Beef processors' procurement channel selection is a critical element of a successful supply chain in addressing challenges of food safety from consumers. However, preference-based studies of cattle procurement methods in China are scarce. In this study, the conjoint modelling approach is used to determine processors' perceptions of various procurement channels. Initial results based on a survey of 43 beef processors suggest that the beef processing industry is still at the early stage of development and processors place most value on regular suppliers and good trust. Findings will be used in developing policies that encourage forward contracting between producers and processors.