This year we started marketing our own beef. We had thought about this for years but this year we finally made the plunge. Eight calves were saved back and processed at a local locker plant. In marketing the beef I discovered something I had been missing.
Part of our marketing is that we make deliveries and in doing so I got to know my customers better. I found that connecting with the people who are buying my beef is very rewarding and something all of us in agriculture should do.
This gave me the chance to talk to my customers about how we raise our cattle. I had the opportunity to tell them that we use antibiotics only when absolutely necessary and only in the prescribed amount. I assured them that we followed all withdrawal times and they believed me because they got to know me.
I discussed our low-stress livestock handling techniques with them. I told them about the vaccination and nutrition programs we have for our cattle. I want my customers (and everyone else) to know that we do all we can for our cattle to keep them healthy, stress-free and comfortable.
This made me realize that as a rancher it is my responsibility to get to know my customer. As I get to know my customer, they also get to know me. As we communicate it gives them a chance to understand why we do what we do. Communication gives me a chance counter-act misconceptions and provide my customer the true picture of where their beef comes from.