Go Home Little Bull
a white paper report about the current window of opportunity in direct marketing;
grassroot costs, opportunities, obstacles, solutions, and what intelliBeef™ has to offer

This whole nutty pandemic may actually contain a few genuine silver linings when it's all said and done. Have you noticed how many more people are experiencing renewed appreciation for their food supply right now? Before Covid-19, farmers markets with local garden produce have been growing in popularity, carving out new competition for grocery store chains. And now, the pandemic is creating a rise in appreciation for locally grown beef & dairy products. This presents a sudden & significant opportunity to develop more local meat marketing strategies.

Unnecessary Problems for Farmers: With the pandemic producers have been losing money and livestock. They've been hit hard, dumping millions of gallons of milk in the dairy industry, and being expected to kill thousands of animals that the meat packing industry can't handle with some closures; all the while watching the USDA bring in new beef imports from more third world countries.

Unnecessary Restrictions for Consumers: With pandemic, more people are home, noticing the effects of monopolies in the commercial packing industry --many owned by China and other countries--and seeing the waste in government overreach, that, all put together, is inefficient, costly, cruel, ridiculous, and anything but safe for our food supply.

Where Do We Go From Here? This colossal inefficiency and damage, while adding insult to injury in every level of our food supply chain, might become the conglomerate middleman companies' undoing. A huge window of opportunity is now open for direct marketing of local beef and dairy products. It seems the pandemic is just leading us where we were already headed, but faster. If producers can hold on long enough, maybe they can work together in the private sector, supporting more locally owned small lockers, and home butchers. Supported by a more understanding consumer, maybe farmers can help steer the direction we go from here: toward more private sales.

Direct Marketing: The way to market meat and dairy products directly is usually to sell locally at Farmers Markets, roadside stands, or selling online straight from the ranch or farm, or with CSAs or local abbatoirs & meat lockers. The major obstacles include the time & effort it takes to do one's own marketing, or to get enough sold compared to what is produced, while avoiding the mainstream commercial middlemen and staying legal. At the end of this report, I have included links to several articles and videos about how ranchers may turn this renewed demand into opportunity. And to help with any direct marketing strategy in agriculture is something that I know about personally, and am honored to recommend:

IntelliBeef™: This is is a simple way to employ RFID eartags, collars or microchips in livestock and participate in record-keeping databases online to track any animal along the food chain, and help identify, document & verify the production of safe local food that people are looking for.

IntelliBeef™ is a value added solution for the cattle industry at every level and phase of the production chain. It is a cost effective solution that collects & organizes information that is vital in the management, identification, marketing and reporting of livestock, including:

Here's How it Works: The livestock owners invest in ILR RFID intelliBeef™ ear tags (for cost of RFID tags). But the differences are substantial.

        IntelliBeef™ Program: Labels that would allow consumers to choose Normande beef, Pinzgauer beef (both known in Europe for awesomeness...) or heritage Angus, heirloom Hereford, or American bred Wagyu... labels so they could choose between organic fed, or fed with no GMO grains, or wholly grass fed, and naturally raised on free range pasture, and see where it was bred, fed, and humanely harvested (without stress and fear). Records provided will all be documented. Documentation reliability will be above what exists now. It will be local. Everything provable will be verified and recorded for each animal. Local producers will build their reputations and gain consumer confidence over time. Consumers can check records provided on intelliBeef™ labeled products--buyers can buy cattle entered in the intelliBeef™ database and save money with recorded managment practices. Outfits that are too small to afford government verification (as officially organic, 100% grassfed, etc,) can still record their operation and management practices and documentation with intelliBeef, and let simple facts be kept available for all involved in the food chain. This is a value-based solution that is available to any producer. It will work for consumers looking for a safer more reliable food supply, direct from local producers, rather than buying some kind of meat, from some kind of animal, managed somehow, slaughtered somehow, and shipped from somewhere to the neighborhood chain supermarkets.
        I believe this pandemic could bring about a VERY positive turnaround, allowing consumers more direct access to a safer food supply, and to support safer meat & dairy production. Nothing is perfect nor foolproof, but as long as laws are followed, livestock producers can use this database program as a partner to help shape future markets and develop trust with local customers.

Call ☎ 816-738-4179 or email for more information about intelliBeef™.


Sources & Resources

'They're Trying to Wipe Us Off the Map.' Small American Farmers Are Nearing Extinction. When will we awaken to support one of our greatest resources, small producers who relate ethically to the land. TIME online magazine.

