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Blue & Gold Sausage is family owned and operated. From left to right: son Greg, mother Willadean, father and founder Don Ramsey, and son Brett run this Oklahoma company. Photo by James Pratt


Seaboard Foods on page 20 of this edition). Introduced later in the company’s history, Blue and Gold’s bacon and chicken tenders are co-packed at Tyson facilities under detailed instructions to ensure the company’s trademark flavor. “They make the product based on recipes we have created with specific methods we have developed for them,” Brett says. “We start with a basic prod- uct idea and then tweak the recipe.”


The Blue & Gold busy season depends on demand, but Brett says they will make a delivery run any time they can gather up enough orders. In early fall, clubs begin turning in their orders, and product is delivered a week later. From Labor Day until two weeks before Christmas, the Jones facility is a well-oiled machine of sausage production, packaging and delivery. When orders fall flat, the company shuts its doors to prepare for the next stretch of production. “From February to the first part of May, we’ll have moderate production to keep us going but our main cycle begins when teachers return to school in the fall and determine what money they need to raise for the year,” Brett says. Blue and Gold Sausage was founded on the needs of agriculture education


departments but through the decades, the company has expanded to serve groups well beyond school grounds. Civic organizations, little league teams and scout troops have been welcomed into the customer base with open arms. “Ag ed groups make up about 70 percent of our sales but they only create about a third of our total customer groups,” Brett says. “We work with about 1,100 customer organizations in Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, Texas and Missouri.”


Blue & Gold Sausage will provide close to 3.25 million pounds of sausage, 1.25 million pounds of bacon and 800,000 pounds of chicken tenders to these groups, generating more than 3.5 million fundraising dollars in a year’s time. Ramsey says the company didn’t begin working with groups outside of Oklahoma until the mid 90s, but the regional expansion has resulted in a consistent 4 percent to 5 percent growth rate every year since. “Our greatest growth has been in southern and southeast Kansas and western Arkansas,” Brett says. “We won’t drive all the way to Kansas City for a stop but we will travel as far north as Fort Scott, Kan. We have a geographic region that we’ve agreed to serve if a group calls and asks to use our program.”


24 WWW.OK-LIVING.COOP


Grounded to Roots


With so much expansion in the last few years, some may wonder how the company stays grounded in its original mission of local fundraising, but the Ramseys believe community support is important, no matter the location. “If we’re good to the community, the community is good back to us,” Brett says. “If what we do can make it easier for small towns and organizations to progress, we benefit as well.”


Ag teachers, band leaders and little league coaches across the region all agree


Blue & Gold Sausage has become a staple in effective fundraising. Cushing FFA adviser Allan Smith has taught agriculture for 27 years and says the prod- uct sells itself.


“I’m afraid I’d get run out of town if we ever announced we weren’t going to sell Blue & Gold,” he says. “People will call and email us wanting to know when we’re selling. In Payne County, there are six or eight other small towns that also sell Blue & Gold, so it’s a very competitive fundraiser.” Smith says his FFA chapter spends their fundraiser earnings on travel ex- penses to the National FFA Convention each fall—a trip that can easily cost up to $10,000, but he also appreciates the incentive program Blue & Gold Sausage offers to its customers.


“We earn $1 to $1.50 on each piece of product our students sell and then we receive that profit-sharing check in January,” Smith says. “It’s almost like a second round of fundraising, and the Ramseys don’t have to do that.” The Ramseys’ historic tradition of community and FFA support has been passed on to thousands of students over the last 40 years. Ashley Collier, a Verdigris Valley Electric Cooperative member and former Oklahoma Union FFA student remembers taking Blue & Gold orders every fall, an activity she now helps her husband complete as an ag instructor.


“Blue & Gold Sausage is special to our FFA chapter,” she says. “It’s a great company to be associated with, and we always had a big order. We used the money for state conventions and contests, and we could always count on those repeat customers.”


Unlike other fundraisers, Collier says the Ramsey family made selling an enjoyable task by offering a popular product along with enticing incentives for students.


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