Watching feed prices go up and pork prices go down can make value-added product lines attractive for a hog producer. Jim Pierce is a Farm Outreach Worker with Lincoln University’s Innovative Small Farmers’ Outreach Program and owns Of the Earth Farm Distillery, where he raises hogs and sheep, manages an orchard, and manufactures spirits with his partner, Sarah. They feed spent mash from their spirits to Berkshire hogs, and they wanted to add value to their hogs by developing locally made charcuterie (cured meat) products with a group of local producers, processors, and chefs.
“Increasing demand for small farm hogs by serving a growing market for charcuterie sends the message to the producers to continue to raise hogs sustainably,” explained Pierce. “Adding value to pork meat increases the value of an individual animal without increasing pressure on limited resources.”
With support from a $22,157 NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant, the team developed and tested recipes and worked on a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan, which is a USDA food safety management system. Pierce says the HACCP plan was the single biggest challenge. He says a consultant would have been much more economical in time and money. Still, he’s pleased with their progress thus far.
“This grant allowed us to leverage our resources and make larger gains on moving closer to having premium, value-added farm products for sale,” said Pierce. “The group is developing steps to move forward, continuing to pursue developing charcuterie products. Without leveraged funds, our progress would have been much smaller.”
Want more information? See the related SARE grant: