Page 2: Is Multi-Species Processing Feasible?

Farmers, ranchers, farm groups and government agencies are invited to participate in market research to determine the feasibility of constructing a multi-species processing facility. This USDA-inspected plant would process pasture-raised beef, pork and poultry to be sold under the Raised Free brand through selected grocery stores, restaurants and institutions in Omaha, Kansas City and Des Moines.

A similar facility has been designed for the Ann Arbor, Michigan area. A “Conceptual Process Narrative” is available.   

Project Funding and Oversight

This professionally managed research project will be funded by grants from individuals, organizations and government agencies with interests in rural economic development, regenerative agriculture and consumer health. The results will be presented during public meetings in the region.

Farmers and ranchers will lead the Project Oversight Committee. This committee will select research consultants and approve the research design, budget and schedule.

Regional Marketing Cooperative

If the research results are positive, a producer controlled marketing cooperative will be organized. It will purchase livestock from local production co-ops at prevailing market prices, plus dividends based on profits earned by Raised Free.

A preliminary research design is outlined below.

Task I: Definition of Terms

The first task will define terms, including free-range, pasture-based, organic, regenerative and others. The objective is a standard set of production methods with written descriptions that can be easily understood by consumers and verified across the supply chain. 

Task II: Current Sales and Sources

With Task I definitions in hand, feeders, packers, brokers, dealers and retailers will be asked to describe the sources and estimate the current volume and dollar value of similar products sold in the region. Some price information is available through the USDA’s National Monthly Grass Fed Beef Report.

Task III: Regional Supply Analysis

Producers and processors in the region will be invited to informal meetings to discuss the need for a regional approach to marketing and processing meat and poultry from pasture-based (regenerative) production systems. Discussion topics will include the sources of livestock and poultry for the market test, along with organization and financing of local production cooperatives that will supply the proposed processing facility.

Task IV: Consumer Demand Analysis

Consumers will be invited to participate in surveys, focus groups and tastings. To the extent possible, beef, pork and poultry samples will be purchased from area producers. Participants will be asked for their opinions of the taste, price and benefits of regionally produced and processed meat and poultry raised according to standards developed in Task I.

Please contact me for more information. Thank you.

Jim Steffen

Posted 06-13-2019, Revised 01/13/2020