Why Produce Grass Fed?
Our effort to produce and market Grass Fed cattle is ultimately very simple: We want to stay in the ranching business for generations to come. With this in mind, here are some reasons for this adaptation.
Capitalize on Stewardship and Quality
One thing the commodity market is not able to do, at least not very effectively, is to reward producers for the quality of their product or their particular management practices. Two 600 lb steers of completely different breeding will likely bring the same price/lb regardless of significant differences in meat quality, yield, disposition, etc. Similar cattle from different ranches bring the same dollar from commodity cattle buyers regardless of whether one of the ranches spent time and money to protect against soil erosion while the other completely neglected such concerns.
With a niche product like Mannix Family Grass Finished beef, we are empowered as producers to share the “story” of our land stewardship practices, our animal husbandry, etc., with the consumer. Maintaining strong connections with the consumers of our beef enables us to improve our product, and build mutual relationships of trust with people who care about the details of what we do for a living.
Any producer of food who sells her product as a commodity knows what it means to be vulnerable to the fluctuation of market prices according to supply and demand. When there is only one market for your product, you are a “price taker,” and are dependent on the whim of the market. For the Mannix family, we value stability and security, and do not like being too dependent on any one thing, especially when it is beyond our control as producers. Raising a niche product like Grass Fed beef and building our own market for it is therefore one way of insulating ourselves from the risk of market fluctuation by becoming a “price maker”. Ranchers are notorious for protecting their independence, and niche production affords the producer at least some say in the matter of what his product is worth.