Successful direct-marketing of beef in Missouri

  • Published: Wednesday, March 3, 2021

A new resource is available through MU Extension to help farmers direct-market beef to consumers in Missouri. “Successfully Direct Marketing Beef” provides guidance to producers on a variety of critical topics related to selling beef through direct channels.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers were increasingly turning to local farmers to purchase beef products directly. Studies show consumer demand is driven by different motivations and buying habits. Most consumers are looking for a high-quality product and a connection with where their food is coming from. Some are interested in farm practices, and desire an honest relationship with the farmer who allows them to ask questions and purchase their favorite cuts of meat.

For farmers, direct-marketing of their products is one of the best opportunities to successfully expand their farm businesses. However, marketing and selling beef products directly to consumers can be intimidating. What products will sell the best, and how should pricing be set? Expertise in marketing, production and financial management is needed. Managing inventory to be able to provide both low and high value cuts is a key to success. Processing of beef products may also cause challenges. Farmers may struggle finding appropriate processing facilities with the services, inspection status, and other attributes to handle beef products safely, legally, and to customer specifications.

David Middleton, the author of the publication “Successfully Direct Marketing Beef,” is a long-time southwest Missouri farmer and educator with Lincoln University Cooperative Extension in Jefferson City. The publication, released in February 2021, covers a comprehensive list of topics such as advantages and disadvantages of direct marketing a live beef vs. beef on the rail, pricing, USDA definitions, processing, labelling, customer Frequently Asked Questions, a glossary, Missouri specific resources and more. “The purpose behind writing this e-book was two-fold. First, it is meant to give real world information to cattle producers on direct marketing from someone who does it. Second, it is meant to help consumers better understand what to expect when purchasing direct from growers; understand proper storage; and terminology," Middleton said.

To access the free publication, go to the MU Extension website at: and type “Successfully Direct Marketing Beef” in the search bar.

University of Missouri Extension programs focus on the high-priority needs of Missourians to improve lives, communities and economies by providing relevant, responsive and reliable educational solutions. MU Extension programs are open to all. More information on this topic is available online at

Writer: Pamela Duitsman

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