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She Sells Beef Direct At Gas Stations
You’d never think you could get a good T-bone steak at a gas station or convenience store. But an enterprising sixth-generation North Dakota rancher is making that possible at several gas stations located between Watertown, S.Dak., and Fargo, N.Dak.
Lacey Block knew direct sales could increase income from her beef cattle. However, retail stores are difficult to get into and would make her meat too expensive for many customers. She nervously approached a locally-owned gas station owner who agreed to sell her beef because he recognized it could benefit his business by bringing in more customers.
“I wanted to keep it easy on the vendor’s end,” Block says, knowing that store space is precious. She purchased upright freezers and had them wrapped with her story to inform customers that they were buying local beef.
Rancher’s Rebellion Beef Company didn’t happen overnight, she points out. She spent about 6 mos. taking care of the legal issues - registering her business, setting up for sales tax, and following Department of Agriculture specifications including the product labeling.
She had booked butchering (20 to 30 cows/month) so that she was ready to supply retail businesses by last February. Her process is to haul her cattle to the USDA-inspected plant, pick up the packaged meat, and stock her freezers in 8 stores and deliver to 4 restaurants and other customers. She fits it in along with her full-time job as a nurse.
The Corona virus pandemic hit just after she started, and initially stations reduced their hours. Schools closed and consumers were limiting their shopping to grocery stores.
“I did more direct sales to get community awareness,” Block says. She used her website and Facebook and other social media and arranged deliveries.
Later, when grocery stores had meat shortages and raised prices, more customers discovered Block’s locally raised beef at gas stations.
“I never increased my prices because my inputs weren’t different,” she says, and she gained many repeat customers who were impressed with the flavor and quality of the beef.
Block sells everything the USDA allows from steaks, roast, ribs and burger to organs and oxtail. She’s also sold bulk suet for deer sausage and fat to someone who makes honey soap.
“If I have extra inventory I will sell quarters, halves or by the pound,” she adds. At times, she also opens up her website to nationwide shipping though it’s a lot of extra steps with packing in Styrofoam and ice packs.
She is open to expanding to other markets, such as a fitness center that recently agreed to sell her beef.
“I want this idea to take off,” she says, so she and future generations like her two sons can continue to raise cattle for a fair, sustainable price.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Lacey Block, Rancher’s Rebellion Beef Company, 44861 100th St., Havana, N. Dak. 58043 (ph 701 680-3976; www.ranchersrebellion.com; ranchersrebellion@gmail.com; Facebook: Ranchers Rebellion Company, LLC).

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2020 - Volume #44, Issue #6