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Frequently Asked Questions

Our Process

Why are the Cut Instructions Different

You may have recently encountered our new cutting instructions (CIs) when dropping off your animals or when filling them out on our website. Below we will go over the reasons behind the new CIs and some common Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

Reasons Behind the New CIs

  • Improved customer experience.
    • While we know the adjustment may be difficult for some seasoned customers, we listened to the majority buying freezer beef and pork and understood how confusing it was. Now we can tell farmers and customers exactly what to expect from their order.  The technology experience is simplified and they get their order quickly. Knowing ahead of time what to expect sets the farmer, processor, and eater up for satisfaction. 
  • Quality, Quality, Quality
    • Quality is one of the most important services we offer here at This Old Farm. The new CIs ensure we have a memorizable standard that our butchers can learn and easily execute. This helps decrease cutting errors immensely. If the butcher knows what a “Butcher Basic Beef” cut is, they can memorize everything in that package and make your order correctly every time.
  • Traceability
    • Being a 100% Traceable facility brings some extra complexity and thus costs to the equation. The majority of custom processors do not follow the practice of only giving you back the meat from the animal your farmer wants you to have. Because it is cheaper and more time efficient, most custom processors or freezer meat processors will pool cuts and ground from similar animals, regardless of who the farmer of those animals are. They will then pick your order based on the cuts you requested, and you could be getting steaks and roasts from several different animals. Regulations only stipulate that processors must track the live animals when they arrive at the facility in case one is sick or injured, and must track lots of product through the facility. For example, a lot could be a 2,000 pound bin of ground beef from 10 different animals all from different farmers.  The new CI’s give some systemization to our processes whereas before we may have literally had to walk 2 lbs of stew meat through the entire operation to get it to the right order.  This was traceability with a high price tag.  
  • Cost Effectiveness
    • As costs of operation have increased along with higher than average inflation occurring over the past few years, we want to be able to bring you the same quality products without having to raise prices on all services.
    • Having package deals helps keep costs low by helping to decrease the amount of work our office team has to do to ensure your order is cut correctly. Our Full Custom CIs allow options to be chosen that are mutually exclusive on smaller orders, such as picking both bone-in t-bones and boneless filets and NY strips on a half beef, or picking ham cutlets and ham steaks on a half hog. Having preset CIs for our smaller orders ensures our office and processing teams can be efficient while still bringing you quality meat.
  • Training New Butchers
    • The CIs allow us to bring new people into the world of butchery. Set packages that do not change allow us to more easily train up people who may not have an extensive background in butchery and meat cutting. This means we are able to offer job opportunities to a wider variety of people at varying skill levels, and they are able to succeed in this business. These CIs have also allowed us to successfully train people for whom English is not their first language. This accomplishment was not previously possible with only fully customizable CIs. As a company we are now able to lift up not only our local farmers, but also our local workforce who may not have these opportunities available in other circumstances.
  • We Want to Keep Processing Hogs as a Traceable Facility
    • Many other processors have moved to only processing hogs seasonally, or not processing hogs at all due to the increased slaughter and processing costs when compared to beef. Despite the rising costs, we want to keep processing hogs once a week because we know it is a needed service for everyone, from farmers and homesteaders to 4-Hers and freezer pork customers. Having every whole hog or half hog order as fully customized was exponentially increasing the time it took our butchers to cut those orders, and increasing our costs to process hogs. This ties back to our 100% Traceability program. If we weren’t a traceable facility, we could easily do fully customized half and whole hog orders, but you would not be guaranteed to get the animal back that your farmer wants you to have. All the similar hogs would be pooled like most other processors do, and you would get the cuts or smoked meat you requested from several different hogs that may not have even been processed on the same day.

