Is there anything better than when a plan comes together?
This is turning out to be even more of a blockbuster year than I expected, and the timing couldn’t be better. If you’re a regular reader of this column, you may already be familiar with my vision to give Florida ranchers a convenient, local, cost-effective way to process their meat while supporting the local economy.
I’m elated to see the vision taking shape before my eyes.
Twelve years ago, I started Chop-N-Block to help hunters process their meat. Then two years ago, I set up a mobile meat processing operation that served county fairs. At the beginning of this year, the next piece of the puzzle was carefully placed when I opened F1 Meat Co. — a professionally run meat processing facility to serve the needs of Central Florida fairs.
I’m especially excited to report that the facility is now officially under USDA inspection.
It’s been bustling since its launch, and we’ve slaughtered and processed at least 650 head of livestock. That number is about to skyrocket because the Hillsborough County Fair selected F1 Meat Co. to be the sole processor of the event in November, so we’ll have another 200 steers/hogs to process in November. We estimate that by this first year’s end, we’ll have processed roughly 1,100 head of livestock.
This month, we’re moving into the phase of marketing our own locally raised meat through a variety of outlets. I don’t profess to be an expert yet, and since the vision is still a work in progress, I’m going to be my own guinea pig and market my own grass-fed beef. When I’m confident that I’ve got any potential kinks worked out, we’ll work with other ranchers and farmers as part of a co-op. I’m getting ahead of myself, but stay tuned for more details on that front!
Suffice it to say that the successes continue to roll out as the year progresses, and I can’t wait to see my plan benefit the Central Florida ag community.
This article is sponsored by Labor Solutions, and the opinions expressed herein may not reflect those of Central Florida Ag News or of its advertisers.
BIO: Baxter Troutman is founder and chief executive officer of Labor Solutions, a staffing company with offices in Bartow, Winter Haven, Lake Wales, Arcadia, and Plant City. You also can visit his Dark Hammock Legacy Ranch online at www.DH-LR.com. A cattle rancher and citrus grower who served in the Florida House of Representatives, Troutman understands the challenges and concerns of today’s farmer.