We had a RECORD awesome summer this year with beach days galore, tons of vitamin D to go around, trust me Im the first one on the beach in the summer, we grew up going to the beach as our “get aways” cheap and easy to bring 4 kids to the beach and let them tire themselves out (I’m sure that’s what my mother thought).
This year was a rough one for those of the 4 legged variety and those of the 2 legged variety that care and tend to the 4 legged.
Ill cut to the chase – I’ve had to raise my prices, seriously killed me inside!! I had to keep reminding myself that one of my principles in which to live by and run my business by is that it has to be SUSTAINABLE – its a big word, but to me that means it has to be financially feasible at least in the foreseeable future, Im all good for putting some upfront “investment” time and money in, but Im not into subsidizing projects out of the goodness of my heart (call it heartless if you want, but it doesn’t serve anyone long term).
So I finally did it, I finally raised my prices and here is why
1) cost of hay went from 8 cents a pound to 16-18 cents a pound
2) Fuel prices are going up – trucking animals to and from the butcher (I keep my fuel prices down because of my unique logistical structure as well as by using an abattoir that is attached to the butcher they are one in the same.) But they are still going up
WARNING: the next one may shock you (see explanation below)
3) Corn prices are going up – lack of corn production in the states
You are probably thinking I’m crazy for suggesting that corn prices are affecting grass fed beef. Well I’m here to tell you they do, and it goes back to economics 101 simple supply and demand. Since there was such little rain (and if you don’t live on a farm you probably didn’t realize REALLY how little we got, maybe your lawn was a little brown – but you didn’t get to see the cows thinning out in the field because the grass just wasn’t growing fast enough, and didn’t have to spend 10,000 on a well because you ran out of water, or spend 6,000 on hay just to supplement you through summer and fall to get to winter – and then buy more hay to get you through winter).
Needless to say there as very little rain and subsequently very little corn and hay (and other crops too, but this is regarding cattle prices, so I’ll just stick to the relevant ones). When there is very little corn, conventional farmers must pay more to feed their cattle, and thus the price of beef goes up. When the “market” is paying more for beef, they are not picky where it comes from, they are paying everyone more, so if my super duper awesome grass fed organic farmers are going to get a good price at the stock yards they will do it, as much as they farm for the better good of human kind, and are committed to it even if they ship it into the assembly line right along side Mr corn muncher number 2349877, they need to ensure their operation makes money and rightly so. So when me – the distributor and marketer of the “good stuff” wants to go to them and tell them I’ll pay you 2.50/lb on the rail (when that was a perfectly good price just 1 year ago), it just doesn’t cut it anymore because the price of conventional beef has gone up to more than that (that’s buying it from the farmer, before any butchering, shipping, packaging or marketing or logistics is taken into consideration). That farmer will tell to hit the road because he can get a better price for it somewhere else and then all of a sudden… poof – there goes all my supply!!
So I’ve raised my prices to ensure I can pay farmers at LEAST what the market is paying, and sometimes a premium if the market is low, the ideas is to keep it stable, and to reward those that are doing the right thing and farming for our health. After all is said and done, paying more for a better product is a pretty simple concept, but it doesn’t always seem that way. I know those of you that are my customers or future customers and who are committed to your health understand this philosophy – thank you for being crusaders for health in your communities, and putting your resources where your mouth is!
I wish you all a healthy and prosperous 2013!!
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