New funds help specialty pork and beef processors grow their businesses

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Carroll and his wife are first generation producers, starting their own pork production business, then the processing plant, from scratch.

“I’m 25 and my wife is 26,” Carroll told DTN. “We built this facility without a bank loan. It was a start. We did liquidation purchases for equipment and worked hard to build a clientele and a farm. Our goal is to be able to control the quality of everything we sell. the farm. We know that consumers should go out of their way to buy from us, and without consistent treatment, we cannot give them the quality they want.

The Carrolls work with other producers in the area and today sell halves and quarters of pork and beef. Once federal inspections are in place, they will take the final steps, such as submitting labels for approval to begin marketing these products wholesale to other retailers, with whom they already have relationships. The long process to get to this point, Carroll adds, has been frustrating. But he is committed to achieving it.

“Previously, the plant we have was a federally inspected goat and lamb processing plant,” he explained. “We have redesigned it to be able to process beef and pork, and we will use these funds to help improve the infrastructure so that we can process more economically.”

Once all the work is done, Carroll said, their handling capacity will drop from about 6,500 pounds per week to 12,000 pounds per week. Currently, he noted, they process more beef. On the pork side, they mainly want to produce and sell value-added products in the future. Carroll pointed out that on the pork, they don’t inject their bacon, preferring to keep it really salty and hardwood smoked. The process takes about three weeks.

The beef they process is now sourced from a local farmer and is grain / grass fed. Steers are harvested between 1,200 and 1,300 live pounds. The pork comes from the Carrolls seed farm, a Berkshire-Mangalica cross that they worked for nine years to develop. Going forward, Carroll said, they plan to work with another producer who will take the feeder hogs and finish them, bringing them as slaughter-ready hogs to 300 to 325 pounds.

This year’s awards spanned 42 states including: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont , Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

– To find out when the next round of applications is due for the USDA award under the Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant (MPIRG), visit: https://www.ams.usda.gov/….

– To find out more about the processing plant or the Carroll farm, visit their website: https://thepasturepig.com/….

The Niche Meat Processor Support Network website can be found here: https://www.nichemeatprocessing.org/….

Victoria Myers can be reached at vicki.myers@dtn.com

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