Common FAQs

  • Why Can’t I Have My Small Order Cut the Way I Want Without Extra Fees?
    • This ties back to our 100% Traceability program. It would be very easy for us to allow fully customized small orders if we pooled all similar animals and picked cuts from that communal pool. But since we are 100% Traceable, it becomes costly to allow every small order to be fully customized without extra fees, because it takes more time to process small fully customized orders than it does to process larger fully customized orders.
      • For Example: 8 fully customized half beef orders would take longer than 1 fully customized order with 4 whole beef. This is because each of those 8 half beef orders could all request different steak thicknesses, different roast sizes, and request different cuts to be kept or ground. A single order with 4 whole beef is going to have fewer variables in their cutting instruction, which means our processing team can process that order more quickly and with less chance of cutting errors occurring.
  • Why Can’t I Customize a Quarter Beef?
    • This is because there is no true quarter of a beef. When you order a quarter beef, you are splitting a half beef with someone else. Due to that we have to make sure that all quarter orders are cut the same. We always have cuts and value-added items like patties available for retail sale if there is something you really want that is not included in the quarter beef standard. It is also very easy to make patties at home using the ground beef from your quarter. Just divide the package into 3 or 4 pieces and hand-pat the meat to get the exact thickness you want on your patty. Making your own patties also saves you some money.
  • Why Do Bone-In Steaks and Chops Cost More?
    • You could think of the extra charge on bone-in steaks and chops like hazard pay. They are less safe to produce and cause equipment to wear out more quickly. Our boneless steak and chop options do not require the use of a bandsaw, which is like a chainsaw for meat. Making these cuts boneless can be done by hand with a knife, which is much safer for our team members as they have precise control over the knife. To keep steaks and chops bone-in, a bandsaw must be used as regular butcher knives cannot cut through bone. In order to cut through bone, the bandsaw must operate at a high speed, which increases the risk of a team member being seriously injured. The blades used by the bandsaw also wear out with use, they get dull. Getting bone-in steaks or chops causes that blade to dull much faster, as there are more of these cuts. On a half beef you could get 18 t-bones and 12 ribeyes if you kept them bone-in, which means the bandsaw must be used more often, which causes the blade to dull faster, and increases the chance of injury to our butchers.  While this may be enough to warrant an extra charge, the addition of additional boneguard and packaging labor further increases the cost to produce.  We experience more leaking packages and additional handling when bone in options are selected.  
  • Why are All My Steaks 1 Per Package? Doesn’t That Cost More?
    • Many custom processors use paper wrapping to package your meat. Most paper wrapping is done by hand, so putting multiple steaks in a package would save those processors time and labor, which is why a lot of them charge extra for fewer steaks per package. Here at This Old Farm we utilize vacuum packaging for all of our products, which eliminates a lot of the time and labor associated with paper wrapping (the equipment does it for us!). We have both a manual vacuum sealer that can handle 450+ packages per hour, and an automatic Rollstock machine that can handle 1,000+ packages per hour. Because of the processes we have, it is actually better for us to have all of our steaks 1 per package. That also means when you go to thaw out your steaks you won’t have to worry about thawing too many, you can pick out exactly how many packages you need each time you want to have steak.

Farmer Questions

Why are My Weights Wrong?

Weight discrepancy is a common question for farmers. Many farmers charge their customers based on the live weight of the animal, and many farmers measure this live weight at their farm before sending the animal in for slaughter. Hopefully this FAQ will help answer any questions about discrepancies a farmer may experience when bringing their animals in for processing.

The live weight I took doesn’t match the live weight This Old Farm took!

Weights taken off site can vary from weights taken at slaughter. We know this weight is very important for our farmers who sell on live weight. While our scale is certified we recognize the weight taken at slaughter is often different from the weight taken on farm.

