times change and undoubtedly some of the production and marketing realities we faced are different now. A new and different formula may work today. We only know what happened to us, and will try to communicate our perspective here. First we will give a general overview of our history, followed by what we saw as the critical elements of success, some of which we unfortunately lacked. Business history [caption id="attachment_46262" ali

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