Tips for Sellers of Beefalo and Bison Hybrids
Know the Value of Your Beefalo/Bison Hybrids
This is probably the hardest part of selling your animals. It is crucial that you value these animals correctly. Not only will it affect you and your business, but it also impacts all other Beefalo and Bison Hybrid producers!
Beefalo and Bison Hybrids are NOT beef cattle; are NOT bison; they are somewhere in between and closer to bison than to beef!
The USDA, after testing the nutritional qualities of Beefalo meat, determined that it was significantly different from regular beef and as a result, gave it a separate Roll Stamp.
The bison meat trade has seen tremendous growth and demand in the past few years and currently young bison breeding stock is selling for $1,000 for 300# calves up to $2,500 or more for two-year-old heifers weighing 750#. Bison meat animals are currently selling at prices over $4.00 per lb. hanging weight. The USDA puts out a monthly report on the U.S. wholesale prices for the various cuts of bison meat in one of its Market News Reports (mnreports). We are providing the link to this monthly report so that you can get a better idea of the price range of wholesale bison so you can better value your beefalo meat. That link is: www.ams.usda.gov/mnreports/nw_ls526.txt
Beyond understanding the market value (what you can sell your animal for) of your Beefalo or Bison Hybrids, you also need to understand what the net cost or expense of the animal is. That cost is not just the cost of the feed in the animal. Each animal on your operation has to bear part of the overhead expenses of the operation, including land rent or mortgage and interest payments, utilities, farm supplies, property taxes, fuel, insurances, equipment costs, repairs and maintenance, and a fair hourly rate for your time. The goal is to sell your animals at an amount that will more than cover all of your costs resulting in a profit.
Not sure you can get "better than beef" prices where you live? You won't know until you try it. Yes, you may turn away some customers, but there will be others that recognize the value of these animals and are willing to pay a higher price. Experts suggest that unless you are turning away 10% of the people who come to you, you are pricing your product too low. It's important that you understand and educate the buyer on the value of your Beefalo and Bison Hybrid breeding stock and meat animals. (In the near future, we will be including a page on Direct Marketing Ideas. Check back with us to learn more!)
Pick your very best animals as breeding stock
The future of the Beefalo trade depends on producers having the very best genetics and breeding stock. Look through your entire herd and select only the best animals to sell as breeding stock. Traits to consider are confirmation and muscling, disposition, calving ease, ability to maintain condition, and rate of growth based on the type of feed they are given.
Each producer is different, and each producer's animals are different, depending on many factors including the part of the country in which they are raised. Animals that do well in the northern regions may not fair as well in southern climates. A producer who has been breeding for animals that do well on grass, may not want to consider animals from a producer who has been breeding for animals that do well on full grain feed.
Selling Beefalo meat animals
In order to keep a breed going, there needs to be a market for the meat. No breed can exist solely by selling breeding stock. When it comes to beefalo meat and bison hybrid meat, educate your customers to the health value of the meat. Let them know how similar it is to bison meat and let them know that it is not "gamey" in taste. If you are new to marketing your beefalo meat, do not sell it at a "lower than or equal to beef" price, just to get new customers. You will never be able to get its full value if you start on the low end of the scale. The price of beefalo meat should be more closely aligned to that of bison meat, at both the retail and wholesale level.
For producers living close to large cities, you will have more opportunities to sell your meat than a producer who is in a very rural location. But for those producers in rural areas, don't think you can't get a fair price or that there is no market for beefalo meat. There are producers throughout the U.S. that have a good demand for beefalo meat but who just can't raise enough or find enough animals to fill that demand. There are also retail markets and wholesale markets that are looking to buy beefalo meat animals. (One of the goals of this website is to connect buyers with sellers so that no Beefalo or Bison Hybrid producer will ever have to take his animals to a sale barn and sell it at beef cattle prices if he doesn't choose to.)
Be Honest with Your Customers
For some old-timers who have been raising Beefalo since the 1970's & 1980's, you might remember an event that changed the course of the Beefalo Breed. A promoter/producer of the breed, got lots of publicity and cattlemen all over the country began purchasing breeding stock and semen in large numbers. The market was HOT! This promoter also opened a chain of Beefalo meat stores and sold his beefalo meat through them. The demand soared and he found himself without a steady supply, so he substituted regular beef - And he got caught! He lost all creditability, the Beefalo Breed suffered greatly for his mistake, and many producers found themselves with animals that people didn't believe were what they were said to be. Producers and consumers both turned away from Beefalo.
Moral of the story - you need to be honest with your customers, both those buying breeding stock and those buying meat animals. Keep accurate records of your animals and know what percentage bison content they have! It is best to also be honest as to how you are raising your breeding stock and meat animals. There are some people who only want pasture-raised, 100% grass-fed animals, just as there are some people who don't care how they are raised and what they are fed. If they ask, be honest.
It is better to loose that one sale because what you have is not what one person wants, than to loose your reputation (and lots of future sales) if you mislead someone and they then tell lots of people about your deception via the worldwideweb!
MeyerBeefalo & Bison Hybrid Farm