1. An animal held off of feed will lose weight because the rumen or stomach is voided of its contents.
Animals having voided stomachs or rumens before slaughter is very important for employee and food safety. It is important to shrink the rumen as much as possible so it doesn’t tear, causing a food safety issue, or be too big and heavy for our slaughter team members to remove safely. When full the rumen of a beef can hold 25-40 gallons or more of material depending on the size of the animal, and gut fill can account for up to 25% of their total body weight. This means if you have a beef weighing 1,200 lbs, up to 300 lbs of that weight could be from their full rumen if it is not shrunk prior to slaughter!
We recognize you may need to adjust your price per pound on the live weight to accommodate this loss. Another option would be to charge based on the hanging carcass weight as the scale that takes this measurement is more gently used and there is less variation with the weights.
Please note: The customer does not have less meat, they only have less inedible product (hide, hooves, digestive tract, etc.).

2. Not all scales weigh with the same accuracy. This can be verified through weights and measures reporting which is a no fee service offered if your scales are registered for legal tender. We can help you get in touch.

3. Occasionally our live weight scale goes down and needs service.
It gets a lot of abuse from the sheer weight and strain placed on it by normal slaughter activity. When this occurs we use our hanging weights to offer an estimated live weight based on the industry averages. Hogs are estimated at a 70% yield and beef are estimated at a 60% yield. This is just an estimate and your actual yield will vary based on the breed of animal and how finished the animal is. For example a 100% grass-fed steer will tend to be leaner, and have a lower yield than a more finished grain-fed steer.
You can charge off of the hanging weight which is certified or charge for the animal based on what you need to be profitable.

Weighing animals is more complex than one may recognize. We know a lot goes into the work you do on-farm and you need to get paid for it! We are here to make sure we explain this information to you or your customers in a manner that ensures you get paid fairly for your work.

Common Terminology

What is Dry Aging?

After slaughter, carcasses are split down the spinal column, washed down, tagged with all necessary information needed for 100% traceability, and then put into the cooler to dry-age. Beef is typically dry-aged for 6 to 14 days after slaughter (1 to 4 days for pork, lamb, and goat). Dry-aging is an important factor in getting the best quality of meat. During this process, enzymes in the meat change the muscle fibers, which makes the meat more tender, increases quality of taste and adds to the meat’s juiciness. Most meat bought in the U.S is not aged at all, or sometimes wet-aged for a short time. Wet-aging means that the primal cuts (chuck, rib, loin, or round) are wrapped in plastic and stored at cold, above-freezing temperatures. Here at This Old Farm, all of our beef, pork and lamb are hung in our coolers at 34 to 40 degrees for optimal results. After dry-aging, meat is cut and packaged to order.

What Is “Grain-Finished Beef”?

Grain-finishing has been the common way to raise beef over the last 70 years. The cattle spend most of their life on pasture, and are usually given supplemental feed as well. To bring them to final market weight faster, they are then fed mostly grain during the last months of life before slaughter. Grain finished meat has more fat, which many consumer find to be desirable in terms of flavor and ease of cooking. Unlike 100% grass-fed beef, however, grain-finished beef does not have as many of the “good” fatty acids that promote human health, and instead has more of the “bad” fats implicated in health problems. It also packs more calories per ounce, which contributes to weight gain in consumers who make red meat a large part of their diet.

What Do We Mean When We Say “Non-GMO”?

Non-GMO means free of genetically modified organisms. A genetically modified organism is the result of a laboratory process where genes from the DNA of one species are extracted and artificially inserted into the genome of an unrelated plant or animal. The foreign genes may come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans. In the crop world, non-GMO means that the plant was grown from seed whose genetics were not artificially modified. In the meat world, this means that the animal was not fed with grain or other feed that was grown from genetically-modified seed. Note that non-GMO feed is not the same as organic feed.

What is “Cage-Free?”

Cage-free refers to poultry that is not confined to a cage. This does not mean that it is free-range or pasture-raised, nor does cage-free say anything about the type of feed given to the birds. Cage-free birds may be raised completely indoors in extremely crowded and unhealthy conditions.

What is “Free-Range”?

