7 Steps to Enter Direct-To-Consumer Meat Market

Mindy Ward Editor, Missouri Ruralist
(Previously published online with Farm Progress: September 21, 2023)

Get your new farm marketing strategy up and running before the holidays.

In recent years, the direct-to-consumer (DTC) market has become trendy, especially in the meat industry. With changing consumer preferences, growing interest in food sourcing and rising e-commerce sales, DTC marketing is proving a viable and profitable option for farmers and ranchers.

DTC meat suppliers were the pandemic winners in 2020, according to a report from Second Measure, a California-based provider of retail analytics. Many of these suppliers were America’s farmers and ranchers.

Despite consumers returning to brick-and-mortar stores, the DTC movement is still strong as people like the convenience of not only shopping for meat from their couch, but also having it delivered to their doorstep.

Entering this market requires careful planning and execution. If you are new to the DTC market, it is hard to know where to start. So, here’s information from Continue reading

How Much Meat Should a Lamb Yield?

Carolyn Ihde, Agriculture Educator for Crawford and Richland Counties, University of Wisconsin-Madison
(Previously published online with: Livestock Division of Extension, University of Madison-Wisconsin)

(Figure 1. Lamb Primal Cuts)

Dressing Percentage
To better understand the amount of edible product expected from a grain finished lamb, the first step is understanding the difference in live weight compared to carcass weight. When a lamb (male or female sheep under one year of age) is harvested, certain parts of the animal such as the pelt (hide and wool), feet, blood, and viscera (internal organs) are removed. The post-harvest hanging weight, known as the hot carcass weight, includes the lean (meat), adipose tissue (fat), and bone. Dressing percentage is the difference between live animal and carcass weight and is influenced by factors such as muscle, fat cover and size, to name a few. These factors help determine how much meat the carcass may yield (Table 1). Continue reading

How Much Should You Charge? Pricing Your Meat Cuts

Brian F. Moyer, Education Program Associate, Business and Community Vitality, Penn State University Extension
(Previously published online: PennState Extension – December 22, 2022)

Pricing meat for direct-to-consumer sales.

It doesn’t matter if you are selling halves, quarters, or single cuts, you need to know your cost of production first. What are your costs of raising that animal from day one until the day of slaughter? In any business endeavor, keeping good records is essential to knowing if you are going to be profitable or not. Once you know your cost of production, there are some tools you can use to help you determine what price you may want to attach to your fine, farm-fresh product.

Mike Debach of the Leona Meat Plant in Troy, Pennsylvania, has a nifty process you can use thatwill help you figure out your costs after processing so you can determine your retail price. For this example, understand that the cost of production will vary depending on Continue reading

American Lamb Pricing Calculator

American Lamb Resource Center
(Previously published online: American Lamb Resource Center – Pricing Calculator)

Recently, I’ve had several conversations with lamb producers that are interested in adding value to their flock. As an example, to better connect them with their clientele, shepherds have investigated selling whole or half lamb carcasses or individual cuts. As this business venture continues to gain traction, I always encourage producers to investigate all marketing opportunities to ensure that they are getting the most out of their labors. The most common question I get when discussing this topic is: “How should I price my lamb”? Unfortunately, I can’t be the one to answer that as each operation is different in terms of overhead expenditures and operating costs. However, there is a tool available to help you in getting a fair price for your efforts. Thanks to the American Lamb Board, shepherds have a pricing calculator that can be used to set a fair market price for your meat products produced. This pricing tool also takes into consideration the live market value of your lamb to ensure that you added efforts of securing a harvest slot, storing meat, advertising, and etc. out weighs the value you would receive on the open market, thus allowing for added value of your end product.

For those interested in using this tool, please see the text provided below from the American Lamb Board. Question upon how to use this tool or how to interpret the results, let me know – I would be more than happy to help!

Pricing lamb – whether from simple or complex cutting instructions – can be a challenge. Tracking lamb produced over time at busy local lockers can also be a challenge. This Direct Marketing Lamb Business Management Tool (DMLBMT) is intended to help the direct marketer monitor productions and price product.

This DMLBMT is comprised of various components:

  • Yield Collection Template (which can also serve as an order sheet for your processor)

  • Yield Tracking Template

  • Cost/Margin/Markup Worksheet

  • Pricing/Cutout Calculator

The following will offer a chronological explanation of how to use the various components of this tool, which will require Mircosoft Excel. Downloads for both the Pricing Calculator Instructions and Pricing Calculator Excel fie can be found at https://www.lambresourcecenter.com/pricing-calculator.