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Abstract

Beef cattle are the predominant livestock industry in Tennessee. Most beef cattle producers in the state manage cow-calf operations, while a smaller number of producers participate in the stocker, backgrounding and finishing phases of production. Although production in Tennessee is primarily composed of cow-calf producers, marketing and management practices vary across individual producers. Many producers market calves at weaning, while other producers precondition or background calves prior to marketing them to feedlots in the Midwest or Great Plains. Other producers in Tennessee retain ownership of cattle through the finishing phase and largely finish cattle in feedlots in the Midwest and Great Plains before marketing cattle to a beef packing facility. Consumer interest in local foods continues to grow, and consumers want to know more about how their food was produced. Though finishing cattle in Tennessee is not widely practiced, the shift by consumers to desiring local foods has created an increased interest from Tennessee beef cattle farmers to finish cattle on farm and market local beef. At the time of this writing, most local beef production in Tennessee was performed by small-scale producers managing all aspects of cattle production, animal harvest/slaughter and beef marketing. As more consumers demand locally produced beef and as cattle producers in Tennessee evaluate finishing cattle in-state, it becomes increasingly important to evaluate marketing opportunities for producers. One conceivable opportunity is a state sourcing and marketing program of Tennessee Branded Beef (TBB). Thus, the purpose of this publication is to report results from a producer survey concerning Tennessee beef cattle producer interest in a TBB program (TBBP), attitudes and perceptions toward a TBBP, and the potential number of cattle supplied to a TBBP.

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