Using Technology To Sell Meat Shares: Tips For Farmers

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If you raise cows, pigs, or other animals for meat, selling 1/4 and 1/2 portions of animals to buyers is one of the best ways to make a profit. These days, many customers want to buy locally raised meat and to feel closer to their food, so there's quite a demand for meat sold in this way. It can be challenging, however, to find customers, orchestrate the sale and butchering, and make sure you are paid completely and on time. Technology can make this easier, but only if you know how to implement it! Here are a few tips for using technology to sell meat shares.

1. Create Mobile-Ready Digital Contracts

When you sell someone 1/4 or 1/2 a cow, you want to sign a contract with that person to ensure they commit to paying you and actually picking up the meat from the butcher when it is ready. If you have to print out a paper contract, mail it to the customer, and expect them to return it in the mail, this can take a week or more -- and you may lose the customer in the meantime. Being able to create and sign a mobile contract will allow you to make the sale formal immediately after finding an interested customer.

There are several mobile-ready digital contract creation apps that will allow you to input a standard contract and then modify certain terms in the contract on the fly before you and your customer sign it. Consider designing a standard contract with blanks you can fill in with the date, portion of animal purchase, amount owed, due date, and purchaser's name. Once you fill these items in and have the buyer sign the contract, the app should email both of you a copy for your records.

2. Send mapped instructions to the butcher.

One of the struggles of selling meat shares is deciding how you will get the meat to the buyers. In most cases, it's easiest to have buyers show up at the butcher shop and pick up the meat themselves. But buyers may be hesitant to do this if the butcher's shop is a significant drive away or hard to find. Use a maps app to send them detailed instructions that they can input into their navigation app, giving them specific instructions to the shop. 

3. Have the buyers email you butchering instructions.

Your buyers will enjoy being able to specify how they want their particular share of an animal butchered. However, passing the instructions on to the butcher over the phone -- the old way to do it -- can be a struggle in these days when people screen their calls and barely talk on the phone. To make life easier for everyone, email your buyers a PDF form with butchering instruction options. Have them fill it out and then send it on to the butcher for them. This will cut down in situations in which the butcher is waiting to process the animal but can't because the buyer has not called with instructions yet.

4. Send pictures and infographics about various cuts.

The first time or two that someone buys a portion of an animal from you, they might not know what the various cuts are or how they are used. Trying to relay this information in words can be tough. But if you can find just a few photos or infographics that show a "map" of the animal or descriptions of how various cuts are used, you can forward these to your customers for their information. This will save you from having to answer questions like, "What is top round steak?" over and over again.

Selling meat shares is easier than ever, thanks not only to an increased interest in local meat but also to technology that makes signing contracts and passing on information much easier.