2021 - Volume #45, Issue #5, Page #06[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Mobile Butcher Shops Help Boost Profits
Price-wise, establishing Natural Harvest was a steal. “The costs are a fraction of what a brick-and-mortar slaughterhouse is,” says Prem. “Our current cost is approximately $75,000 for the truck, compared to $1.5 million when we were looking at building a facility to slaughter animals.”
Prem Meats currently charges $140 for a cow and $80 for a pig with a processing cost of .64 hanging weight. The mobile unit is also used for buffalo, elk, and even yaks. After harvesting, the meat is transported back to the company’s main facility to carry out the aging and processing.
Where this unit excels is in its versatility. No two farm harvest setups are the same, so the equipment inside Natural Harvest needs to be easily adaptable to different situations. “There is a whole new level of challenges that only mobile units have to deal with,” says Prem. “It was difficult building a structure inside the truck that would withstand a heavy amount of weight and the movement while traveling down the road.”
Cold temperatures are another challenge, as they can cause the plumbing and equipment to freeze if the unit isn’t well insulated.
The butchering process is notorious for its bureaucratic red tape. Prem and Dobrynski first started Natural Harvest with the intent of working only with animals that wouldn’t be resold to avoid these complications. However, the strong interest in a mobile state-inspected slaughter service caused them to readjust their business model
Says Prem, “We worked countless hours with our inspectors and supervisors to make the unit pass inspection. There was no guidance from the State other than what is written in the code, which applies to brick-and-mortar meat plants. We took what we knew about the requirements that were mandated for plants and made them work in our much smaller 26-ft. refrigerated box truck.”
In this way, Natural Harvest offers customers in southwest Wisconsin a slaughter service that’s convenient, affordable, and humane - all while delivering higher quality, better tasting meat from animals that ended their lives less stressfully than in traditional slaughterhouses.
What advice does Prem have for those considering a similar venture? “Communication between the farmers and state inspectors is key,” he says. “And the people running the unit have to be creative and have a good working knowledge of mechanics.”
Contact FARM SHOW Followup, Prem Meats LLC, Spring Green, Wis. 53588 (ph 608 588-2164 firstname.lastname@example.org; https://www.premmeats.com).
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