Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Agricultural Economics

Major Professor

Andrew P. Griffith

Committee Members

Karen E. Lewis, Kimberly L. Jensen


Beef producers in Tennessee have expressed interest in the creation of an in-state certified beef program. Therefore, this study evaluates Tennessee consumer preferences for Tennessee Certified Beef and other beef attributes that are likely to appear on Tennessee beef. We define Tennessee Certified Beef as beef originating from animals born, raised, finished, and harvested in Tennessee. The objectives of this research are to provide a measure of Tennessee consumers’ willingness to pay (WTP) for Tennessee Certified Beef and the beef attributes grass-fed, no hormones administered, Certified Angus Beef, and Master Quality Raised Beef (label indicating producers completed the Beef Quality Assurance and the Advanced Master Beef Producer educational programs). WTP measures for both boneless ribeye beef steaks and ground beef are obtained in this study. Qualtrics, a software used to distribute online surveys, was used to gather data. The survey contained a choice experiment in which 816 Tennessee beef consumers were surveyed to determine preferences for beef attributes. Results of two treatments were compared for both steak and ground beef. In the Control Treatment, consumers were given a cheap talk script while in the Information Treatment, consumers were given definitions for the different beef attributes and a cheap talk script prior to the choice sets. Data were analyzed using a random parameters logit model. Results indicate steak consumers value Tennessee Certified Beef higher than all other individual attributes and ground beef consumers value the attribute no hormones administered most highly, but only slightly more so than Tennessee Certified Beef. All evaluated attributes garnered a positive WTP, with grass-fed and Certified Angus Beef exhibiting the lowest premium for both steak and ground beef. This survey also examined the interactions between Tennessee Certified Beef and the other attributes. Tennessee steak consumers in the Control Treatment indicated a preference to see Master Quality Raised Beef in conjunction with Tennessee Certified Beef, and ground beef consumers in the Control Treatment preferred no hormones administered in conjunction with Tennessee Certified Beef. Overall, results indicate that educational programs may increase the premiums that producers could receive for including these attributes in the beef they sell.

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."