Friday, July 16, 2010

Wyoming tribe's beef deal with Whole Foods ends

A deal for the Northern Arapaho Tribe in Wyoming to sell organic, grass-fed beef to Whole Foods Market Inc. has fallen through, a beef distributor said Wednesday. Panorama Meats Inc., which bought the beef from the tribe and sold it to Whole Foods, said the agreement ended in March when tribal officials asked for a 29 percent price increase. "That's a heck of a jump in one fell swoop," said Mack Graves, CEO of Vina, Calif.-based Panorama. Graves said the increase was more than Whole Foods wanted to pay. Panorama was buying about 40 head per week from the tribe, Graves said. Whole foods, based in Austin, Texas, was selling the beef at its stores in Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas and Utah. The deal, struck in April 2009, called for the tribe to get $1,400 per head. Panorama said at the time it was about 25 percent more than conventional beef fetches. Graves said Panorama temporarily bought beef from California ranches to make up for the loss of the Northern Arapaho supply, with Whole Foods' consent. Graves said he found other ranches in Colorado, Montana, Nebraska and Wyoming to supply organic, grass-fed beef and is now selling their products to Whole Foods. Graves said he is also talking with a New Mexico rancher about also supplying beef...more

Rumor has it they've been in contact with NM's most famous producer and advocate for organic beef...Jimmy Bason. Bason markets his cattle as Healthy Hillsboro Herefords and has changed his brand to CO...for Certified Organic.

I tried to reach Bason to confirm the contact. I was told he couldn't be reached, that he was travelling with Ted Turner to some secret meeting about organic chupacabras.

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