Country Natural Beef started with 14 ranching families marketing 200 head of natural beef cattle in 1987. In recent years, the cooperative has nearly 100 member ranches in multiple states that raise more than 100,000 brood cows, manage more than 6 million acres of land and sell almost $50 million of products.This rancher cooperative is consumer driven, producer controlled, helps ranching families retain “every possible bit of independence,” keeps administrative costs to a bare minimum, pays operating costs from a percentage of producers’ revenue instead of borrowing operating funds and sets stable prices based on production costs, a return on investment and a reasonable profit.
These publications are part of a series of case studies and Research Briefs examining values-based food supply chains—strategic business alliances formed between primarily midsize farms/ranches and their supply chain partners. Values-based food supply chains distribute significant volumes of high-quality, differentiated food products and share the rewards equitably. Farmers and ranchers function as strategic partners rather than easily replaced input suppliers. All participants in these business alliances recognize that creating maximum value for the product depends on significant interdependence, collaboration and mutual support. These supply chains attach importance to both the values embedded in the production of the food products AND the values that characterize the business relationships.