Free-range refers to poultry that are not confined to cages and are free to roam. Free-range does not mean pasture-raised. A chicken may be free to range in a concrete floor building with access to the outdoors but without access to pasture. Free-range also does not address the type of feed given to the poultry.

What Do We Mean When We Talk About “Pasture-Raised” Pork and Poultry?

When we say “pasture-raised” we are talking about access to the outdoors and access to grass and other plants that grow in pastures. Pasture-raised hogs and chickens tend to be healthier than those raised in confined operations, because they are not crowded together in ways that allow disease to spread quickly. Their manure drops onto the pasture, creating natural fertilizer that encourages new plant growth. However, note that pasture-raised is not the same as organic, and it does not mean that the animal’s food comes totally from pasture. Hogs and chickens need a complex diet, and generally do not grow fast enough on pasture alone, so they are given supplemental feed. On organic farms, this feed must be 100% organic. On conventional farms, this feed may contain GMO grains, or may be non-GMO, but still grown with pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers. At This Old Farm, we feel that getting animals out of confined operations and back on pasture is a necessary first step toward turning around our national agricultural system. We encourage our farmers to use non-GMO feed if at all possible, and we are grateful to those who go the extra mile to become certified organic.


So What About The Recent Buzz That The USDA Organic Standards Being ‘Watered Down’? Is It Hype, Or Is There Reason to Worry? And Am I Better Off Buying Local Or Buying Certified Organic?

It depends on who you ask, but reputable watchdog groups monitoring the integrity of the National Organics Program have raised some legitimate concerns. Most of the concerns center around large corporations that make or market organic foods. For example, dairy giant Horizon Organic came under boycott by the Organic Consumers Association which alleged that the company was not following organic standards. In 2014, the Cornucopia Institute filed a complaint with the USDA alleging that Horizon Organic violated National Organic Program standards in reference to the amount of time their dairy cows spent outdoors on pasture. There are also legitimate concerns over the increasing number of appointees to the National Organic Standards Board who are corporate agribusinesses executives, rather than organic family farmers, as Congress had originally intended. As one watchdog group writes “as powerful food processing interests have increasingly sought to add synthetic and non-organic materials to foods, the NOSB has become a focal point of controversy over what some deem a watering down of organic integrity”.

Still, given the size and rapid growth of organic agriculture and food processing, there is no evidence of widespread corruption of the organic standards or their enforcement, at least at the small farm level. Local inspectors are often small family farmers themselves, and are deeply vested in maintaining the integrity of the organic label. If customers want extra peace of mind, it makes sense to buy organic food that has not passed through far-flung corporate supply chains. Buying directly from small family farmers and food hubs such as ours provides that option.

The debate over whether to buy local or organic is becoming somewhat moot. Consumers are increasingly able to access food that is both local and organic. The benefits of each are countless. Food that is purchased near where it was grown keeps small family farmers in business and money in the local economy. Money that is re-spent locally supports other businesses, creates jobs, and stabilizes communities and regions. Organic agriculture keeps toxic pesticides, modified genes and synthetic fertilizers out of our shared environment. It builds healthy soils that grow more vigorous crops and conserve water. It considers the health of ecosystems. It provides for the raising of animals that have access to the outdoors and are free from added hormones, misused antibiotics, and genetically-modified feed. The benefits of organic agriculture for human health and nutrition are well reported in both the scientific and popular media, and are too numerous to outline here.

Every conversation about food should consider sustainability— of local land and water, local communities, and the family farm. But we also understand that not everyone is able or willing to pay the higher price that is currently attached to organic food. We therefore offer 100% grass-fed, non-GMO, and pastured meats at various price points. We’re happy to answer your questions about our products, and educate you about the benefits of different meats. But the choice of what to buy should still be yours.

What Is Required For A Product To Be Labeled “USDA Organic”?

For meat to be labeled USDA Organic, the farm and 100% of the feed, whether grain or grasses/pasture, and the processing facility must be certified organic. Here’s what the USDA says: If you see the USDA organic seal on a product label, the product is certified organic and has 95 percent or more organic content. For multi-ingredient products such as bread or soup, if the label claims that it is made with specified organic ingredients, you can be confident that those specific ingredients have been certified organic.

The organic standards describe the specific requirements that must be verified by a USDA-accredited certifying agent before products can be labeled USDA organic. Overall, organic operations must demonstrate that they are protecting natural resources, conserving biodiversity, and using only approved substances. A brief summary of requirements is provided here:

For organic crops, the USDA organic seal verifies that irradiation, sewage sludge, synthetic fertilizers, prohibited pesticides, and genetically modified organisms were not used. For organic livestock, producers met animal health and welfare standards, did not use antibiotics or growth hormones, used 100% organic feed, and provided animals with access to the outdoors. For organic multi-ingredient foods, the product has 95% or more certified organic content. If the label claims that it was made with specified organic ingredients, you can be sure that those specific ingredients are certified organic.

What Does “Organic” Mean?

Here is the USDA definition and descriptions of organic: Organic is a labeling term that indicates that the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods that integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used.

The National Organic Program regulates all organic crops, livestock, and agricultural products certified to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic standards. Organic certification agencies inspect and verify that organic farmers, ranchers, distributors, processors, and traders are complying with the USDA organic regulations. USDA conducts audits and ensures that the more than 90 organic certification agencies operating around the world are properly certifying organic products. In addition, USDA conducts investigations and conducts enforcement activities to ensure all products labeled as organic meet the USDA organic regulations. In order to sell, label, or represent their products as organic, operations must follow all of the specifications set out by the USDA organic regulations.

So What Does It Take For A Beef To Be Certified Organic?

It is important to note that 100% grass-fed doesn’t necessarily mean organic. Meat which comes from animals that are entirely or partially grain fed can be USDA Certified Organic as well. To be labelled organic, meat must come from a farm that is USDA Certified Organic, and processed in a USDA certified facility. Organic certification requires a rigorous application and inspection process that covers much more than how the animals are fed. Farms may not refer to themselves as organic unless they have met the certification requirements and paid a certification fee. If you want meat that is both 100% grass-fed and organic, look for both “100% Grass-Fed” and “USDA Organic” on the label. See more under “What Does Organic Mean?” above, or visit the American Marketing Services website or USDA Organic page for more information.

Grass Fed

How Should You Cook Grass-Fed Beef?

Because grass-fed beef has less marbling than conventional beef, it needs to be cooked more slowly and at lower temperatures. If grass-fed beef is cooked too fast or too hot, it will be dry and chewy. This is why we typically cut our grass-fed steaks at 1½ inches instead of the traditional 1 inch for conventional beef.

How Is The Meat Different?

Appearance – Grass-fed beef typically is darker red in appearance, while conventional beef tends to be pink or bright red.

Taste – Often people who buy grass-fed beef say that there is a vast difference in taste from conventional beef. Because grass-fed beef has less fat marbling, some describe the meat as “meaty” or “rich in flavor.”

Why Buy Local 100% Grass-fed Beef?

Ecological Sustainability and Animal Well-Being – Cattle (and sheep) are grazing herd animals. Their digestive systems are meant for grasses, not grains. On pasture, the cattle are able to enjoy the life and diet they were meant for. With proper land management, the pasture doesn’t need any chemical fertilizer and their is little loss in top soil. The manure from the cattle goes back to the pasture as natural fertilizer that grows more grass for the cattle. That is the beauty of grass-fed livestock on pasture.

Because 100% grass-fed cattle are not confined, there is less chance of the spread of disease between animals, and less risk of harmful bacteria contaminating the meat. Studies have shown that E-coli bacteria associated with food contamination outbreaks are common in confined beef, but rare in 100% grass-fed beef.

