Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Buying Local Pork = Job Security!

Much can be said about buying local goods and services; in our case local pork. The most obvious reason for buying local is that it helps the local economy. However, most people tend to think of this as just supporting the local farmer. While I don’t want to give a lesson in economics, buying local can have a profound effect on you, including your own job security, which in today’s market, is a topic on everyone’s minds.

Allow me to give a quick example of how it works on our farm. You decide that you would like to fill your freezer with delicious, mouthwatering pork so you buy a pig from me. With the money you pay me, I take some out for the cost of raising the pig and I put a little into my pocket for my efforts. That pig took over 1,000 lbs of feed to raise if you count the feed that goes into maintaining the breeding stock. I buy the grain from my neighbor and good friend, Rich Holden who farms his land. He buys the fuel for his tractor at the Silver Sage, Vernon’s little general store. He bought his tractor at Hobby Tractors in Pleasant Grove, UT which is also where he maintains it. I also need farm supplies, which I buy at Cal Ranch in Tooele, UT or IFA in American Fork, UT. Since the farm is growing, I am in constant need of building supplies. I buy my lumber at Home Depot in Tooele, UT. The steel roof for my sheds I bought at Metal Mart in Lehi, UT. With all of this running around, my truck needs fuel and maintenance. I use K&S Auto in Lehi, UT for repairs and Les Schwab Tire also in Lehi for tires and shocks. The straw for the pigs is bought from a barley farmer in Palmyra, UT. I also buy a lot of used items on KSL classifieds all of which are from people in the area. When the pigs are purchased, I recommend a couple of the local butchering facilities. I have used Gary’s Meats in Payson, UT, Circle V in Spanish Fork, UT, Carson’s Meat in American Fork, UT, and Hunsaker’s Meats in Tooele, UT. With the exception of Home Depot, all of these businesses are locally based. They all employ local residents. These employees and businesses use other businesses and services for their needs one of which you may own or be employed by. This completes the cycle in which some of the money you paid for your pig eventually ended back in your pocket. Of course this effect also ripples into other communities, states, and countries. Buying local however, will keep the majority of the money in our region and will directly strengthen our economy.

In addition to supporting the local economy, there are several other wonderful benefits that come to mind.
- The pork you buy from me is far superior to the pork you buy at the store even though the cost is about the same. This equals higher quality for your money; for meat you would have purchased anyway.
- Better for the environment as fuel is not being used to haul pork across the country.
- Better for the animals since small farms can cater towards each animal’s needs. We raise our pigs humanely not in CAFOs. When people buy pork from the grocery store, they support the factories (I do not consider them farms) that raise pigs indoors under horrible conditions. Not only is it cruel to the animals, but it produces low quality pork.
- You are welcome anytime to see where your food comes from. We also welcome new ideas which gives you input into your food.
- Last and certainly not least is that when you buy local, you help ensure that food is always available to you. A basic economics course will teach you about a principle known as “Specialization” or “Division of Labor”. This principle teaches that it is more efficient for an economy to have people who specialize in just one product or service rather than everybody try to learn and produce everything they need on an individual level. As you include more people, productivity and quality go up while cost comes down. As the scale increase, entire countries focus on a product or service that they offer to the world. This is fantastic in a perfect world. Unfortunately, our world is far from perfect, with natural disasters, wars, and terrorists etc… This can create vulnerabilities in large geographic regions. Russia was recently in the news when they stopped sending oil to Eastern Europe. Eastern Europe has no other source for fuel. In the US we have seen a late frost or storm wipe out a certain crop in Florida or California and the prices for that crop go way up. We should be cautious that we don’t become dependent on one source for critical items like food. By buying locally grown foods, you can help ensure that food will be available during less than ideal times.
Some people may not like to admit it, but is seems that during hard times, certain foods can bring joy and peace. We call them “Comfort Foods”. Coming home to the smell of a juicy ham in the oven, succulent pork chops on the grill, or waking up to sizzling bacon, can lift our spirits and bring cheer to our hearts in a way that little else can. So whether the economy has you down, or you heard some bad news, Christiansen’s Hog Heaven 100% Berkshire pork will be sure to soothe your soul and bring a smile to your face.

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