Fairwillow Farm: A Small On-Farm Pork Processing Facility
Rodney Schroeder of Canton, KS received a 2001 SARE grant to begin a pork processing facility on his farm. This new facility would allow Rodney to directly market his hogs to individual families, small grocery stores and restaurants. The project also assisted in creating a marketing plan that would not only interest the consumer, but also determine a way to produce the pork in a manner that is both environmentally and economically sustainable.
The first step in the grant process included having all of the necessary permits and water tests before any construction or renovation could be performed. Due to a limited amount of space, Rodney decided that the best way to assist his business was to have the pork products slaughtered, cured, and cooked at a local processing facility so that he could focus more on cutting, grinding and packaging the pork products.
Renovations and additions were made to two existing buildings in order to meet OSHA regulations. Equipment such as a meat saw, processing table, meat grinder and required sinks were added to the processing room. The other building provided room for storage, a customer service area, restrooms, and an inspector’s office.
The marketing strategy focused primarily on using the farmers market and food co-op as a way to contact customers and create a mailing list. The Land to Hand Alliance and the local Farmers Market Association also provided contacts and shared valuable marketing tactics to help ensure the success of the small business.
Rodney seems to be pleased with the success of his operation so far, as the value of one hog averaged to be about $360. The marketing of these products has improved the return on each hog and familiarized him and other producers with the information that is necessary to create value-added products through on-farm facilities.