I don’t know if y’all have experienced the same or similar, but I am constantly seeing people begging for slaughter houses. Most are booked out until 2022 already! How are you doing with the lack, and how are you taking advantage of it?
I called in July thinking I was calling in PLENTY of time for a January butcher date. I had to call 5 places and finally got a June 29, 2021 date. . I thought I’d do my butcher on a 20 month old steer...looks like he’ll be 25 months. Oh well. Should be better beef, I was just hoping to not take him through winter. I’m sure at this point it’s 2022 and most people with a date won’t even get a calf until March.
As soon as my calves are born March/April, I’ll schedule a May 2023 date to be sure I can get one.
The small local shops are not making a killing. Ours around here are getting the same to do the butchering as they were a year ago. The problem is that there are so many FEWER due to regulations over the years making it near impossible for the small slaughter facility to compete. The BS to be USDA accredited are absolutely absurd. A small facility can only handle XX number of animals at a time, with some coming in, some hanging for aging, and some going out. Good help is next to impossible to get and it is a D@#ned LONG HARD DAY on your feet doing the cutting. When the whole shut down BS got going with the covid virus, and then meat got hard to find because of the bottle neck with the large processing plants, there were animals that farmers were selling, and glad to not be feeding them any longer, so the small guy got a bargain on a ready to kill beef, and the small plants all of a sudden got overwhelmed as people were looking for places to kill. They were then at capacity and then some. Did you see all the animals that were killed and buried because there were no slaughter facilities to take them? Do you think a farmer, commercial or small time, wants to see his animals shot and put in a pit and buried???? When a hog is ready to go, there is a small window to kill. A beef has a little more leeway.... Broiler chickens have next to no leeway.....
Yet the regulations to do butchering get worse and worse. Start up costs are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars..... Older butchers, who were really craftsmen at the job, were getting out and the younger generation said it is not worth the BS for the hours and the pay. So they closed up. Some were put out of business by the competition of bigger places that made it impossible to meet the lower prices.... then when the bigger ones got all the business and the smaller ones closed, all of a sudden there was a longer wait to get done. And prices crept up. If you employ 2 people or you employ 22, there are certain costs that you have to meet.... so it is better to spread it out over 22 so that you don't have to charge as much per animal.... law of scale.
Then there are all the places that no longer want a butcher shop near them....
I hope all those people go hungry one of these days.
We have always figured a 4-6 month wait and we schedule from year to year. Then on occasion, we could get an animal in on short notice, that say got hurt, because we were regular customers. Now it is impossible.
We booked our steer for March of 2021 May of 2020 and were lucky to get it. We took lambs in and tried to get a slaughter date and they weren’t taking any more. Went outside, got in truck and started calling. A few months ago, we were able to book 3 hogs for August 2021. Hav lambs being born next month. Normally I book slaughter dates when they hit the ground, not even going to try, just take them to auction.
Sounds like Farmerjan’s got it figured out. Having worked for a local slaughter house in southern Indiana almost 50 years ago, i couldn’t have said it better.
Butchering has always been and in our area, still is hard, underpaid work. We buy a beef each fall, local grass fed Galloways! Its wonderful. After several atempts to get our producer to up the price a bit i finally told him “going forward i’ll be paying you $5.50 per lb. (previous price was $4.50) These are hanging sides.
He relented and we’re both happy campers. I haul the sides home a week apart and do our own cut and wrap. (not man enough to do the whole critter at one time anymore)
on the other hand, most Alaskans are familiar with roadkill! Up here we salvage moose that have met they’re demise on someone’s hood!
the process is simple, put your name on the list and when the Troopers call hop in the truck and get after it. It takes most of an hour to knock the guts out in the road ditch and load up the pieces which are usually processed by a group of folks all working together. Lots of Church groups and 501c types get on that list. And a full grown moose will easily rival any steer! In my area we’ll road kill between 150 and 300 per year!!
I slaughter chickens and have home slaughtered hogs. I used to hunt and processed deer. I like using a slaughter facility, we sell pork to a customer, so it is better for us not to do the slaughter. The one we use is USDA. We also take lambs to slaughter, we sell the meat. Going to skip the lambs for awhile, it's too much hassle to get a slaughter date right now. We have a steer going to slaughter in March. Just not equipped to do my own.
I just posted in the Pigs section about this then saw this thread. A family member just dropped off her annual batch of hogs last week at her usual slaughterhouse. Put me in touch with the breeder and we have our orders for the next batch of piglets. But the go-to slaughterhouse is booked until December. I called around a few other local processors and they are all booked for the year. The best we can do is be placed on a cancellation list. There are ten hogs between us and we don't want to rely on chance.
What are folks doing? We are not going to DIY. My neighbor, a bonafide cattle farmer, just sold his current group but passed on keeping back his own steer because he's heard all of the small-scale processors are backlogged a year. A cattleman can't eat his own beef!
I don't think slaughterhouses are making a killing. If they are, good for them! One is currently shut down due to a Covid outbreak. Another had to invest in more equipment but still can't keep up. Some shut down livestock processing for deer season. Some have had to shut down this past spring/summer just to catch up on the workload.
I apologize for the name of this thread. It was meant to discuss what are the people doing to cope with the butcher backlog. And get a general feel if everybody was experiencing the same thing or not. It can be really helpful to know how things are going nationwide, and even internationally. The name was just a pun I couldn’t pass up for this thread. I meant no insult, or to make light, I know most everyone is struggling right now.