It's more important now than ever to develop local direct marketing, (ensuring the safest food supply and staying compliant). It's more reliable. It cuts out the corporate middlemen. It is better for the environment, easier on the soil and land, more humane and kinder to the cattle. It will be more efficient (cheaper) for everyone in the food chain, from the farmer to the consumer. Local supply chains will bring safer, better tasting meat to the consumer, who can "get to know" their local producers and animals.

Kansas Cattleman Explains how the American Cattleman is Being Destroyed, Lonesome Lands Blog ... “Talk low, talk slow, and don’t say too much” — John Wayne

Colorado rancher scrambling to sell beef directly faces high regulatory hurdles. The beef market is complex and burdened with regulations that make it all but impossible for individual ranchers to sell their own meat at retail. completecolorado.com | May 14, 2020 | By Scott Weiser.

New Wyoming Law Lets Local Ranchers Sell Cuts of Meat Directly to Consumers; Trend of the future??... Wyoming’s first-and-best-in-the-nation food freedom law just keeps getting better. by Baylen Linnekin | 04.04.2020 | reason.com.

next kill appt = Feb 2022
local butchers & slaughter houses booked up til 2022

Cattle producers reopen closed Fort Pierre processing plant. The packing plant had been closed 17 years. Three investors from Minnesota, two from North Dakota and nine from South Dakota invested in the plant because of the opportunity to sell local beef. If things go well, the plant plans to process as many as 70 animals per week. Local beef: For consumers, the big advantage is that beef from the Fort Pierre area will not have to travel 800 to 1100 miles through three or four companies to be finished and processed, then distributed back to grocery stores in the Fort Pierre area. The beef can go right from the processing center to a home or a grocery store if it's USDA-certified. Austin and Allison Kruisselbrink, investor farmers from Woodstock, Minnesota said, “We’re a family farm and we were looking for an opportunity like this for our own kill space to provide product directly to the consumer,” Austin says. “We’re sick of being taken advantage of by the big packers.” The lead investor, Kim Ulmer of Aberdeen, S.D., owns Huron Continental Marketing, and says if the business model works well in Fort Pierre, he would like to find other small groups of investors to try it elsewhere. By Lance Nixon | May 26, 2020 farmprogress.com.

Two-thirds of farmers selling raw milk ignore scheme to regulate sales. New Zealand Rural | 05 Jul 2020

Pennsylvania Dairy Farmer Decides to Bottle His Own Milk Rather than Dump It. Sells Out in Hours. The American spirit lives on at a 300-year-old, cream-line dairy farm, where a farmer is working around the clock to bottle his own milk after his processor told him to dump it. Locals are lining up to support him.

The Sickness in Our Food Supply. By Michael Pollan, The New York Review of Books, June 11, 2020 Issue. The local supply of beef & the farmers market system here is suddenly being noticed, and talked about everywhere. This subject is blowing up on social media, too. So many people are home, seeing scant shelves in the grocery store, paying attention to what is essential and what is not, and taking care of their family's best interests, first hand.

Navigating the beaurocracy of FSIS in the pasture to plate or farm to table movement; Sandhills Beef Company, Mullen, Nebraska. Owner Jacob Wingebach ; videos with Trent Loos, and Dr Michael Fisher. (Facebook public video posts Feb 2020; This is the nuts & bolts of legally getting through established law & resulting beaurocracy in the pasture to plate process.)
        "We have a unique opportunity right now in our food system to create change. At a time when American producers are dumping American product and the USDA wants to assist American beef producers in disposing of livestock while we as consumers allow our government to import cattle from other countries and mark it “Product of the USA.” The whole thing pisses me off. So.... I own (Sandhills Beef Co) that can get the best beef from the state of Nebraska. Arguably, the best beef in the world. Our producers have it and our customers want it. In order to make a good profit and pay the family decent wages we have to “lean forward”. It's a wild ride we're on and I'd love to hire some folks that have experience breaking down or slaughtering in a custom exempt shop." ... "We have minimal small business in this country. That's BS. The ones we have have thin profit margins. This makes it difficult to pay people a decent wage for their time because you're competing with other countries that pay their worker's $3/day. We've accepted that, until this BS virus shut the economy down. Now, we have record beef prices and our AMERICAN producers are loosing their ass.... It's so ridiculous." ... "The best part, we're introducing thousands of American's to the age old American process of purchasing beef directly from the producer. PARADIGM shift. NEW BUSINESS MODEL. CRAFT BUTCHERY!!!!! .... It's going to be ok. Sharing ignites the fire. Thank you."

Arizona dairy farmers forced to dump milk during coronavirus pandemic, The Coronavirus pandemic has taken a huge toll on Arizona’s Dairy industry. The sudden closure of restaurants, schools, and other businesses throughout the U.S. has reduced the demand for dairy products, forcing farmers to dump millions of pounds of milk and cream a day. April 13, 2020, Fox News.

