The Land Report

AG 2019

The Magazine of the American Landowner is an essential guide for investors, landowners, and those interested in buying or selling land. The award-winning quarterly is known for its annual survey of America's largest landowners, The Land Report 100.

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H E ARST R AN CH I MAG E S BY RI CHAR D FI ELD LE VI N E © H E ARST R AN CH E S , I N C . E ach year, the Big Four — JBS, Cargill, National Beef, and Tyson — process more than 80 percent of the cattle that go to market. One of the by-products of this concentration is that many cattlemen have little or even no contact with consumers. "e industry stops at the sale yard gates," says Ben Higgins, director of agri- cultural operations at Hearst Ranches. "is makes it difficult for information regarding the end product to travel down the supply chain from the end consumer back to the producer." anks to its innovative relationship with Whole Foods (see pages 40–45), how we select our genetics, what weights to ship the cattle. Responding to con- sumer demand is an absolutely critical part of what we do. It's a major part of our value proposition. ese are ani- mals who spend their entire lives in our care on 156,000 acres of native range- land. at's a great story, but consumers also want to hear how these animals are raised. Consumers care very deeply that we provide them a very natural life. at's a story we want to tell because we give our cows a lot of room to be cows. Our animal handling and welfare are certified by an outside organization," Higgins says. the California beef producer is a notable exception. "We talk to Whole Foods personnel from the executive level all the way to the store level all the time, asking them what consumers are looking for in the meat case and understanding why they are or are not choosing to purchase Hearst Ranch Beef. at's critical information that a lot of cattlemen and other agri- cultural producers don't have access to," Higgins says. "is information allows us to make good decisions, not about just our cut specifications but about everything: how we finish these animals on the ranch, Responding to consumer demand is an absolutely critical part of what we do. It's a major part of our value proposition. CUSTOMER CONNECTION BEN HIGGINS HEARST RANCHES 34 L ANDREP ORT.COM e LandReport | AGRICULTURE 20 19

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