The “hourglass” problem of getting small-farm Vermont meat to Vermont consumers

“Freedom and Unity” for sustainable meat!: Kudos to reporter Kathryn Flagg and the Addison Independent for their two-part series on slaughterhouses in Vermont. Part II looks at the growing market for local meats, the challenges facing small meat producers, and the ways farmers are trying to make meat production more profitable. Money quote, in light of HSUS exposé on Vermont veal slaughterhouse abuse: one local butcher “thinks on-farm slaughter is best for the animals. He said he can see a difference in the color of the meat that comes from an animal slaughtered on the farm, something he chalks up to the lack of adrenaline in animals slaughtered in the normal surroundings.” A movement is under way to relax restrictions on on-farm slaughter and retail sales. (Addison County Independent)

3 Responsesto “The “hourglass” problem of getting small-farm Vermont meat to Vermont consumers”

  1. The processing bottleneck is worse than you think. Because the slaughterhouses are so few they have a monopoly. If a farmer talks to the USDA or State Dept of Ag about problems they’ve seen at the processor the processor can simply cut them off destroying the farmer’s ability to get their meat to the customer. The slaughterer, butcher and smoker can also unilaterally, without notice, retrospectively increase their prices by 36% and there is nothing the farmer can do. Then there is waste and theft at the processor. We had all of these things happen to us within the past year. The farmer is being crushed in the middle. The solution is competition – we need a lot more small meat processors spread across the land so there are alternatives. Competition makes people do a better job because their customers have alternatives. Capitalism works.

  2. kevin lawrence says:

    Adding more legitimate slaughter facilities will also help to professionalize the numerous uninspected facilities that exist. VT Depts. of Health and Ag. never see many of the slaughterhouses we rural people use.  Many are set up to look like deer processing facilities, but they are processing a lot of beef as well.  It’s all under-the-table cutting, not for commercial resale, but the fact is that these are businesses doing hundreds of thousands of dollars of work in the State without oversight of any kind.  I use one every year–and it’s a great facility run by a competent semi-professional butcher.  I believe the State folks leave these guys alone because  there is shortage of places to take your animals for processing.

  3. Our family’s homschooling secret Big Project is revealed – we are building a USDA/State inspected on-farm slaughterhouse and butcher shop here on Sugar Mountain. The other day I discussed on my blog about all the reasons for why we were building our own butcher shop: and how we’re funding the butcher shop out of pocket through bootstrapping and personal loans from other farmers and extended terms with local merchants. I also mentioned that some of our customers are pre-buying next future pork now which gives us cash in hand to pay for concrete and other things. Here are the promised details of how to get free processing, free delivery and save 30% on a pastured pig. CSA Pre-Buys of pastured pork: