Direct marketing meat comes with benefits and challenges | TheFencePost.com

Direct marketing meat comes with benefits and challenges

Gayle Smith
Gering, Neb.

Cindy Goertz takes questions from the audience at the Living and Working on the Land - The Building Blocks of Success conference in Torrington, Wyo.

Every producer wants to make more from the product they produce. But deciding how to market that product to get the best possible price can be a challenge. Two producers in Wyoming recently spoke of the benefits and challenges of direct marketing beef and pork during the Living and Working on the Land – The Building Blocks of Success conference in Torrington, Wyo.

The two day conference was designed for producers who wanted to add value to the products they raise. The conference featured speakers talking about everything from free range poultry, to raising fruits and vegetables, farmer’s marketing, and direct meat marketing.

Cindy Goertz of Wyoming Pure Natural Beef and Ron Pulley of Wyoming Heritage Hogs discussed the challenges and opportunities they have encountered selling their meat products directly to the public.

Goertz and Pulley both agreed one of the biggest challenges in direct marketing meat is finding a reliable meat processor that is located within a manageable distance. In Wyoming, producers are required to use a meat processor who is USDA licensed if they wish to sell meat across state lines. If the meat will all be marketed within the state, they can use a state licensed processor.

“It is ridiculous,” explained Pulley, who uses a state-licensed processor. “I live within minutes of Nebraska, but can’t cross the state line to sell meat there without violating state codes. However, my customers can cross the state line into Wyoming to purchase meat from me.”

Since there are no USDA licensed processors in Wyoming, Goertz said they are forced to take their beef to Colorado for processing. “When we got into direct marketing seven or eight years ago, we decided we wanted to be able to ship meat across state lines. Finding a processor that you can trust, will do the job you want him to do, and still be cost-effective is very hard to do,” she said, noting they went through a number of processors before finally settling on one in Kersey, Colo.

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Pulley said many processors are only willing to do so much for producers who direct market meat. “If I tell a processor, I want 12-ounce pork chops two-inches thick, and shoulder roasts in four-pound packages, they should be able to do that. The bad news is they usually give you what they want to, and what is easy for them,” he explained. “It is a real problem in the business.”

Pulley said he settled on a processor that is only 10 miles away from his farm, but he has sacrificed having the meat packaged a certain way, in favor of the processor’s standards. “Their attitude is they are doing my processing as a favor to me,” he said. “They are used to processing meat according to what the (grocery store they supply) wants.

“Some processors are just not used to meeting specifications for custom processing,” Pulley continued. “My problem is, if I have to travel further to get my hogs processed, it will increase my cost significantly. If I take four to five hogs at a time to Eaton, Colo, I have to take the hogs down there, go get the meat, and then make a third trip for the rest. I would have 1,000 miles just to get four or five hogs processed. Someone has to pay for that.”

Goertz and Pulley both agreed more processors are needed in Wyoming. “Instead, we just keep losing processors,” Pulley said. “This is one of the challenges a producer has to face if he is direct marketing meat. In our situation, we have no problem raising hogs, but professional processing is a real problem.”

Every producer wants to make more from the product they produce. But deciding how to market that product to get the best possible price can be a challenge. Two producers in Wyoming recently spoke of the benefits and challenges of direct marketing beef and pork during the Living and Working on the Land – The Building Blocks of Success conference in Torrington, Wyo.

The two day conference was designed for producers who wanted to add value to the products they raise. The conference featured speakers talking about everything from free range poultry, to raising fruits and vegetables, farmer’s marketing, and direct meat marketing.

Cindy Goertz of Wyoming Pure Natural Beef and Ron Pulley of Wyoming Heritage Hogs discussed the challenges and opportunities they have encountered selling their meat products directly to the public.

Goertz and Pulley both agreed one of the biggest challenges in direct marketing meat is finding a reliable meat processor that is located within a manageable distance. In Wyoming, producers are required to use a meat processor who is USDA licensed if they wish to sell meat across state lines. If the meat will all be marketed within the state, they can use a state licensed processor.

“It is ridiculous,” explained Pulley, who uses a state-licensed processor. “I live within minutes of Nebraska, but can’t cross the state line to sell meat there without violating state codes. However, my customers can cross the state line into Wyoming to purchase meat from me.”

