BUYING A PIG
There are three different weights commonly used in animal sales: Live weight, hanging weight, and final weight.
Live weight is the self-explanatory term used to describe how much the animal weighs alive and intact. “On-the-hoof” is common expression used to describe live weight.
Hanging weight is the term used to describe the animal carcass once the head, hooves, hide, and organs are removed – and the carcass is hanging in the cooler. One rule of thumb is that hanging weight is 72% of live weight.
Final weight is the term used to describe the combined weights of the finished cuts. Additional weight has been lost through water loss and close trimming of bones and fat. Final weight is about 60% of live weight OR 80% of hanging weight.
Example: 250 lb live weight pig = roughly 180 lbs hanging weight = 144 pounds of final cuts
Please note that these are rules-of-thumb. Every animal is different with varying amounts of fat, bone and gristle.
How much do you charge?
Our price is $2.34 per pound live weight. Each pig is weighed on-farm just prior to loading for transport to the processor.
Do you charge more to buy a half?
No, at this time the cost is the same for a whole or half share in the live animal.
If I buy a half, what happens to the other half?
It is preferred that you partner with a friend or family member to half a pig. Barring that, often we can partner individuals interested in buying one half. At the time of processing, the processor will divide the pig equally and package separately for each buyer.
How do I pay for my pig?
We require a $100 deposit at the time the pig order is placed. You will then be given an invoice for the remainder of the cost once the live weight is determined. Payment in full must be received before delivery the processor. We accept cash, check, and PayPal.
Do you sell individual cuts?
At this time, we only sell the live animal by the whole or half. Selling individual cuts requires special licensing and infrastructure that we do not currently have. We hope to expand this portion of our business in the future.
Are processing fees included in your price?
No, we are not allowed to include the cost of processing in the sale of the pig by law. We are selling a live animal directly to the consumer who must pay the processor directly when they pick up their meat.
How much does it cost to get a pig processed?
Fees vary depending on the processor. A general guide for processing costs is as follows:
$25 kill fee
$0.50 / pound of hanging weight (most processors have a minimum weight that they charge for
Example: 250 lb live weight pig = roughly 180 lbs hanging weight.
$25 kill fee + $90 (180 lbs hanging weight x $0.50) = $115 final processing costs
Do I have to use a meat processor?
No, you can pick up your pig directly from the farm.
Can I use the processor of my choice?
Yes, we will deliver to any processor within a reasonable distance at no charge.
I have never used a meat processor before, how does it work?
Most processors will provide you with a cut sheet. You will fill out the sheet to determine how you want your pig processed. This sheet will be dropped off at the same time your live pig is taken. We will assist you as much as possible in this process and you can also contact the processor directly with any questions.
You can get more detailed information on the process at http://www.homegrown.org/forum/topics/buying-a-whole-pig-101
Below are the processors that we commonly deliver to:
Blankenship Farms Meat Processing 423-336-3031
Skillet Hollow Processing (706) 820-1324
B & M Processing (706) 517-3680
When will my pig be ready for pickup?
When you place your order, we will contact the processor of your choice for an appointment. Depending on the season, the processor might have availability within a week. During, peak times, it could be a month or more before there is any availability. The pig is usually ready for pick up around week after the dropoff date.
Note: If your processor cures meat, the time from dropoff to pickup will increase.
How much meat will I actually bring home?
As a rule of thumb, you will bring home roughly 60% of your live weight.
Example: 250 lbs hanging weight x 60% = Approximately 150 lbs or meat in your freezer.
How much freezer space do I need?
A whole hog will typically fit in a small chest type freezer that can be purchased for under $200.
RAISING THE PIGS
How is your pork different from the pork sold in the store?
Our pigs are rotated through fresh pasture on a regular basis, using portable electric fencing. This allows their diet to be supplemented with grass, bugs, and other naturally occurring edibles. They are also given a healthy ration of a well-balanced 100% non-GMO feed.
Conventional pork that is sold in stores is raised inside of large confinement houses, where the pigs are raised in close quarters on concrete slabs. These pigs rarely if ever see fresh air and sunshine. Their diets consists of multiple forms of GMO foods and they are routinely given medications to compensate for the poor living conditions.
Do you use hormones or medications?
We do not use any type of hormones to speed up the growth rate of our pigs. Medications are only used as an absolute last resort. If we identify an animal that appears sick, we isolate it from the group and attempt natural remedies to correct the problem. If these do not work, we will consider using commercial medications, depending on the nature of the illness.
How often do your pigs get sick, since you do not use medications routinely?
We have found that allowing the pigs access to fresh grass and sunshine usually provides all the necessary ingredients for a healthy herd. Our most common occurrence of illness is shortly after birth when a weak piglet or runt is born. It could be argued that medications would make a difference with these animals, but we have opted to let nature take its course in these situations to strengthen the genetics of our herd.
Do you worm your pigs?
We use a product called Basic H as a natural wormer. Basic H is a natural detergent that is added to their water several times a year. We are very satisfied with this product.
GMO INFORMATION (answers provided by http://www.nongmoproject.org/)
What are GMOs?
GMOs (or “genetically modified organisms”) are living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering, or GE. This relatively new science creates unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacteria and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.
Virtually all commercial GMOs are engineered to withstand direct application of herbicide and/or to produce an insecticide. Despite biotech industry promises, none of the GMO traits currently on the market offer increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other consumer benefit.
Meanwhile, a growing body of evidence connects GMOs with health problems, environmental damage and violation of farmers’ and consumers’ rights.
Are GMOs safe?
Most developed nations do not consider GMOs to be safe. In more than 60 countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, there are significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs. In the U.S., the government has approved GMOs based on studies conducted by the same corporations that created them and profit from their sale. Increasingly, Americans are taking matters into their own hands and choosing to opt out of the GMO experiment.
Are GMOs labeled?
Unfortunately, even though polls consistently show that a significant majority of Americans want to know if the food they’re purchasing contains GMOs, the powerful biotech lobby has succeeded in keeping this information from the public. In the absence of mandatory labeling, the Non-GMO Project was created to give consumers the informed choice they deserve.
How common are GMOs?
In the U.S., GMOs are in as much as 80% of conventional processed food.
What are the impacts of GMOs on the environment?
Over 80% of all GMOs grown worldwide are engineered for herbicide tolerance. As a result, use of toxic herbicides like Roundup has increased 15 times since GMOs were introduced. GMO crops are also responsible for the emergence of “super weeds” and “super bugs:’ which can only be killed with ever more toxic poisons like 2,4-D (a major ingredient in Agent Orange). GMOs are a direct extension of chemical agriculture, and are developed and sold by the world’s biggest chemical companies. The long-term impacts of GMOs are unknown, and once released into the environment these novel organisms cannot be recalled.
How do GMOs affect farmers?
Because GMOs are novel life forms, biotechnology companies have been able to obtain patents with which to restrict their use. As a result, the companies that make GMOs now have the power to sue farmers whose fields are contaminated with GMOs, even when it is the result of inevitable drift from neighboring fields. GMOs therefore pose a serious threat to farmer sovereignty and to the national food security of any country where they are grown, including the United States.
How can I avoid GMOs?
Get to know your local farmer. Know where your food comes from. Buy local.