Dairy farmers dumping milk worldwide are on the brink of crisis, Arizona Daily Sun, Jul 2, 2020.

Namibian beef imports now in the US. South-African country (whose northern area has FMD) is now licensed to sell chilled and frozen beef products into America. Alan Newport | Apr 30, 2020 | FarmProgress.com. Meat from Nambia, South Africa arrived yesterday but ranchers are being told to destroy cattle. Crops tilled under, milk dumped, chickens euthanized and more.

USDA confirms approval of Chinese chicken By Bill Tomson, agri-pulse.com, 11/07/19. China now allowed to certify slaughter and processing facilities there to export chicken to the U.S. See more here.

African and Brazilian beef imports are deliberate attempt to destabilize U.S. cattle industry The Fence Post Ag News | February 25, 2020, an R-Calf USA report. BILLINGS, Mont. — R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard said that the Agriculture Secretary's opening the U.S. market to fresh beef imports from Brazil and Namibia, Africa, are deliberate attempts by both the government and multinational beef packers to destabilize the U.S. cattle industry. Bullard explained that the meatpackers and the secretary are working aggressively to force cattle producers to comply with unnecessary mandates that will facilitate the vertical integration of the live cattle supply chain. He cites the secretary's recent and unlawful mandate to require producers to begin using RFID technology and to register their premises with the government.

Who's behind the Chinese takeover of world's largest pork producer? PBS NewsHour, Sep 12, 2014. Smithfield Foods, the world's largest pork producer, was acquired by a Chinese firm (supported & financed by the Chinese government bank) in 2013 for nearly $5 billion -- 30% more than the company's actual market value.

A new lawsuit accuses the “Big Four” beef packers of conspiring to fix cattle prices. by Joe Fassler, 04.23.2019. The plaintiffs, a group of feedlot operators, say companies like JBS and Tyson Foods illegally plotted to use various means—including strategic plant closures—to force desperate ranchers into selling their animals more cheaply.

KNOW YOUR LIVESTOCK ~ Resources for cattle farmers & ranchers:

National Council of Farmer Cooperatives covid-19 response

Benjamin R Lynn, Australian Galloway Beef Producer

KNOW YOUR FARMER ~ Helping Consumers Find Locally Raised, Healthy Beef:

Pastured Meat Producers are Facing Catastrophic Losses. Support Your Local Farmer. These Efforts Could Help Them Weather the Pandemic. Community-based initiatives have sprung up to support independent livestock producers shift to new markets. "Thank you for being a loyal reader. We are offering new membership levels to better support you in these challenging times, to offer more flexibility in how you support Civil Eats. No one will be turned away for lack of funds, so please email info-at-civileats.com if these options are beyond your budget." Civil Eats. Food & Policy. Farming. Health. Environment.

LIST of OK cattlemen who sell direct

Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association (above) is compiling a list of members selling beef direct-to-consumer — selling beef direct to the consumer is not a new idea, but it has definitely gained popularity during the recent disruption in the meat supply chain due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Wednesday, April 29, 2020, by Jamison Faught.

USDA's Local Food Directories help you locate farmers markets, on-farm markets, CSAs, and food hubs.

Local Food Marketplace [localfoodmarketplace.com] ~ Connecting Ranchers, Farmers & Processors to Consumers. An online marketplace with Farmer Market type producer biographies, listings and product classifieds for current offerings. Rock bottom prices and you update your listings and ads. Consumers: The place to shop online to find local farmers, artisans, and food producers.

Your Food Connection ~ Connecting Ranchers, Farmers & Processors to Consumers. A website directory to to list your produce, and to find your local food producers.

Livestock’s Contributions to Climate Change: Facts and Fiction. A white paper, defining the role animal agriculture and other sectors of society play in their respective contribution of greenhouse gases, as the societal concerns grow to seek a sustainable global future. Frank Mitloehner, Professor & Air Quality Specialist Department of Animal Science, University of California, Davis.

KNOW YOUR FOOD ~ Resources for Consumers About Food HEALTH & SAFETY:

Why Your 'Product Of U.S.A.' Steak May Not Actually Be From A Cow Raised On American Soil: "American shoppers face yet another dilemma in the grocery store aisle. According to a petition submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) by the Organization for Competitive Markets and the American Grassfed Association, not all meat labeled “Product of U.S.A.” is actually from animals raised within U.S. borders. It is “deceptive and misleading,” says the advocacy organizations in the document. They state that due to an ambiguity in the language in a regulatory policy, imported meat that is processed in a USDA-inspected facility is being labeled “Product of U.S.A.” despite the fact that the animal source was born, raised and slaughtered in another country." By Nicole Rasul, (who writes about the makers and shakers in our food system.) Aug 29, 2018; Forbes.com

Wise Traditions Diet ~ 50% Pledge: Spend at least 50% of your food$ on direct purchases from local ranchers, farmers & artisans. Weston Price website.

