We regularly get asked by our producer customers what we think they should charge for their shares of beef. This can be a very complicated question to answer, and will vary, depending on the specific program they are running, their breed, and how they are finishing their beef.
The biggest advice we give is to figure out what others are doing, and stay somewhere in that range. Over charging will chase away customers. Undercharging will get you more customers, but will undercut your neighbors, and it undervalues your product.
In a conversation I was a part of recently on a social media site, several producers were discussing pricing. Across the board, it was agreed that the range of $3.50 - $4.00/ lb. hanging weight was a fair price for the current market. (With most landing closer to $3.75.)
Those who charge significantly less drive the prices down for the rest of the producers in Oklahoma, creating a customer base who don't trust the pricing, and think that those charging the average price are gouging. This makes it difficult for the majority of the producers to market and sell their product and still be competitive.
What we need to realize is that we are not selling the same quality as the big conglomerate grocery/super stores. We are providing clean, natural, farm-raised Oklahoma beef. Don't undervalue your product. While you may not be able to claim the label of being "organic", if you don't give your animals anitbiotics, hormones, or steroids, you are definitely in the all natural category. Be proud of that and market your product as such. Once people try it and can taste the difference, they will come back for more and be willing to pay a little more than they would in the mega-super markets. (And actually, when comparing apples to apples, by the pound, your customer is usually still getting the better deal when buying from you vs. getting a comparable product in the stores.)
There is plenty of room at the table for all the producers in the great state of Oklahoma. We can all handle a little friendly competition, as long as we play fair, and create a fair market for our customers.
If you are interested in keeping track of your expenses, and calculating exactly what you need to charge for your beef shares, Michigan State University's 4-H extension has created a worksheet for both grass fed and grain finished beef. You can download these worksheets for free HERE.