Health Benefits – Grass-fed beef is considered more healthful than conventional beef for several reasons. It is much lower in total fats, including saturated (“bad”) fats than beef raised on corn or other grains. For example, a sirloin steak from a grass-fed steer has about one half to one third the amount of fat as a similar cut from a grain-fed steer. That means you’re taking in fewer calories per ounce. Grass-fed beef gives you more “good” fats, like Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega 3’s are crucial fats for human health. Their consumption is associated with lower triglyceride levels, a decreased likelihood of high blood pressure, less inflammation, and even some protection against Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

What Do We Mean When We Say Locally Raised 100% Grass-Fed Beef or Lamb?

Although the USDA hasn’t yet released an official definition, 100% grass-fed generally means meat from cattle (or sheep) that have lived outdoors on pasture and eaten only grass or other plants their entire lives, from weaning to slaughter. In cold or dry climates, where grasses and other pasture plants die off or grow more slowly during some months of the year, these animals will be fed hay (or moist preserved plant mixtures called silage) while fresh grass is in short supply.

“Local”, according to the USDA definition, refers to food grown within 400 miles of where it’s sold. At This Old Farm, 99% of the animals we process come from farms within Indiana, and almost everything we sell stays in the Midwest. Shorter travel distances mean fresher food and fewer gallons of fossil fuel to get it to your table.

Note that “grass-fed” isn’t necessarily the same as “100% grass-fed”. Meat that is labelled ‘grass-fed’ may come from animals that were fed corn or other grains for nearly all of their lives, and only finished on grass a few weeks before slaughter. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re not sure what’s in the package. Ethical vendors will be able to tell you the history of the products they’re selling.

Butcher's Basic w/ Addons

For additional fees, you will be able to request premium value-added items such as patties, tenderized loins (think county fairs!), bone-in chops, and more seasoning choices. This option allows a bit more customization access than the Butcher’s Basics Premium. Some options include smoking both your ham and bacon, trying out our other seasonings for your ground pork, and grinding everything except your smoked ham and bacon to maximize your seasoned sausage.

Choose this option if you:

> Have a slightly bigger budget and want value-added items in your order such as quarter pound pork patties.
> Want to try out our smoked ham combo.
> Need more spice in your life and want one of our other seasoning options such as sweet and sassy sage, italian (in hot or mild), or jalapeno.

Butcher's Premium

This option has the same selections as our Butcher’s Basics, except your ham will be ground to be made into our Farmer’s Mild Breakfast sausage and your pork belly (also called the fresh side) will be turned into delicious smoked bacon. Just add eggs and you have a perfect breakfast combo!

Please Note: if your hog is under 200lbs live weight, your belly will be small! It may be left as a whole slab of bacon due to size and to make sure you get all of your product back, but it will still taste great!

Choose this option if you are getting a half hog OR:

> Want our premium bacon and delicious sausage, both made with clean-label ingredients.
> Don’t want to spend time filling out instructions. Like our Butcher’s Basics package, no decision making is needed, you just need to know you want bacon and breakfast sausage!
> Don’t mind waiting a few weeks for your perfectly smoked bacon to be ready for pickup.

Butcher's Basic

Some products included in this package are premium cuts such as the Tenderloin, Boneless Chops, and Baby Back Ribs. With this being the most cost effective option, your invoice will only consist of our standard flat fees and basic processing and slaughter charges. In order to keep this option cost effective, it does not contain any further processed items (no smoked ham or bacon and no seasoned sausage).

Choose this option if you are getting a half hog OR:

> Don’t want to spend time filling out instructions and making decisions. Our butchers already have a set of recommended selections picked for you!
> Want the lowest cost option. There are ZERO EXTRA FEES.
> Want to minimize the wait time for your order. Our butchers know the basics by heart and can process these orders in their sleep, and no smoked product means you don’t have to wait for it to be smoked and sliced!

Full Custom Cuts

This includes, but is not limited to, ready-to-eat products such as bologna and salami, specialty cuts such as St. Louis style spareribs and country ribs, and premium quality services such as specialty labeling of your products.

