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I am new to the beef business but have been marketing Christmas trees and
Vt. for some time. We have a large advantage in our State in that we have a
large tourist market. This in my opinion is the underlying strength of the
"niche market" and presents a great potential for the direct marketing of
beef and other products. In my experience the folks that visit Vermont like
to buy here, especially Vermont products. Being new to the beef end of
things I lack ideas as to how best to capitalize on this potential but I'm
sure some of the others on the list have good thoughts on this.
Al;so I agree with Monty, we have great grass here. That's one reason I'm
changing from Christmas Trees to beef +. I've been killing and mowing the
stuff for so long and would rather watch it being enjoyed by an appreciative
animal.

Rod Hewitt
----- Original Message -----
From: John Winder <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, October 13, 2000 9:04 AM
Subject: Fwd: Re: questions


> Monty makes some very good points.  Both Monty and I have roots in the
west
> where one of the greatest difficulties has been the inability (or
> unwillingness) of producers to work together.  My first impressions of the
> beef industry in Vermont give me reason for optimism.   There seems to be
a
> desire to build something for the collective good.    Because farms are
> relatively small, cooperation will be a necessity if the beef industry is
> going to expand and develop.
>
> Independent niche markets (mostly on-farm sales to consumers) have sprung
> up across the state for various agricultural products (including
> beef).  These markets represent a significant advantage in profit over
> traditional outlets.  I estimate that these markets return up to 25-30%
> more per animal than traditional commodity sales.  My question to the
group
> is: Do we want to develop into an industry composed of small niche markets
> or do we want to pursue the efficiencies associated with a collective
> effort?  If so, what form should a collective effort take?  Also, can we
> maintain the margins associated with niche markets in a collective effort?
>
> John Winder
>
> >Date:         Thu, 12 Oct 2000 21:30:08 -0400
> >X-PH: [log in to unmask]
> >From: Monty Adams <[log in to unmask]>
> >Subject:      Re: questions
> >To: [log in to unmask], John Winder <[log in to unmask]>
> >
> >On Tue, 10 Oct 2000 11:38:27 -0400, John Winder <[log in to unmask]>
wrote:
> >
> > >Now that we have several people on the list, let me submit two basic
> > >questions for you to consider.
> > >
> > >1) What is (are) the most limiting factor(s) to the success of the beef
> > >industry in the state?  By "most limiting" I mean things that keep the
> > >industry from reaching its collective goals.
> > >
> > >2)  What is (are) the most limiting factor(s) to you as an individual
> > >producer?   What are the most critical factors that keep you as
producers
> > >from reaching your goals?
> >
> >John,
> >It was a pleasure meeting you at the grass short course in September.
> >       In response to your questions, I believe the greatest threat to
the
> >expansion of the beef industry in Vermont, is the same as in other
states.
> >We as an industry are individualists to the extreme. We have a hard time
> >accepting a collective effort and continue to want to go it alone. We
might
> >socialize in the company of other beef people, but we don't want anyone
> >interfering with our business. In this we create a dilemma, too proud to
> >accept the advice or help of others, even if it costs us our business.
> >      I think that we need to address this before any cooperative effort
> >will be achieved.
> >      I have worked closely with cooperatives in the past and they do
work,
> >from marketing associations to giants like Farmland Industries. At this
> >point in time, our greatest asset is our collective strength in numbers.
In-
> >order to make our voice heard, we have to be firmly committed to the
> >industry, with everone taking part.
> >      I have been in Vermont for one year now and am amazed by the
culture,
> >the people and most of all, with the grass. With grazing like this there
> >isn't any reason we can't build a leading beef industry.
> >      Thanks for putting this together.
> >Monty