A few months ago, I read about the neatest idea in one of my Acres USA magazine. The article was about this thing called a "meat CSA" and the story featured a farm in Kentucky that did this. By golly was I intrigued... I knew all about vegetable CSA's (which, by the way, stands for "Community Supported Agriculture". Click the highlighted words to read more about what this is, if you're not familiar with it), but always wished the idea could somehow be tweaked to make it work for meat. Raising meat is my specialty, and my passion; the only problem with it is that it involves a VERY high start-up cost. When a single beef calf costs $500 to $700, and broiler feed is almost hitting $800 for a ton (which will only feed 150 - 180 birds), well -- it can be hard to start a meat enterprise up. Compare it all to buying seeds, which are about $2 to $4 for a packet. Beet seeds are cheaper than lambs, no matter how you look at it.
What I wanted/needed was something like a CSA... Customers would pay upfront; either a 1-month, 6-month, or 12-month amount, which would allow me some immediate income to not only buy calves, lambs, chicks, poults, and giraffes (you still awake?), but also give me some much needed income to pay bills and buy toothpaste and socks. The idea is to spread the income out a bit, rather than having it all come in one huge swoop when harvest season rolls around.
So when I read the article about that Kentucky farm, I blasted out of my seat and immediately bought the Meat CSA Guide that these farmers have so clearly laid out. It. Is. Amazing. I printed the whole thing out and regularly flip through it. I may have the farm on hiatus through 2014, but hey, when I pick things back up, this could very easily be what I decide to seriously look into starting.
While reading through my guide for the one billionth time yesterday, it occurred that I should share this treasure trove of knowledge with y'all. You can even get the guide for free now, which blows me away. Not only are these farmers giving out every secret of their business, they're even willing to answer your questions (believe me; I peppered them with my fair share). I paid for my guide at first (they used to charge $10 for their wonderful booklet), but then when they changed their mind and switched to it being free, they sent me a second guide for no cost at all. That's it; I'm impressed. They do still have the option to donate money for the guide, which I like to see (as a fellow writer, I know how much it means to get some sort of payment for your work!), so here you go folks: Go get yourself an awesome guide on how to start your own meat CSA. And feel free to give those farmers a few bucks as a 'thank you' *hint, hint. Nudge, nudge.* Yeah, I'm trying to be subtle here.
Clicking right here will lead you to the wonderful