Steer to Steak
Ranchers produce cattle, while consumers eat beef. WSE's Steer to Steak program is designed for ranchers who sell cattle rather than selling a market-ready beef product. WSE secures market premiums for WSE-Certified cattle producers by recruiting markets for their beef and then coordinating the processing and distribution of the beef to retail outlets. Steer to Steak is a complex undertaking that provides an alternative, premium market for the healthy "open" cows regularly culled from cattle herds.
How you can get involved
- Attend a training workshop
- Participate in Local Foods Commerce Day if you have a market-ready product
- Complete WSE's Sustainability Criteria and join our program
- Become a member of WSE
- Share your ideas and insights with WSE
- Contact us to let us know your interest and to inquire about marketing opportunities
Over 40 million acres of Montana's land base is in pasture and rangeland. Montana’s 11,000-plus ranchers play a significant role in preserving the region’s open spaces and protecting wildlife habitat. In recognition of the important stewardship role of these livestock producers, WSE coordinates alternative, premium-based markets for sustainably raised cattle.
These markets provide economic rewards for family ranchers and do a small part to reduce the struggle to maintain these ranches for future generations. This program also helps WSE achieve its goal of maximizing acres under sustainable management in the region. Furthermore, this program increases the availability to consumers of locally and sustainably raised beef.
Through this initiative, WSE is providing a marketplace for sustainable cattle producers who lack both the time and expertise to market a consumer-ready product. WSE's role in this process is to act as a market facilitator, to bring together producers, processors, distributors, market outlets, and consumers. This facilitation creates markets that ensure fair and consistent sales premiums for producers who meet our sustainable production criteria.
WSE has developed partnerships with large markets, such as national park concessionaires, resorts, and university dining services, that purchase significant quantities of beef. A growing number of markets are committed to serving sustainable, local beef, but have been unable to find reliable, consistent, and certified sources. WSE's task is to bring such a supply to the marketplace.
Where we are
The Steer to Steak program utilizes healthy, grassfed, open cows in good condition.
Each year WSE works with a dozen or so certified ranchers to market their qualified cows through this program. Since 2013, this program has generated over $100,000 in annual sales to these ranchers, returning market premiums between 3% and 18%.