Finding, Adding and Marketing the Value of Beef

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Ivey, Brantley
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Cornbelt Cow-Calf Conference
Iowa Beef Center
The Cornbelt Cow-Calf Conference is one of the longest running and most successful conferences of its type in the Midwest. For over forty years, the conference has provided an opportunity for producers, researchers, and over 70 industry representatives to come together to explore current topics and issues. This concentrated one-day conference focuses on management and production practices that contribute to making the cow-calf business profitable and competitive on a long-term basis.

There are a variety of third party verification programs and USDA certification programs within the beef industry that will enable producers to add a label to their animal that will hopefully add value to their overall operation. Programs such as “Organic” and Non Hormone treated cattle for the European Union, and Source and Age Verified, to name a few, do add value to the end product. The overall goal of course is to add value to the product you are trying to sell, and not necessarily to add value, but to find a premium for your animals to capture the best price you possibly can. Therefore there must be a customer on the other side of the gate that is willing to pay more for the value added end product than they would for regular commodity beef. This is a thought process that is driven by the changing demand of the Global, American, and you might say local consumer. The thought process is then a catalyst for new management schemes related to capitalizing on the phantom consumer that will pay more if we do more. Owners and managers are constantly trying to find new and innovative ways to increase the profitability of their operations and often times find that the added effort is not worth the value added in the end. However; there is indeed a growing population that is willing to pay extra for a product that they feel good about buying.