Grant Aims To Help Oklahoma Farmers, Ranchers Sell Directly To Customers

By: Kristen Weaver
 Many Oklahoma farmers and ranchers were forced to change their business models during the pandemic to keep customers, and now OSU wants to help them sell directly to consumers.
 A farm manager out of Cleveland said directly selling to customers all over the state isn’t easy, but it’s worth it and urges people to support local businesses.
 Jake Miller has his Outwest Farms van stocked with all kinds of meat. “Beef, pork, lamb, chicken,” Miller said, “And we offer free home delivery.”
 He hand delivers each bag to people all over Tulsa, Oklahoma City and beyond. He has to move quickly to get to all his customers.
 “There’s some that have been with us since we started,” he said.
 Outwest Farms has been doing deliveries for a few years now. He said sales hit their peak when COVID created meat shortages, and even though orders have slowed down a little, he said his business is here to stay.
 “The roasts are just falling apart and the steaks, everything is just delicious,” said Cyndy Malwick.
 Customers like Cyndy Malwick are thrilled to be able to support a local farm and to know where all her meat is coming from.
 “Because it’s so lean you get your money’s worth,” Malwick.
 “The demand for local food, including meat, has been steadily increasing over the past few years,” said Courtney Bir.
 Courtney Bir is an Assistant professor for Agriculture Economics at OSU.
 Recently the university received a $500,000 grant, which will help them start an education program specifically to help farmers and ranchers navigate direct sales.
 “People like the idea of buying local, and we’re really trying to make that a possibility,” said Bir.
 Miller hopes people continue to remember how many resources are right here in Oklahoma.
 “As long as our customers buy from us, we’ll take care of them,” said Miller.
 Miller said rising costs from supply chain issues have been tough, but his team is getting through it.
 OSU hopes to offer online and in-person education about meat sales and marketing by next fall.