Producers Need to Tell Their Stories
Direct consumer marketing could be the future of the purebred industry.
One of the most important duties of the purebred cattle producer in the coming years will be to effectively communicate with consumers, said Bill Rishel of Rishel Angus, North Platte, Nebraska. Rishel spoke at the Young Producers Symposium at the virtual Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) symposium on June 8.
Rishel said purebred producers need to do more than in the past in terms of connecting directly with consumers, specifically about their operations and why they chose this way of life.
“It is paramount that all of us in the production segment of the beef industry deliver a unified message to consumers,” Rishel said. “There truly is no protein, animal or otherwise, that is more natural than beef.”
While there are several avenues to accomplish this, Rishel said one way he sees becoming more prevalent is direct marketing beef from the producer to the table. He noted he has seen several young producers begin selling their own meat from their cow-calf operations, and he believes consumers will buy into this business.
The bigger picture behind this type of business, Rishel said, is the goal of all producers trying to create a better relationship with consumers in order to tell producers’ stories.
“I think it’s imperative for the sustainability of our industry two decades from now that we have that communication level,” Rishel said. “Having a product direct from producers to the consumer is about as good as it gets.”
Another message crucial to the future of the beef industry is the value cattle have to offer to both the environment and society, Rishel said. Cattle can be used to harvest roughage on land otherwise unsuitable for farming — and still produce one of the most nutritious protein sources in the world.
These facts about the sustainability of the beef cattle industry can be used to inform consumers about some of their areas of concern and show the producers’ environmental conciousness, Rishel said.
“Many of our consumers, even the ones that really love beef, want to know that we are doing the right things for the environment and sustainability of our natural resources,” Rishel said.
Though he recognized most producers have always been good stewards of the land, Rishel said being able to document the ways producers work to improve environmental practices is the next big change in the beef industry.
Although there will be many challenges facing the purebred cattle industry in the next 20 years, Rishel said he believes the young producers entering the industry today have the ability to conquer whatever they may face.
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