Please Note: Full Custom orders are subject to certain restrictions based on the size of your order. This selection is NOT RECOMMENDED for orders with fewer than Five Whole Animals. Orders with less than (5) animals PER ORDER will incur a $50 charge on their admin fee for increased handling of your order.

Choose this option if you:

> Are a farmer or retailer that needs precise control over how your order is processed, from nose to tail.
> Are bringing us multiple animals and need multiple processing techniques that deviate from our normal processes.
> Need to utilize our more time intensive services such as rendering fat into lard and making ready-to-eat products.

Full Custom Cuts

This includes, but is not limited to, ready-to-eat products such as  hotdogs and beef jerky, specialty cuts such as tomahawk steaks and flanken-style ribs, and premium quality services such as specialty labeling and in-house grading of your beef.

Choose this option if you:

> Are a farmer or retailer that needs precise control over how your order is processed, from nose to tail.
> Are bringing us multiple animals and need multiple processing techniques that deviate from our normal processes.
> Need to utilize our more time intensive services such as Chuck Steaks and ready-to-eat items.

Please note: Full Custom orders are subject to certain restrictions based on the size of your order. This selection is NOT RECOMMENDED for orders with fewer than Three Whole Animals.
“Orders with less than (3) animals PER ORDER will incur a $50 charge on their admin fee for increased handling of your order. Exceptions apply for our biggest farmers. Are you a regular? Call today for your new bill discount options!”

Butcher's Basic w/ Addons

This cut form gets you all of the classics from the Butcher's Basic and allows addons to be specified too. You will be able to request premium value-added items such as patties, stew meat, and tenderized products, for additional fees. This option allows more customization access for customers processing beef with us in smaller quantities (half beef, whole beef).

Choose this option if you:

> Want minimal customization options for your order.
> Have a slightly bigger budget and want to splurge on a few extra value-added items, like patties or tenderized cuts.
> Want a specific item not offered in our Butcher’s Basics package (think bone-in steaks).

Butcher's Basic

Some products included in this package are premium steaks such as Ribeyes, Filets, and NY Strips; and a variety of roasts such as Chuck, Brisket, and Rump. With this being the most cost effective option, your invoice will only consist of our standard flat fees and basic processing and slaughter charges.

Choose this option if you are getting a Quarter Beef OR:

> Don’t want to spend time filling out instructions and making decisions; Our butchers already have a set of recommended selections picked for you!
> Want the lowest cost option. There are ZERO EXTRA FEES.
> Want to minimize the wait time for your order. Our butchers know the basics by heart and can process these orders in their sleep!

Welcome to Hays Family Farm

Hays Family Farm

Meet the Farmers:

John (1st Generation): The visionary who grew up surrounded by the rhythms of agriculture on his grandparents' farm. After a stint in industrial/commercial AG post-high school, he decided to forge his path. In the early 2000s, he embarked on the journey of raising grass-fed beef. By 2020, a significant portion of our farm had transitioned to regenerative practices.
Jenny: Partner in the farming venture, bringing dedication and passion to the sustainable agriculture movement.
Jordan and Jared: The next generation, adding fresh perspectives and enthusiasm to the family's agricultural legacy.

Discover Hays Family Farm:

Farm Name: Hays Family Farm
Facebook Page: Hays Family Farm
Roots in Agriculture Since 2002:
Embarking on this agricultural adventure in 2002, the Hays family has deepened their connection with the land over the years. Although not a designated Hoosier Homestead Farm, our commitment to sustainable practices is unwavering.

Generational Legacy:

Proudly standing as the 2nd generation on this farm, we carry forward the lessons, values, and dedication passed down from our farming ancestors.

