MeyerBeefalo & Bison Hybrid Farm
Marketing Beefalo - Maintaining A Consistent Supply
Another hurdle that the Bison industry faced was an inconsistent supply of meat. When processors and breeders were paying producers premium prices for their animals, interest in the breed soared. Everyone was paying thousands of dollars for a single bison. No matter how attractive the meat prices were, if they sold their animals as meat, they would be taking a loss based on what they had purchased them for. The goal is to maintain a steady supply of both meat and breeding stock animals and at reasonable prices for both.
As interest is being established, you need to establish a sustainable supply of meat. Whether you are direct marketing from your farm site, selling by quarters or halves with pickup at your butcher shop, or selling to specialty markets, farmers markets or restaurants, it is critical to maintain a supply of Beefalo meat at all times. This will require planning ahead. Look over your herd. Calculate how many animals you can sell over the next 12 months. Then calculate how many animals you will have to sell over the following 12-month period based on your current herd size. Always look forward 2 – 3 years. As an example, if in the current year you have 10 animals to sell as meat, you should plan on having at least 12-13 animals for the following year. Plan to increase the number of meat animals you sell each year by at least 25%. If it appears that you won’t have more animals to sell in year #2, then you will need to seek out and purchase a sufficient number to meet that goal. Buy them ahead of time so that they are on your property and under your feeding protocol for at least 6 months before they are to be butchered. (See Supply Quality for more information on this subject.)
It is always better to have more animals on hand and not sell them than to run out of animals and have to turn customers away. The goal is to retain your customers by maintaining a consistent meat supply. And don’t forget your fellow Beefalo producers – if you find yourself with a few extra animals that you can’t sell as meat, contact other Beefalo producers to see if they are in need of a few extra animals. Taking your Beefalo to an auction barn and selling as a regular beef animal should be the last resort.