“If you want to be a commodity producer and just settle for whatever the commodity is worth, and get an average value, you can do that, but you have to be the least cost producer to make a living doing that.”
Dr. Gary Smith spoke at Texas A&M’s beef short course about emerging markets, particularly for the small producer.
“Was it produced by somebody in my environment, somebody that I know, somebody that I know has the same values and beliefs that I do, or instead am I gonna get it from someplace overseas where I have to wonder when I buy it, when I cook it, and wonder after my family has eaten it?
Smith says this niche marketing won’t replace mass distribution by super markets, but that in our affluent society there are enough people that will pay a premium for products produced a certain way. He highlighted a medium sized locker plant in California.
“They do 13 brands of beef for people within 100 miles of Orland, California, some of whom sell it to a grocery store in a town where they live. Others sell it to a restaurant in a town where they live, others take it to farmers markets.”
Producers tend to use family names to brand their beef.
“This beef is produced for you by the Smith Family, and the Smith Family has these values: We believe it’s important to believe in environmental sustainability. We believe it’s important for everybody to make a fair wage. We believe it’s important to be very careful in the handling and caring for animals.”
Smith says market innovators need to keep looking ahead.
“Constantly be thinking about what you can do next, that’s different than what someone else does, and for which someone will be willing to pay a premium.”
The entrepreneurial spirit is apparently alive and well in the beef industry. I’m Chace Murphy, tracing the journey our food makes from the farm to our tables, From the Ground Up.