Paul Dietmann, a senior lending officer for Compeer Financial, provides a few suggestions to farmers thinking of marketing grass-fed beef or other grass-fed meat directly to consumers.
- Be sure capacity is available at a meat-processing facility that caters to direct-marketers and is a reasonable distance from the farm. A producer can’t sell beef if he or she can’t find processing.
- Develop enterprise budgets and cash-flow projections. Consider how many animals can be raised, be processed, and be sold each year through a preferred marketing channel. Consider whether enough cash flow can be generated to adequately compensate for the producer’s time.
- If the preferred marketing will limit cash-flow potential or not allow a producer to raise as many animals as he or she would like, consider selling through the Wisconsin Grass-fed Beef Cooperative or another aggregator.
- If a producer is just starting a beef operation or is planning to expand, he or she should consider renting pasture on a long-term lease rather than buying – even if there’s a need to invest in fencing, watering systems or other improvements.