Missouri Grass Farmers Now Offer Organic Certified Processing To Family Farms
This month Fruitland American Meat in Jackson, Missouri owned by veterinarian Dr. Patricia Whisnant and cattleman Mark Whisnant received USDA approval for organic certified processing. The Whisnants are grass fed beef ranchers who market their beef directly through their website AmericanGrassFedBeef.com.
Dr. Whisnant shares, We initially sold large cuts of butcher wrapped grass fed beef. Our family soon learned that our customers demanded a dry aged, individually vacuum packaged gourmet product clearly labeled AmericanGrassFedBeef.com.
Most Americans don’t realize the difficulties small farmers face. Our costs to raise and process beef are at least double because we don’t have the economies of scale of factory operations. Plus grass fed beef requires more time and personal attention to bring our cattle naturally to market weight.
Factory processors won’t adapt their operations to meet the needs of family farms. Our products require too much care to be worthwhile to a factory operation which employs predominantly unskilled workers.
Dr Whisnant continues, Our customers wanted assurances that our cattle were processed humanely in a pristine facility under the watchful eye of skilled butchers. Out of necessity, we bought our own processing facility and worked diligently for the past year to receive our USDA organic processing certification.
Ann Wright of the Sustainable Agriculture Commission says,Our research has shown that Americans want to support sustainable agriculture. The key to the success of sustainable agriculture is the survival of small processing facilities which focus their efforts on helping family farms. Without unique packaging and private labeling, families can’t differentiate and receive a reasonable return on their farm niche products.
According to Dr Whisnant,Our facility offers dry aging, custom butcher cuts and vacuum packaging. We even have an old fashioned smokehouse for beef jerky and summer sausage. This week we are thrilled to announce that we can provide organic processing. Our experience combined with our processing facility can help other farm families gain a market advantage.