With low pork prices, long term storable pork would sell for far

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more than the farmer can get from regular markets for the common products. Retail prices for pork have decreased a small fraction of the decrease in the amount paid to the farmers. Instead of selling the hogs for 9 cents per pound, could farmers and small packing facilities in the midwest process long term storage products that would not require refrigeration such as salt pork, sugar cured ham, bacon, special sausage, canned meat etc. and sell it on the internet? Some old recipes and processes may date back to the time when there was no refrigeration. Can pork be dehydrated, freeze dried etc. without ruining it? Can regular cuts, pork roasts etc. be canned or is this not feasible? Would these products have a decent shelf life? A minor loss of flavor that made a process not viable years ago may be very feasible for meat that would be available now and would still be good in 2 years when no other meat products may be available due to Y2k problems and impacts. This could be a big market it 9 months. The farmers could offer 100 pounds of long term storage pork with a discription of the process offered for $XXX plus shipping with the orders secured by a a 10% deposit. When the meat was ready to ship, it could be shipped with guranteed delivery within 10 days upon receipt of the balance due. An on line marketing system could be developed where pork wanted and pork offered ads would be posted. It is difficult to tell what if any pork offered locally would store long term with no electricity. This would help the farmers survive until prices were higher and would encourage the production of a supply of a type of meat that may be in short supply in 2 years or less. Now would be the time to do it when the market prices are so low to help both parties. Readers would appreciate responses by farmers, and processors who know the processes and costs to see if this concept is feasible. One plant could serve numerous farmers who would share costs or it could be a coop operation. Actually this would be a better investment than numerous stock market investments which are likely to crash as soon as the Asia crisis arrives on our shores, South America collapses, or the Y2k computer problem becomes more apparent to the general public. Maybe someone is already doing this but if so, I have not heard about it. If the concept works, it could be expanded to beef and other higher cost farm products.

-- Steve (sfennel@nettally.com), January 04, 1999


Ever heard of SPAM, Vienna Sausage, bacon bits, Wally World Ham and luncheon meat in cans, Deviled Ham, Chili Con Carne, pickled pigs feet, pig snouts, etc? None of these need refrigeration.

-- SPAM MAN (SPAMMAM@porky.com), January 04, 1999.

Steve, I live in a rural/smalltown area that has a local meat processor. I have done some work for the former owner and have a freind that is employed by the present owners. What you propose would take months if not years to implement. Modern meat processing at even our small local establishment is totally dependent on electricity and refridgeration and lots of it. With the low price of pork many consumers in our area are buying direct from the farmer and consequently the meat plant is running at full capacity now and is booked up for the next 8 weeks or longer. They are not looking for more business. Most of the small hog operations are going to go broke or get out of the business before they are broke. They probably would be the ones that would at least think about your idea.That leaves the larger producers who have connections with the large meatpacking industry. Their markets and connections are already in place.

I don't know if anyone know's the old methods of salt cures and such for a large scale opperation. The USDA rules and regulations which are enforced very strictly by inspectors who are on site continually would probably in itself prohibit such a venture. I have a brother in virginia who was taught by his mother-in-law how to salt cure a ham, he said it was a very involved process, and it was easy to get bad results if you did not do every step exactly right.

-- TJ (trickjames@hotmail.com), January 04, 1999.

Response to Spamman.com We are aware of Spam, luncheon meats etc. but these sell for substantially more than the 9 cents per pound that the farmer recieves and these tend to be high fat cuts. It is also difficult to determine the shelf life of most of these products. Canned ham is often more like $6 or $7 per pound not 9 cents and these prices have dropped little if any as compared to the 80% drop the farmer has suffered. The tip for the waiter serving the meal may approach the selling price of the whole hog which would not be much more than $20 for a 250 pound hog.

In response to trick james, the opportunity to buy from local butcher shops may not be available in the larger cities and when available, the product tends to be the inspected meat shipped throught the normal channels. Years ago, meat was butchered safely before the USDA inspection program was created and that was without refregeration. There were some problems but even today there are recalls of suspect meat that may be contaminated. I agree that inspections may be a problem especially if the meat is sold in interstate commerce. Although slightly off topic, I was told many years ago by an old time butcher that if hamburger was spoiled, there was no question about it and the smell was obvious. I appreciate the response.

-- Steve (sfennel@spamman.com), January 04, 1999.

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