Since there are no USDA licensed processors in Wyoming, Goertz said they are forced to take their beef to Colorado for processing. “When we got into direct marketing seven or eight years ago, we decided we wanted to be able to ship meat across state lines. Finding a processor that you can trust, will do the job you want him to do, and still be cost-effective is very hard to do,” she said, noting they went through a number of processors before finally settling on one in Kersey, Colo.

Pulley said many processors are only willing to do so much for producers who direct market meat. “If I tell a processor, I want 12-ounce pork chops two-inches thick, and shoulder roasts in four-pound packages, they should be able to do that. The bad news is they usually give you what they want to, and what is easy for them,” he explained. “It is a real problem in the business.”

Pulley said he settled on a processor that is only 10 miles away from his farm, but he has sacrificed having the meat packaged a certain way, in favor of the processor’s standards. “Their attitude is they are doing my processing as a favor to me,” he said. “They are used to processing meat according to what the (grocery store they supply) wants.

“Some processors are just not used to meeting specifications for custom processing,” Pulley continued. “My problem is, if I have to travel further to get my hogs processed, it will increase my cost significantly. If I take four to five hogs at a time to Eaton, Colo, I have to take the hogs down there, go get the meat, and then make a third trip for the rest. I would have 1,000 miles just to get four or five hogs processed. Someone has to pay for that.”

Goertz and Pulley both agreed more processors are needed in Wyoming. “Instead, we just keep losing processors,” Pulley said. “This is one of the challenges a producer has to face if he is direct marketing meat. In our situation, we have no problem raising hogs, but professional processing is a real problem.”

Every producer wants to make more from the product they produce. But deciding how to market that product to get the best possible price can be a challenge. Two producers in Wyoming recently spoke of the benefits and challenges of direct marketing beef and pork during the Living and Working on the Land – The Building Blocks of Success conference in Torrington, Wyo.

The two day conference was designed for producers who wanted to add value to the products they raise. The conference featured speakers talking about everything from free range poultry, to raising fruits and vegetables, farmer’s marketing, and direct meat marketing.

Cindy Goertz of Wyoming Pure Natural Beef and Ron Pulley of Wyoming Heritage Hogs discussed the challenges and opportunities they have encountered selling their meat products directly to the public.

Goertz and Pulley both agreed one of the biggest challenges in direct marketing meat is finding a reliable meat processor that is located within a manageable distance. In Wyoming, producers are required to use a meat processor who is USDA licensed if they wish to sell meat across state lines. If the meat will all be marketed within the state, they can use a state licensed processor.

“It is ridiculous,” explained Pulley, who uses a state-licensed processor. “I live within minutes of Nebraska, but can’t cross the state line to sell meat there without violating state codes. However, my customers can cross the state line into Wyoming to purchase meat from me.”

Since there are no USDA licensed processors in Wyoming, Goertz said they are forced to take their beef to Colorado for processing. “When we got into direct marketing seven or eight years ago, we decided we wanted to be able to ship meat across state lines. Finding a processor that you can trust, will do the job you want him to do, and still be cost-effective is very hard to do,” she said, noting they went through a number of processors before finally settling on one in Kersey, Colo.

Pulley said many processors are only willing to do so much for producers who direct market meat. “If I tell a processor, I want 12-ounce pork chops two-inches thick, and shoulder roasts in four-pound packages, they should be able to do that. The bad news is they usually give you what they want to, and what is easy for them,” he explained. “It is a real problem in the business.”

Pulley said he settled on a processor that is only 10 miles away from his farm, but he has sacrificed having the meat packaged a certain way, in favor of the processor’s standards. “Their attitude is they are doing my processing as a favor to me,” he said. “They are used to processing meat according to what the (grocery store they supply) wants.

“Some processors are just not used to meeting specifications for custom processing,” Pulley continued. “My problem is, if I have to travel further to get my hogs processed, it will increase my cost significantly. If I take four to five hogs at a time to Eaton, Colo, I have to take the hogs down there, go get the meat, and then make a third trip for the rest. I would have 1,000 miles just to get four or five hogs processed. Someone has to pay for that.”

Goertz and Pulley both agreed more processors are needed in Wyoming. “Instead, we just keep losing processors,” Pulley said. “This is one of the challenges a producer has to face if he is direct marketing meat. In our situation, we have no problem raising hogs, but professional processing is a real problem.”