Title page for ETD etd-05122009-084732

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Waddle, Ashleigh Danielle
Author's Email Address waddle@vt.edu
URN etd-05122009-084732
Title A Market Analysis for Specialty Beef in Virginia
Degree Master of Science
Department Agricultural and Applied Economics
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Mainville, Denise Y. Committee Chair
Groover, Gordon E. Committee Member
Littlefield, James E. Committee Member
Taylor, Daniel B. Committee Member
  • specialty beef
  • alternative market outlet
  • pasture-fed
  • natural
  • direct market
  • organic
Date of Defense 2009-05-01
Availability unrestricted
Virginia beef producers have been overwhelmed with increasing costs and decreasing profits as well as facing challenges such as development pressures, drought, increasing competition for grazing land. Together these have reduced opportunities for expansion and often increased incentives for farmers to sell land for non-agriculture use. Nevertheless, opportunities exist for the Virginia beef market. Consumer demand is changing and consumers are seeking food from alternative production systems based on attributes related to human health, environment, animal welfare, and other social concerns. Consumers are also interested in increasing their consumption of locally produced foods. Specialty beef such as natural, organic, and pasture-fed addresses the changing consumer demand and provides alternatives to commodity beef production. This thesis analyzes the potential for and the constraints to specialty beef producers in Virginia to sell their beef through alternative market outlets such as large retail outlets, specialty stores, restaurants, or direct to consumers. The study will research the potential demand for specialty beef through alternative market outlets, the market entry requirements to supply specialty beef to these alternative outlets, and the potential for Virginia’s specialty beef producers to serve as suppliers to these alternative outlets. A survey is used to evaluate these alternative markets and determine if they present an opportunity for Virginia producers of specialty beef.

The results of this study will evaluate the viability of selling and buying between producer and retailer and offer valuable information and recommendations to Virginia specialty beef producers about the potential and requirements in each of these markets.

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