Department

Business Administration

Publication Year

Spring 2015

Abstract

Why is beef different? In a time of globalization and increasing cross-border competition, the agricultural industry has seen the pork and poultry industries become increasingly vertically integrated, while the beef industry has not adopted the same approach. Building on the secondary literature and personal interviews, this work contributes by offering a case study in Alberta, Canada, to understand whether vertical integration could be advantageous in the beef industry, as well. A cost-benefit analysis at each stage in the farm-to-fork supply-chain, has been created. This paper concludes that there are clear financial benefits to vertical integration in the beef industry, such as an increased ability to leverage value added approaches more in-line with changing consumer expectations. Furthermore, vertical integration decreases the financial ups and downs and produces a constant identifiable profit in the beef industry. Such an analysis is especially relevant for the seven thousand family farms and ranches in Alberta and 68 thousand Canadian family farms and ranches with beef cattle working in an industry with increasing costs and already-tight margins.

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