Lamb cooperative buys remaining B. Rosen interestsWritten by Jennifer Womack
Douglas – Mountain States Lamb and Wool Cooperative (MSLW) has acquired the remaining 50 percent of New York City-based Mountain States Rosen. The acquisition makes MSLW the largest integrated distributor of domestic lamb and veal in the U.S. with nationwide distribution and annual sales in excess of $130 million.
Mountain States Rosen was formed in 2003 when MSLW purchased 50 percent of B. Rosen and Sons. B. Rosen became involved in the lamb business 60 years ago.
Since the initial partnership was formed, Mountain States Rosen has established itself in the marketplace as an innovative supplier of premium quality lamb and veal. With operations in New York and Greeley, Colo. the company has grown its case ready division into a high quality, large volume program utilizing the newest technologies to offer its customers across the country a wide array of quality lamb and veal products. Mountain States has added an all-natural, from birth, antibiotic and hormone-free lamb program sold under the Shepherd’s Pride label. Recently Mountain States purchased Premier Veal and Cedar Springs Natural Veal has become a favorite with retail and HRI (Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional) customers.
MSLW Board Chairman and Douglas area rancher Frank Moore says when half of B. Rosen was purchased in 2003 it was with the agreement the remaining half could be acquired at a later date. “We negotiated, settled on a price and put the deal together a couple of weeks ago,” says Moore.
“The new entity paired the largest and finest supply of American-grown lamb with the nation’s number one fabricator and supplier,” says MSLW Vice Chairman and Converse County rancher Brad Boner of the duo that dates back to 2003. “This partnership has enabled Mountain States Rosen to offer its customers a steady, year-round supply of fresh, premium quality, high yielding American lamb products.”
“It will give us better control of our product and meat company all the way through the process,” says Moore of the latest growth. “We’ve had a vision of how we want to market our lambs through the process and an idea of what we believe the customer wants as far as the marketplace is concerned. To really reach that vision we need to own the company.”
Moore says he believes the growth of MSLW holds opportunity for cooperative members. “We’re doing some value-added marketing now, but we will do more value added and build more recognition of what our members bring to the cooperative. Instead of commodity lamb it’s going to be Mountain States Lamb.”
More lambs and more members are being sought, according to Moore. While new shares aren’t being issued, Moore explains, “There are shares available from within the cooperative. We have a number of shares not delivering lambs that have been placed on reserve. The members who had them didn’t have production for them. We can expand our supply significantly without doing a new offering.”
Moore explains, “the Cooperative sold a minority ownership in Mountain States Rosen to our main veal supplier, Formula One. We believe Formula One will be an excellent fit because they understand the challenges producers face and share our vision and commitment to providing the country with a safe, premium quality product.”
MSLW is a cooperative of 140 ranchers in 13 states. The cooperative, which has grown steadily since its inception, celebrated its five-year anniversary in 2007. According to Becky Gitthens, MSLW Director of Operations, “Our co-op producers have supplied Mountain States Rosen with almost one and a half million lambs over the past five years, and we want to expand our base of producers. Mountain States Lamb and Wool Cooperative is a success story and we are actively seeking additional producers who are interested in sharing in the benefits of vertical integration.”