Sunday, December 23, 2012

The real costs of Hogs

This post comes because of some recent "spirited debate" that I have been having with folks.  Some folks in Eastern Colorado have expressed concern about our pricing.  So, I am going to attempt to break down our pricing and philosophy here.  Let's start with input costs.  Our hogs are outside year round.  In the warmer months they have acreage to roam.  In the colder months they are in their pen.  Their pen is fairly good sized, I would say roughly 65' x 32' vs about 10' x 15' in commercial operations. So, they have room.  Because they are in a large area year round, they gain weight very slowly, because they are active.  Which is why our meat is so lean.  It takes us about 9 months to get a hog up to market weight, vs about 5 to 6 months for the commercial operations.  Our hogs just don't sit around all day confined indoors breathing ammonia, with their head stuck in a trough.   They have a forage crop in the summer and we supplement in the winter.  So, because they are active it takes more feed.   I get the argument, a lot, about how much cheaper it is at the sale barn.  So, let's address that concern.  When you go to the sale barn, you have no idea what you are getting.  Large hog producers have contracts to fill.  They sell to major companies like Hormel, SeaBoard and Farmland.  So, their hogs are spoken for long before they are even born, which...chances are...is not at their facility.  Which leads us to the point I am making.   When you go to the sale barn, where did your animal come from and what conditions was it kept?  Chances being pretty good, you have no clue.  You are always welcome at our place.  You can see first hand how things work around here.  So, let's break down costs some more.  A trip to the sale barn is an all day or most of the day event, depending on how close you are to one.  So, how much is your time worth to you?  What about fuel to drive to and fro?  What about a way to transport your new hog?  Don't forget that just because you go to the sale barn, doesn't mean that you are going to come home with something, you never know.  Now let's compare this with our place.  You can come here if you like.  You are always welcome.  You know what conditions the hogs are kept in and you know what they are fed.  We give no antibiotics or hormones.  The best part is, you don't even have to leave your house.  Just pick up the phone and call me.  Let me know what you want.  I will load it and transport it to the butcher.  All you have to do is pick it up when it is done.  You get the meat cut and prepared the way you want it.  You can also come pick it up yourself.  We give a discount for that.  You get healthy lean meat that is the way you want it and it is going to be better and cheaper than what you buy in the store.  Starting this spring we will also be offering individual cuts that will be priced competitively with the grocery store.  I hope this clears some things up.-Chris