Raw Milk Use and Safety Fact Sheet. Authors: Center for Rural Affairs, Martin Kleinschmit, Hartington, Nebraska Northeast Nebraska RC&D, Plainview, Nebraska Holistic Management® Certified Educator, Terry Gompert, Center, Nebraska, 2007. PURPOSE: This fact sheet is prepared to educate both the consumer and producer on facts about raw milk. Raw milk sales are legal in over half the states (rules vary state by state). Most of the raw milk purchased in the U.S. is done so legally at the dairy farm. Check with the Department of Agriculture in the state you live for specific rules. As with other foods, milk may cause allergies in some people. Consulting a nutritionist, medical personnel, and other food experts would be well advised here. Producers and marketers of raw milk need to know the liabilities. Raw Milk Benefits Skin, Allergies & Immunity. This content is strictly the opinion of Dr. Josh Axe, and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician.

The Sickness in Our Food Supply. Michael Pollan, The New York Review of Books, June 11, 2020 Issue. "The very system that made possible the bounty of the American supermarket suddenly seems questionable."

A Message from Savory Institute: How COVID is Reinventing Supply Chains. You've probably heard that COVID-19 has put supply chains through a serious stress test lately, especially for food. Meat shortages, dairy being dumped, animals being euthanized, outbreaks at meatpacking plants… all while shelves are going empty and grocery chains are limiting meat purchases. These are all unfortunate occurrences, and all symptoms of large, centralized supply chains that rely on cheap labor, high volumes, little competition, resource extraction, and massive amounts of highly specialized infrastructure to stay afloat. But that's not the end of the story. While the old guard has been showing their brittleness, the local decentralized systems have, in many cases, been thriving. With fewer moving pieces and an ability to quickly adapt to changing conditions, decentralized, modular supply chains (or as we like to refer to them, "supply webs") have been more resilient against shocks to the system whether they be drought, recession, or pandemic. The time is now to support these regionally-appropriate, value-adding entities. They tend to be family-owned and work directly with their suppliers, local farmers. They maintain the craft or artistry of their trade, paying close attention to detail. And they employ local workers long-term, support their broader community in innumerable ways. When the public leads by example, demonstrating the values they want to see in society expressed through their actions and purchases, the markets listen. Companies of all sizes, from small mom-and-pop shops to large multi-national brands, are now exploring new models, collaborating with one another, and investing in real change. We ask you, at this critical time in history, to continue to patronize your local farmers. Buy direct when possible, regional when you can't. Purchase clothing that will last and food that will nourish. By purchasing with intention, you send the market signals that land, animals, and people are not commodities to be extracted from, but rather living beings to be cared for and supported. Don't stand by idly and blindly "consume." Together, we can bring the change our world so desperately needs. "Savory Institute" [Ruminations - Vol. 17] May 28, 2020.


empty shelvesBelow: Here is an interesting excerpt from a public post on Facebook that discusses what direct marketing is all about from the consumer's point of view:
        “We went shopping today to collect our odds and ends we needed for the month. We walked past the meat section in this store and not only realized the scarcity of the meat selection, but how expensive the meat is now. We continued on shopping and once we came back home we did some research. There is an article titled "Yes, There Is Less Meat In Grocery Stores Because Of The Coronavirus. Yes, You're Going To Pay More." That caught our attention. The article states and I quote, "The viral infection and subsequent closures (of processing plants) are straining the supply of meat to market. Beef production is down 25% and pork has declined 15% from a year ago, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture." Like I stated before and even in the article noted above, the price is almost double what it was about a week ago. What is the point I am trying to make?
        The point I am trying to make is that if you buy locally from a grass fed farm or you raise your own meat, you know what exactly is going into the animal. Compared to the processing plants where the animal may be laying on it's own manure jammed packed in one stall waiting to get butchered. We are all about locally sourced food. We would rather spend close to $1000 for a year's worth of grass-fed meat than buy meat from a supermarket ever again. Yes, that may be a lot of money for some families but we know that we will have enough meat to last, our family of four, for a year... We buy only grass pork and beef from local farms. But not only that, we go and see the farm, meet the owners, and see how the animals are living. That's how we know we are receiving healthy grass-fed raised meat compared to the stuff you buy in the supermarket.” ~ May 3, 2020


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©published online May 2020 by Vintage Press, LLC.