When the pandemic disrupted supply chains across the country, many grocery store meat shelves were empty. Now, Oklahoma ranchers are finding more ways to sell local beef straight to consumers.
Soon, people will be able to walk into a grocery store and find meat with the label “Oklahoma Certified Beef.”
The Oklahoma Farmers Union formed the Oklahoma Certified Beef Association to create a database of ranchers with cows that are born, bred, raised and slaughtered in Oklahoma.
The nonprofit organization was created following the passage of HB 3963 into law during the 2020 legislative session. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Ty Burns (R—Pawnee) and Sen. Casey Murdock (R—Felt).
Scott Blubaugh, the president of the Oklahoma Farmers Union, said the association will be a way to keep money in local Oklahoma communities.
“Because the cattle are marketed and processed and raised in the local community, those dollars stay there,” Blubaugh said. “And they're an economic driver land for these rural communities that in many ways, many times don't have very many economic drivers.”
Blubaugh said at least a dozen ranchers have joined the association in the first week, and expects more to join. He said Oklahoma Certified Beef will be available in small grocery stores and restaurants. There will also be a website that launches this month that includes a database of producers where consumers can buy beef directly from the rancher or processor.
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