Date of Award

Summer 2022

Project Type


Program or Major

Animal Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Andrew Conroy

Second Advisor

Peter Erickson

Third Advisor

Analena Bruce


New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont are well-positioned to grow their capacity for local beef production, however significant barriers to accessing processing services exist. The challenges of processing capacity are complex, and the COVID-19 pandemic further compounded those challenges. Cooperative business models, such as cooperative processing and marketing, have been used to address the issues producers face with processing capacity. This study aimed to determine if beef producers in New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont would be willing to participate in cooperative business models, whether interest in cooperative models varies by different types of beef producers, and what attributes would these business models possible. An online closed-ended survey was conducted, followed by phone interviews to address the research objectives. Participants were reached through non-probability sampling methods using a combination of non-purposive and snowball sampling. Data were analyzed using multiple regression with backward elimination, and Pearson correlations were calculated to identify relationships between demographics and willingness to participate in cooperative business models. A coding system was used to analyze qualitative data from follow-up interviews. Results showed there was a willingness among beef producers to participate in cooperative processing and marketing. Still, there were reservations due to unfamiliarity and concerns with financial investment and pay-off. Through both qualitative and quantitative assessments, it was possible to theoretically predict what type of beef producer might be willing to experiment with cooperative processing and cooperative marketing. Future research on the economics of cooperative business models and how to implement cooperative business models for beef producers is needed to move forward successfully.