The Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association helps consumers connect with ranchers
Saskatchewan ranchers now have more opportunities to reach consumers, thanks to the launch of a new online directory.
On May 7, the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association (SSGA) launched its Ranch Direct Beef Listing. Ranchers can opt to participate in the directory in order to increase their visibility among consumers looking for local beef.
“With all the disruption in the value chain, we were receiving calls from consumers looking for ways to connect with ranchers. Sometimes, it's hard for consumers to find ranchers who are in the business of selling freezer beef,” said Chad MacPherson, the general manager of SSGA.
The listing is for SSGA members, but any rancher can become a member of the organization, said MacPherson.
We wanted “to add values to our members and help them have another opportunity to market their product during uncertain times as a result of COVID-19. There's no shortage of beef, there's just challenges within the value chain,” MacPherson told Farms.com. “It's an opportunity to help ranchers during these difficult times and add value to being a member of SSGA.”
One SSGA member who chose to participate in the listing is Tara Davidson, who farms with her husband Ross near Ponteix, Sask.
“I feel like it's a good opportunity for ranchers to market direct to consumers. This is a nice time for us to be able to put product directly into consumers’ hands, build that relationship and be able to put a face to their food,” Davidson told Farms.com.
Her family runs purebred and commercial Gelbvieh cattle and has sold freezer beef to consumers for 15 years.
“It's nice to showcase to shoppers that we have a lot of farmers who are doing this and we're not just in it for this one market blip. We've been doing this for a long time. We'll be doing it next year; we'll be doing it another 15 years from now,” said Davidson.
“So, having an established list for consumers to go to and find someone they can become familiar with purchasing beef from – I think that's great for the industry and for consumers as well.”
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Canada, ranchers – including Davidson – who sell beef directly to the consumer are very busy.
“We've had to book far in advance with our local butcher because they are all of the sudden very busy. Everybody is trying to sell beef and book space so that’s been a bit of a challenge. But we work with really good local butchers. We've been really happy with our service there,” said Davidson.
While the sale of beef is steady now, the hard part is not knowing where the demand will be in the future, she said.
“You can't just fatten an animal overnight so there's always the time consideration. Just because I've got demand now, if I keep a few extra animals back, will there still be demand in four weeks or eight weeks when they are ready to go? That's a bit of a challenge,” Davidson explained.
However, the SSGA will continue to run its online listing to give consumers options when choosing where to purchase beef.
“We produce the highest-quality product that we can so our families can enjoy it. It's nice to be able to share (beef) with other shoppers so they can enjoy it with their families too,” said Davidson.