The Wisconsin Grass-fed Beef Co-op is growing by leaps and bounds. Since selling its first beef in January 2009, the Co-op has marketed more than 150 head and is looking to add new producer members with cattle ready for immediate sale.
"The growth has exceeded our expectations," said Co-op President Bob Van De Boom. "In spite of the economic downturn, interest in our product is high."
The co-op, which markets its fresh beef products under the Wisconsin Meadows brand name, is seeing steady growth in the restaurant, retail and institutional food service markets. Although the majority of its sales are in the southern 1/3 of the state, the co-op's 54 members live all over the state and the coop is planning on expanding its sales territory to the north if the cattle supply can support the increased volume. The co-op has also recently crossed the border into Minnesota with sales at one retail outlet.
To sell cattle through the co-op, producers must follow strict protocol requirements including a forage only diet, no antibiotics or growth hormones, and a targeted rate of daily gain to name a few. Cattle must also be born and raised in Wisconsin. In return, the goal of the co-op is to provide the producer with a premium pay price that doesn't fluctuate with the conventional market. "We've positioned our beef as a premium product and we receive a premium price for it," said Van De Boom.
The Wisconsin Grass-fed Beef Coop is a farmer-owned company. To become a member, producers must purchase a share of common stock and follow the production protocols. For more information about the Wisconsin Grass-fed Beef Coop, visit www.wisconsingrassfed.coop or contact membership coordinator, Bob Brandt at 715-965-2092.