How can anyone, from a backyard hobbyist to a large-scale rancher, go about raising and selling ethically produced meats directly to consumers, restaurants and butcher shops? With the rising consumer interest in grass-fed, pasture-raised and antibiotic-free meats, how can farmers most effectively tap into those markets and become more profitable? The regulations and logistics can be daunting enough to turn away most would-be livestock farmers, and finding and keeping their customers challenges the rest.
Farmer, consultant and author Rebecca Thistlethwaite (Farms with a Future) and her husband and co-author, Jim Dunlop, both have extensive experience raising a variety of pastured livestock in California and now on their homestead farm in Oregon. The New Livestock Farmer provides pasture-based production essentials for a wide range of animals, from common farm animals (cattle, poultry, pigs, sheep and goats) to more exotic species (bison, rabbits, elk and deer).
Each species chapter discusses the unique requirements of that animal, then delves into the steps it takes to prepare and get them to market. Profiles of more than 15 meat producers highlight some of the creative ways these innovative farmers are raising animals and direct-marketing superior-quality meats.
In addition, the book contains information on a variety of vital topics:
- Governmental regulations and how they differ from state to state.
- Slaughtering and butchering logistics, including on-farm and mobile processing options and sample cutting sheets.
- Packaging, labeling and cold-storage considerations.
- Principled marketing practices.
- Financial management, pricing and other business essentials.
This book is a must-read for anyone who is serious about raising meat animals ethically, outside of the current consolidated, unsustainable CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) system. It offers a clear, thorough, well-organized guide to a subject that will become increasingly important as the market demand for pasture-raised meat grows stronger.