Quality is King For Local Meat Purveyor
For many people, the effects of the coronavirus pandemic – beyond contracting the actual virus – have been considerable. These include loss of work, depression, anxiety, loneliness, and shortages ranging from toilet paper to fresh meat.
Although not all problems resulting from COVID-19 can be remedied, small business owners like local farmer Bill Smith have made tremendous strides in minimizing the effects of shortages in the area.
Smith, who lives outside of Argos with his wife Glenda, has been raising organic Angus cattle for 14 years.
“We were a grain farm at first, and slowly got into the cattle,” he says. “It’s always been something we wanted to do.”
At 800 head of cattle, the operation at Smith Beef & Pork is anything but small. Nonetheless, Smith is able to maintain healthy livestock rotations on the 423-acre farm. All of the meat goes straight from the farm to individuals and families.
“We slaughter on order only, so it’s always fresh,” Smith says.
Smith only sells prime-grade organic beef, fed on food grown on the farm.
“Everything is grass-fed and grain-finished,” he says.
In the 14 months that it takes to raise the cattle, they are never given growth hormones or steroids.
“If you go with steroids, it gets to be expensive and there are a lot of health issues,” Smith says.
Smith’s customers appreciate his beef’s homegrown flavor and his old-fashioned business practices.
“We have a good reputation,” he says. “There’s a lot of price gouging going on, and we are not involved in that.”
Smith’s pricing late last year was under $5 per pound, and that pricing is possible because of his frugal business practices like growing his own food and processing meat in bulk. Each cent that he can save around the farm translates into discounts for his customers.
“We would rather people be healthy,” he explains. “We don’t have a single bad review.”
Smith aims to give each customer satisfaction from the first time they call in an order. During that conversation, Smith asks whether the customer wants a quarter, half, or whole portion of beef. Depending on the amount of beef the customer wants, they will get a selection of roasts, steaks and hamburger cut into patties or packaged in bulk. On average, a quarter beef portion is about 212 pounds, which would cost a little under $600.
“It’s a big investment,” Smith says. “But [customers] don’t realize that it will last them a year. If you were to take and buy these prime cuts at the grocery store, it’s about $1,700 to $1,800.”
The pay weight is determined after the beef has been dressed and drained for seven days. After the beef is prepared, it is professionally cut according to the customer’s desires. After the beef is packaged, the company delivers the order directly to the customer’s door.
In addition to prime beef, Smith also raises pork by request. Typically, a single order – a whole hog – weighs around 280 to 300 pounds processed.
“Everything is done,” Smith says. “The bacon and the hams are all smoked and cured, and everything is cut up to your liking. It’s $400, flat rate. The pigs go way faster than the beef does.”
The farm is more than a full-time job for Smith and his field hands, who often begin work before the sun rises and continue long after sunset, especially during planting and harvesting.
“I really enjoy it,” Smith says. “I retired from working and I decided, ‘This is all I’m going to do now.’”
To order meat from Smith Beef & Pork, and for more information, call 574-952-2927, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.