Raising Livestock Sustainably and Processing Meat Locally, Part 2

| 7/1/2015 11:24:00 AM

Planting A Future: Profiles from Oregon’s New Farm Movement spotlights 18 Oregon farms and farm supporters who are committed to a return to ecologically sound agricultural practices. This group reflects the diversity of people, both young and old, who are reshaping our state’s food system and reclaiming our right to eat well. In their stories you will hear how they came to be where they are, learn something about the challenges they face, and share their happiness at the successes they’ve enjoyed thus far. The following profile has been excerpted from Planting A Future.

Read Part 1 of the Lonely Lane Farm Story.

After our brief homage to pigs, Mike, Patty and I returned to the subject of Lonely Lane Farm and the other significant change that took place following the move to marketing natural, sustainable meats.

The development of an on-farm meat processing plant. If that sounds like a pretty significant development, it should, because it is. But from Mike’s perspective, it’s all about vertical integration.

“We always had talked about being vertically integrated,” said Mike, “which for us meant that if we had a cow herd we would be producing our own animals and all of our own feed. So we were doing cow-calf all the way through finished product with all our own inputs. I thought we were vertically integrated. But when we made the switch to this market, the product goes directly from our farm to the consumer. And I realized we weren’t completely vertically integrated because we could raise a phenomenal product to a certain point and then we had to turn it over to someone else and see what we got back. And we did that for awhile.”

Then Mike stumbled into another opportunity that opened the door to what turned out to be a long but fruitful journey. Without realizing what we was setting himself up to do, he managed to negotiate his own processing space in an existing meat processing facility by agreeing to assist them with some USDA planning requirements.

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