Mac Young, AgriLife Extension economist, said beef producers traditionally have marketing options such as a sale barn, private treaty or value-added.

“Grass-fed is value-added,” he told attendees. “Direct sales to consumers, suppliers or both? You need to identify your goal and above all, you’ve got to have a plan.”

Young said it is important for grass-fed producers to plan out what they are trying to do with their operation and what they want to accomplish.

“Any new venture is risky, and any change to your existing operation is risky,” he said.

Young said producers should consider if they have enough capital to enter or expand into the grass-fed business. Sustainability and profitability are other important issues to consider.

“You need to project out and see if you are going to have enough to cover all of your costs,” he said. “Review the resources you have with regards to capital, labor, herd numbers and forage. You need to also ask will you have enough volume to cover your expenses?”

Gene Sollock from Iola has been in the grass-fed beef business for 15 years. His operation consists of 91 acres, and he sells his grass-fed cattle to a buyer from Burton, who “has them sold over the telephone before they are finished out.”

“We are growing them out to about 800 to 900 pounds,” said Sollock, who receives payment based on dressed, hanging weight.