Pasture-Grazed Dairy Market Development
In 2008, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) received a U.S.D.A. North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) grant to explore pasture-based systems as a source of “specialty milk” for value-added dairy processing.
Preliminary research by Dr. Scott Rankin in 2005 showed that pasture milk produces cheddar cheese that has a creamier texture and a natural golden color that was preferred over cheese from confinement-fed cows in consumer taste testing (Rankin 2006). This project seeks to build on these initial results. To explore this opportunity, we took a value chain approach, bringing together pasture-based dairy farmers, processors, chefs, and researchers. Guided by this team, we have conducted a comprehensive investigation of the chemical and physical properties of this unique milk when made into cheese, butter, or other products. In addition, we explored the marketing and positioning of such products, conducting focus group discussions and consumer taste testing to assess consumer interest.
The overall goals of the project were to develop 1) a definitive understanding of the unique physical, chemical, and flavor qualities of grass-fed milk and 2) an ability to manage seasonal changes in pasture milk flavor and physical properties to improve processing quality. Over the long term, we seek to create 1) an increased awareness among dairy processors of the opportunities and appropriate uses for pasture milk and 2) a strategy for establishment of a premium market for pasture milk products.
Final Report and Available Fact Sheets:
Full Final Report (36 page PDF)
Why Pasture Based Dairy (2 page PDF)
Structure Scope Study Design (3 page PDF)
What is Managed Grazing (1 page PDF)
Pasture Characteristics (2 page PDF)
General Product Characteristics (2 page PDF)
Pasture Milk Color (2 page PDF)
Pasture Milk Texture (3 page PDF)
Pasture Milk Aroma (1 page PDF)
Pasture Milk Flavor (2 page PDF)
Pasture Composition and Cheese Flavor (1 page PDF)
Fatty Acid Composition (3 page PDF)
Consumer Response (3 page PDF)
Positioning Pasture-Grazed Dairy (5 page PDF)
Opportunities, Challenges and Recommendations (5 page PDF)
Project Partners, References and Resources (3 page PDF)
This project was initiated to provide guidance for future grass-fed dairy marketing efforts.
This document outlines the marketing potential of grass-fed products to offer a premium to producers. It discusses consumer behaviors and media impact. To complete the report, Laura Paine reflected on three different business structures. She discussed successful strategies currently in use by Wisconsin companies and challenges being faced.
Grass-Fed Beef Market Development
Grass-Roots Marketing: the Wisconsin Grass-Fed Beef Cooperative (5 page PDF)
The Wisconsin Grass-Fed Beef Cooperative began in 2007 to provide members a means of pooling resources, enabling them to hire the marketing and sales expertise needed to be successful. By collectively producing enough beef to access larger wholesale markets, they were able to expand their reach.
Link to Wisconsin Grass-fed Beef Cooperative:
For more information, contact Laura Paine, Division of Agricultural Development, 608-224-5120 or email@example.com