Last weekend, I traveled to Buffalo, Wyoming to speak at the 11th Annual Johnson County Women’s Agriculture Summit.
It has been a pleasure to kick off 2022 with this wonderful group of passionate livestock farmers, and I still think of the information presented by my fellow speakers, the camaraderie we enjoyed together as a group, and the joy of being at together again after a hiatus due to COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021.
In my presentation, I shared examples of how producers are innovating, pivoting their business models, connecting and serving their customers, while leading with positivity in their communities.
And I was incredibly inspired by the entrepreneurs I met at the event. To further prove the points I made in my talk, I was thrilled to see one of the ranchers run into one of her beef customers in the hallway after our session.
Upon seeing each other, they hugged and had a lively conversation about the quality of the beef and how much the family loves having a freezer full of beef. I couldn’t help but smile when I witnessed the exchange, and it filled me with pride to see this producer become a price maker instead of a price taker. She has regained control of her product – from pasture to plate – and she, in turn, is receiving a large bounty while building invaluable connections with her customers.
It’s truly a win-win, but it’s not without its share of challenges, obstacles, hiccups, and roadblocks. There is a lot to learn before selling beef to the public.
- regulatory bureaucracy.
- Location of processing facility.
- The robustness of a local food market or access to urban consumers.
- Constant product availability.
- Customer service.
And the list continues.
Producers tell me — we have to fix the system. It is unfair. Producers are leaving the livestock industry in droves.
I agree, our industry has serious problems.
However, I will not hold my breath that a politician is really going to fix the ills of our cattle industry or fix the corruption in the system, if it exists.
So, as we fight the big fights for the betterment of our industry in the long term, we must also ask ourselves how will we survive now, in the short term? How do we innovate, pivot, connect, serve and lead with positivity in ways that add value to our rural communities and strengthen our own businesses for generations to come?
The answer won’t be the same for everyone, but it’s been exciting to see those who have stepped out of the norm and into new markets where they’re capturing more of the dollar from every pound of beef sold.
May we all be inspired to explore new paths that could ultimately lead to greater success. It might not be what the neighbors do or what the great-grandfather would have done when he started the ranch, but it might be exactly what your operation needs now to inject money in operation and generate more income for your family to live on. .
Kudos to a year of creative entrepreneurs raising cattle, selling beef, and setting the new industry standard for thriving in these uncertain times.
Amanda Radke’s opinions are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.