November 7, 1999 | By: Mark Eclov
Lexington, KY

There could be some good money in marketing small groups of livestock to local Kentucky processors and retailers or even directly to consumers. A series of regional meetings on that topic are planned for late November through mid-December of 1999 in various spots around the state.

The primary goal of these meetings is to link livestock producers with local processors and retailers and to explain the details involved in local marketing strategy.

"The biggest thing is getting these people to talk to each other," said Benji Mikel, Extension meats specialist in the UK College of Agriculture. "Farmers and retailers get ingrained in traditional ways of selling and buying their products. We think that there could be a much bigger demand for locally produced products."

The meetings will include a comprehensive look at the work involved in marketing new products. Guest speakers addressing this issue will include producers who have already done some direct marketing and are aware of the pitfalls and advantages of local processing and selling to local businesses.

"Local marketing is not a cake walk," noted Mikel. "Producers must put in some time to identify and then cultivate their local markets. These meetings will address many of the steps necessary to make this type of strategy work."

The meetings are being coordinated by Extension specialists from the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture and representatives of the Safe Marketing of Meat through Research and Technology (SMART) group which is comprised of people from academia, state government and interested producers, processors and retailers.

A USDA grant obtained by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture is funding the meetings and portions of the training materials.

There will be additional training for producers who do find potential local markets.

The UK College of Agriculture Extension specialists and animal scientists will help process the first round of livestock sold by a producer. They will also demonstrate marketing techniques like packaging and advertising strategies that may enhance sales.

"Our basic goal is to show a producer how they can make more money on individual animals using this type of local marketing strategy, " said Mikel. "We are not looking at supplying regional or national markets. This is strictly a local concept and in some instances we may see direct marketing to the consumer with the help of a local processor."

One meeting to test the interest of such a concept has been held. Four additional meetings are being planned for various locations around Kentucky. Interested livestock producers are urged to check with their local Cooperative Extension service agent for additional details.


Writer: Mark Eclov (606) 257-7223
Benji Mikel (606) 257-7550