Wyoming lamb producers find niche market
Frank Moore and Brad Boner, otherwise known as The Lamb Guys, began selling and direct marketing frozen lamb amidst many concerns in the lamb industry. Impacts from the coronavirus and the loss of the Mountain States Rosen processing facility have many producers searching for new opportunities.
Taking advantage of a tough situation
“While we have always wanted to try selling frozen or boxed lamb, the launch of our business was COVID-19 related,” shared Moore. “Demand from packers was down, and we had lambs that were ready to go. COVID-19 was a catalyst to move our business beyond a vision and into actual marketing.”
Springtime is usually the peak time for American lamb producers to market their product, according to Moore. Restaurants made up approximately 50 percent of lamb meat sales, and due to COVID-19 food service industry closures in March, sales dropped significantly.
Both Moore and Boner had lambs at peak quality, and ready to market, but with no immediate buyer.
“Rather than letting our lambs get overly fat and lose quality, we decided to custom harvest our lambs and freeze them,” said Moore.
“I’ve always felt like there should be a market for frozen lamb,” Moore added. “If the opportunity looks like it makes sense, we should work for it.”
Direct marketing lamb
The coronavirus has sparked a lot of conversation in the beef industry about direct marketing meat products directly from the ranch.
“There are not a lot of people who direct market lamb,” Moore explained. “Some ranchers sell their lamb seasonally on a small scale.”
“We hope to keep our lamb in stock and have products available year round,” shared Moore.
The Lamb Guys have hit farmers’ markets across Wyoming to market their products, as well as promote their products online.
“We also wanted to make high-quality lamb available economically to less-populated places,” said Moore.
The Lamb Guys sell lambs from both the Moore and Boner families’ operations. They offer half lamb boxes, as well as lamb racks, chops, top rounds, bone-in and boneless legs, ground lamb, baby back ribs, hind shanks and fore shanks.
Evolving and learning
The Lamb Guys started out with approximately 1,000 lambs in half lamb boxes.
“That is a pretty optimistic number of lambs to sell in our first year,” said Moore. “But, I think that is a goal we can achieve.”
“Currently, we are trying to figure out how to ship our products and make it economical for our customers,” Moore shared. “Cooler weather coming up should make it easier.”
“We hope this venture is successful enough to keep it going,” shared Moore. “We really enjoy what we have done so far and are thankful for the interest in our lamb.”
“We are just getting our feet wet,” Moore noted. “But, we have had a really great response so far.”
Averi Hales is the editor for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.