Gary Gretencord is a crop farmer. He lives in one of the most rural counties in Indiana – Benton County. So, how does he run a successful side business selling meat products processed on his farm?
"You've got to have something unique," he says. "If you've got something that people like and that they can't buy anywhere else, they will come to get it."
His number one product is pork barbecue. People like the taste, he says, and it can be frozen and then prepared later. He also makes and sells pork burgers and brats, amongst other products.
But they're not just regular pork burgers or brats. He sells various flavors of each.
The business traces back to when Gretencord did catering and made barbecue. He doesn't do much catering today, but it's how he developed a reputation for his pork barbecue.
When he decided to make meat products a secondary business, he constructed a meat processing facility and made sure it met health standards.
One advantage he enjoys over someone raising their own animals, having them butchered and inspected at a local facility and then selling the meat is that he buys his meat. He only buys the cuts that he wants to make the products he needs.
If he wants to make pork barbecue, for example, he purchases loins from a local butcher shop known for quality meat that is state-inspected. Only buying what he will process eliminates the chore of moving products that don't sell as well, like jowl bacon, hocks or even ham steaks.
One problem that has hampered farmers trying to sell meat to restaurants is that there are only so many pork chops or loin chops in an animal. Someone else must be willing to buy the rest of the meat in one form or another to make a profit. That's a potential pitfall Gretencord avoided.