Ag Survey Shows Interest in New Beef Opportunities

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

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A recent survey to area farmers was the first step in assessing local interest in bringing more vertically integrated livestock opportunities to south-central Nebraska.

“This study serves as the opening of a conversation with regional livestock producers, or those wanting to enter that area, to determine the level of interest in diversification and new trends emerging in the business,” said Phelps County Development Corporation Executive Director Ron Tillery.

With vertically integrated livestock programs, there is an already established customer, such as the Costco poultry operation in Fremont. 

“The ability to deliver a very specific product is enhanced, and a lot of risk is removed from the process,” Tillery said. “There is nowhere else in the country better situated than Central Nebraska to blend the expertise of farmers, production environment and logistics connectivity. Our region is poised to see more investment, and this study helps us get better prepared.”

PCDC partnered with at AgWest Commodities, AFAN (Alliance for the Future of Ag in Nebraska) and NPPD on the survey, which was emailed to 171 AgWest customers in September.

The study resulted in the following data:

  • Producers from 15 Nebraska counties participated in the survey with the majority being from Phelps County. Of the respondents, 49% own livestock.
  • The most popular livestock species that producers were interested in learning about was beef cattle, followed by hogs and poultry.
  • Of those who were interested in at least one livestock production opportunity, owner-operated opportunities was the most popular option followed by contract production and then the investor option.

Tillery said although the sampling was small, “this study helps us understand what farmers are thinking now with the information they have.”

The next step, Tillery said, will be to analyze the results and devise a strategy to leverage existing capacity to support vertically integrated livestock operations.

“Economic development works best when we build on our market's strengths,” Tillery said.

 “PCDC has targeted further processing of locally grown commodities to complement its economic development efforts,” Tillery said. “By adding value to the commodities grown here, we can strengthen the overall economy. Phelps County is the epicenter of the nation's breadbasket, or in this case the ‘beef basket,’ so we're a natural place to build upon those strengths.”

 “Livestock farming is certainly something that Phelps County and Central Nebraska do very well, and we want to remain on the cutting edge of agriculture related production,” Tillery concluded.

To comment or learn more about vertically integrated ag opportunities, please contact Ron Tillery at Ron@PhelpsCountyNE.com or call at (308) 995-4148.

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