OKLAHOMA CITY—Kicking off 2021 with a bang, American Farmers & Ranchers/Oklahoma Farmers Union (AFR/OFU) Cooperative is excited to announce a new opportunity for Oklahoma’s ranchers—the Oklahoma Certified Beef Association (OCBA).

Through OCBA, the state’s cattle producers can verify their quality beef products as “Oklahoma certified.” To earn the distinction, ranchers must prove their animals are bred, born, raised and processed within Oklahoma state borders through an affidavit-based, third-party verification system. Once verified, the certified beef products can be marketed to consumers with the official OCBA seal.

Through pandemic-related meat shortages, the demand for local and direct market beef soared in 2020. That demand is expected to maintain in 2021. Due to the demand surge, many Oklahoma ranches either jumped in to direct marketing for the first time or have been looking for ways to expand. The OCBA seal is a great way for both new and established businesses to distinguish Oklahoma certified products from other ranches that may purchase animals from out-of-state.

“OCBA is a great opportunity to connect directly with consumers looking to purchase beef from local ranches,” said AFR/OFU Cooperative President Scott Blubaugh. “As an organization, we’re excited to offer another way for AFR/OFU members and Oklahoma ranchers at large to market high-quality Oklahoma beef.

“The pandemic has once again proven the U.S. meat industry favors only the biggest players. But with opportunities like OCBA, ranchers can take their products directly to consumers. They can ensure a higher profit margin for their ranch, while supporting their local meat processing facility and giving Oklahoma consumers more choice. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

To become a member of OCBA, ranchers must first become members of AFR/OFU Cooperative, either through a dues-alone membership or through their status as an AFR Insurance policyholder. Beyond AFR/OFU membership, there are currently two options for potential OCBA members—standard or lifetime membership. Both membership types are designed to be inexpensive options to help OCBA members gain additional market traction without adding expense to their bottom line.

OCBA members have exclusive access to the OCBA seal for use on packaging. They also benefit from all OCBA marketing campaigns, whether online, in retailers, or at restaurants. OCBA also maintains a database of members that is distributed to retailers and restaurants in their area and AFR/OFU members statewide.

For more information or to join the Oklahoma Certified Beef Association, contact AFR/OFU Cooperative’s OCBA Coordinator Ellen Roth at 405-218-5597 or ellen.roth@afrmic.com.

AFR/OFU Cooperative is a membership services organization established in 1905 as Oklahoma Farmers Union. AFR/OFU provides educational, legislative and cooperative programs across the state and serves as a watchdog for Oklahoma’s family farmers and ranchers and rural communities. The organization is actively supportive of the state’s agricultural industry and rural population with membership consisting of farmers actively involved in production agriculture and non-farmers adding their voice in support of AFR/OFU principles.

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