The first time buyer might spend some time doing a little head scratching the first time they purchase a whole or half animal for the family or grouped community of friends. The experience can be confusing for someone deciding to go down this path. There are typically three ways that commodities such as ours, whole and half meats, are sold direct to customers.
We will also have individual cuts and smaller package selections soon... Squirrel!
The first way; purchase the product or a portion of the product and then pay for processing separately. We recently had a friend’s parents purchase a half of a steer for his family, surprise gift. Nice! They know we are in business now. The purchase price was around $1,100 for half of the animal. Once the animal was purchased our friend would be responsible for basic processing and pick up at the processor. The seller would drop the animal off at the processor. Well, shocker… packaging, processing, and logistics are not cheap and the family ended up spending about $650 for the course. In the end the total price was roughly $1,750.
The second way and most common; the buyer pays for “hanging weight”. Most novice buyers aren’t aware until they’ve done this once, but hanging weight is not finished weight. Hopefully, the seller is filling the buyer in on this very important information up front. The numbers: typical naturally grown pasture cattle will reach weights very shy of the commercial market (no hormones nor high calorie grains equals smaller and slower beef). For ease, we will use a simple 1,000 pound live steer. To get from live “hoof weight” the processor turns the steer into something very similar to what Rocky Balboa beats up on in Rocky. This is the carcass or “hanging weight” slab of meat. Typically this first processing renders the animal down to about 65% of its original weight. Now that 1,000 pounds of hoof weight is down to 650 pounds of hanging weight. Current prices we found are ranging anywhere from $5.50 to $6.25 a pound for hanging weight purchases. The seller then pays for basic processing and the buyer will pay for any customization (sausages, smokes, and jerky) and additional packaging (Cryovac, exact or smaller measurements). When you add it all up the total of 325 pounds, 650 dived by 2 because it’s a half not whole, then multiplied by $5.50 (cheap end) equals a very similar number to above at roughly $1785. Then shocker, you walk away with much less than 325 pounds of meat.
The third way and the way we do it; is by “finished weight”. The buyer pays directly for what they get. Transparent and upfront! We, Rural Reverie, pay for a USDA certified processor to Cryovac seal your meat in flexible denominations. We will personally walk you through filling out a cut-sheet and answer any and all questions. There are extra charges for some customizations (sausages, smokes, jerky, exact measurements). Now, picking up where we left off of above, we have a 650 pound hanging weight “Rocky” slab... Adrian! It is then processed even further, butchered if you desire, into what is generally eaten by the consumer (roast, ground, steak, etc.). Once again, typically this will then leave the buyer with 65% of the hanging weigh, about 420 pounds. Since the buyer is purchasing a half the buyer walks away with about 210 pounds of finished meat. And math… 210 pounds multiplied by $8.50 per pound equals a very similar $1,785. Shocker, the price was up front and transparent? Make a weird confused face.
Wrapping it all up, pun intended. We believe that none of these are any more wrong or right when it comes to “business”. But we don’t just want your business, we want you to enjoy the experience. We, Rural Reverie, simply believe in making it as easy and straightforward for the buyer as possible. It’s easier to spend $5.50 a pound versus $8.50 a pound or $1,100 plus processing, but in the end the buyer is paying for the same finished meat. It’s simply marketing tactics.
Disclaimer: This article assumes that all cattle weighs 1,000 pounds for math ease. Obviously, some weigh more some weigh less. Also, not all farm and husbandry practices are the same nor are all processors. We ask you to make no assumptions, do homework and Come and See!