Market for quality discussed at meat meeting |

Market for quality discussed at meat meeting

by Sharlene Irete

People are willing to pay more for premium meat if they know where it comes from, according to the results of a two-year survey conducted by the University of Nevada, Reno.

“People want more information about the food they have,” said UNR agriculture economist Kynda Curtis. “They have more concern because they have less control over the production of their food. They are willing to pay more if they know the origins of their food.”

The production of meat was one of the topics discussed in a workshop attended by about 25 ranchers at Corley Ranch on Friday. Also discussed was the feasibility of a central meat processing plant in Silver Springs and mobile slaughtering units.

Clarence Burr, fourth-generation owner of Heise Land and Cattle in Gardnerville, said he liked the idea of hauling his own beef to a centrally located slaughterhouse in Silver City rather than using a mobile slaughter unit.

“We could get it away from the public on a central point on a good highway. A mobile unit would be good to haul hanging beef, package and bring home to a freezer.” he said.

The ranchers had input on the production and marketing of Nevada-grown meat.

“We just need a market for it,” Burr said. “We have quality beef here. Carson Valley is known for beef because of the quality of feed and the length of the growing season, which is ideal for grass-fed beef.

“We could have Carson Valley Beef Month that we would sell in a two-month period. A speciality, something unique. It could be a big selling point for big restaurants in Reno.

“I think it would fly if they keep it small. We’ve got to get the name – we’ve got the product.”

The study showed consumers’ concerns with whether meat is grass-fed, organic or Nevada-grown and the ranchers’ concerns with consistency.

Roger Mills of Fallon raises grass-fed beef and was concerned about quality certification. He said his methods for producing grass-fed beef could be different than other ranchers.

“We don’t want people to think we’re not producing the same product,” Mills said. “We could put an emphasis on ‘Grown in Nevada’ and guarantee it. If it’s on the label, absolutely hold to those quality standards. The big thing is whatever the standard, we live up to it and market it.”

Ron Torell, livestock specialist from University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, said consistency of product is a big issue.

“Beef quality assurance is something everyone should be concerned with,” Torell said. “We have the moral obligation to produce the best.”