Organizers of the Colorado Beef Business Directory say it offers a unique avenue for Routt County agricultural producers to market themselves to buyers across the state or across the country.
Each year, the directory lists information from Colorado beef businesses and is distributed all around the nation and in Mexico.
"It can hook people up in the region who may not have been buying and selling from each other before," Publisher Susan Russell said.
The directory is like an agricultural yellow pages, publicizing agricultural businesses on a broad scale so it's easier for buyers to find the product they are looking for. Last year's addition had a list of more than 1,300 ag businesses -- from ranchers and meat processors to truckers, banks and veterinarians.
The directory began as a publication of the Ag Journal five years ago.
"It was one special project that's been growing and growing," Russell said. It grew to the point that Russell, who was the publisher of the Ag Journal when the directory was first published, decided to take it on as an independent project a couple of years ago.
"As far as I know, it's the only directory of its type in Colorado," said Linda Clausen, communications director of the Colorado Cattlemen's Association.
The Cattlemen's group is one of many sponsors of the directory. Each year the Cattlemen are supplied with a couple thousand books to hand out at the National Western Stock Show. The directories are gone well before the Cattlemen take down their booth at the show, Clausen said.
The Colorado Department of Agriculture also hands out directories.
"It's a fantastic resource for us throughout the United States," said Jim Rubingh, director of the market division of the Colorado Department of Agriculture.
Rubingh explained that many directories get circulated at trade shows around the nation and at three shows in Mexico.
"Whenever we can find someone who's interested in livestock we use it to show what Colorado has to offer," Rubingh said.
This year, the membership of the directory has expanded to include businesses in other agricultural states such as New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and Texas, Russell said.
It costs $20 to register in the Colorado Beef Directory but the copies of the book are free.
Registration forms for the directory are on the Internet this year for the first time.
"We thought the Web site would help us get some of the information easier," Russell said.
It's also more convenient for ranchers, who can register in the evening after the chores are done, she said.
By 2002, Russell hopes to have the complete directory listed on the Web site to reach an even broader market.
"We're not quite ready for that step," she said. Russell explained that she will have to make sure that everyone listed in the directory feels comfortable about having their names and addresses on the Internet.
The deadline for registration is May 1. The directory will be available in August. Anyone interested in being in the directory can call 1-800-748-1997 or go to the Web site at beef-business.com.
-- To reach Doug Crowl call 871-4206 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org