Case Study: A Systems Analysis of Cattle Morbidity in a Niche Market Beef Cooperative

  • Kim McCuistion Texas A&M University-Kingsville
  • Jennie Johnson Livsey Texas A&M University-Kingsville
  • Doug Wilmeth Texas A&M University-Kingsville
  • Dan Probert Country Natural Beef
  • Barry Dunn South Dakota State University
  • Ryan Rhoades Texas A&M University-Kingsville
  • Clay Mathis Texas A&M University-Kingsville
Keywords: Animal Health, Niche Beef Production, Producer Cooperative, Supply Chain

Abstract

Country Natural Beef (CNB) is a rancher-owned, niche market beef cooperative. In fall 2008, CNB experienced an increase in cattle morbidity at the feedlot. With a reduced number of animals qualifying for the CNB program, the possibility of being unable to meet customer demand became a critical concern. Consequently, CNB proactively initiated an internal investigation to identify the underlying reasons and key risk factors that contributed to the increase in morbidity. An analysis was conducted to determine size and scope of the problem, identify key risk factors, and provide recommendations for supply chain improvement. A sample of 42 CNB member ranchers, CNB employees, and personnel from the feedlot where CNB cattle are finished were interviewed to provide a better understanding of the ranchers' behavior, production chain structures, management protocols, and company policies. Recommendations to reduce morbidity rates included: (1) background all cattle, (2) institute internal process controls to include auditing the accounts at regular intervals, and (3) amend the policies that allow the shift in financial responsibility of morbidity from individual ranchers to the organization as a whole. Implementing these recommendations should minimize feedlot morbidity in the CNB program and make the program more viable in the marketplace by reducing fluctuations in supply. Similar niche beef production programs should consider their entire production chain in order to maintain a balance between the demand and supply and minimize the cost of production.

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Author Biographies

Kim McCuistion, Texas A&M University-Kingsville
King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management, Texas A&M University-Kingsville; 700 University Boulevard, MSC 137; Kingsville, Texas 78363 USA; +1-361-593-3690.
Jennie Johnson Livsey, Texas A&M University-Kingsville
King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management, Texas A&M University-Kingsville; 700 University Boulevard, MSC 137; Kingsville, Texas 78363 USA.
Doug Wilmeth, Texas A&M University-Kingsville
King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management, Texas A&M University-Kingsville; 700 University Boulevard, MSC 137; Kingsville, Texas 78363 USA.
Dan Probert, Country Natural Beef
Country Natural Beef, Boardman, OR 97818 USA.
Barry Dunn, South Dakota State University
College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences, South Dakota State University; Brookings, South Dakota 57007 USA.
Ryan Rhoades, Texas A&M University-Kingsville
King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management, Texas A&M University-Kingsville; 700 University Boulevard, MSC 137; Kingsville, Texas 78363 USA.
Clay Mathis, Texas A&M University-Kingsville
King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management, Texas A&M University-Kingsville; 700 University Boulevard, MSC 137; Kingsville, Texas 78363 USA.
Published
2011-11-07
How to Cite
McCuistion, K., Livsey, J. J., Wilmeth, D., Probert, D., Dunn, B., Rhoades, R., & Mathis, C. (2011). Case Study: A Systems Analysis of Cattle Morbidity in a Niche Market Beef Cooperative. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 2(1), 279-286. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2011.021.011