The Farming Story:

John's journey began with a vision deeply rooted in his childhood. Growing up among the fields and livestock of his grandparents' farm, he knew farming was his calling. The path led him to industrial/commercial AG after high school, but the call of sustainable, regenerative farming beckoned. In the early 2000s, the first seeds of grass-fed beef were sown, and by 2020, regenerative practices were taking root across the farm. Today, a harmonious blend of pork, chicken, eggs, and grass-fed beef embodies our commitment to providing wholesome, community-strengthening nourishment.

Sustainable Farming Practices:

Welcoming visitors to Hays Family Farm means offering a glimpse into our regenerative farming practices. Farm tours are a journey through daily adaptive grazing for cattle, where chickens play a vital role in the symbiotic relationship that regenerates our soil.

Mission and Vision:

Our mission is simple but profound: to be stewards of the land, prioritizing healthy soils, vibrant plants, happy animals, and, in turn, fostering the health of our community.

Proudest Accomplishments:

A testament to our commitment is the successful transformation of hay fields and grass-fed pastures into regenerative landscapes. The adoption of regenerative farming practices and adaptive grazing techniques has redefined our approach to agriculture.

Farming Highlights:

Diverse Harvest: From horseradish and herbs to broccoli and tomatoes, our fields have embraced diversity.

Learning from Mistakes:

Monoculture row crops, including field corn and soybeans, were tried and deemed a less-than-ideal venture.

Family Achievements:

Our involvement in FFA and 4-H extends to the next generation. Jessica, part of the second generation, achieved the prestigious title of Supreme Showman at the county fair and went on to become the third runner-up fair queen and a state FFA officer.

A Humorous Farming Tale:

In 2021, the family embarked on the ambitious project of converting hay fields into regenerative pastures, situated prominently near a main highway. The local farming community was abuzz with skepticism. However, within just two years, the success in pasture fertility not only silenced the doubters but also sparked interest among neighbors keen on adopting similar regenerative practices.

Boulder Hill Beef Farm


Nestled upon a hill adorned with monumental rocks, Boulder Hill Beef Farm is more than just a picturesque scene. Meet Morgan Smith, a fourth-generation farmer who breathes life into this legacy. Her heritage gives her passion, her youth gives her the stamina needed to wear the many hats she wears. The farm's name is a nod to its unique location, symbolizing a commitment to both tradition and innovation since its establishment in 2019.

Morgan's Journey: 

Morgan's journey into farming was ignited through showcasing livestock in 4-H. Rooted in generations of farming, her dedication goes beyond routine tasks — it's a genuine passion that infuses life into Boulder Hill Beef. She is not merely a farmer; she is a custodian of a cherished way of life.

Distinct Farming Approach:

 What sets Boulder Hill Beef apart is Morgan's hands-on philosophy. From handcrafting feed bunks to the daily care of cattle, every facet reflects Morgan's labor of love. The farm isn't just a livelihood; it's a masterpiece, intricately woven with dedication and commitment.

Encounter the Cattle:

 When visitors step onto Boulder Hill Beef, their journey begins with the heartbeat of the farm — the cattle. Morgan takes pride in showcasing her livestock, each one embodying her unwavering commitment to their health and well-being. As a fourth-generation farmer, she upholds the legacy of quality and care. She is able to buy backgrounded feeders from her neighbor down the road.

Proudest Accomplishment: 

For Morgan, the pinnacle of pride lies in moments that involve new life. Witnessing the birth of a calf and nurturing it to maturity encapsulates the essence of Boulder Hill Beef. Each calf represents not just an addition to the herd but a testament to the enduring legacy of the farm.

Hospitality Beyond the Pasture: 

Visiting Boulder Hill Beef isn't merely a tour; it's an experience. Morgan extends a warm welcome, sharing not just the cattle but a narrative of tradition, hard work, and an unbreakable bond with the land. Not often do you meet a woman farmer who does it all! From building feed bunks, sorting cattle, combining the carn she uses, making the hay fed to her cattle, to managing her storefront, Morgan's hands were at work.

Partnership and Heritage:

 Boulder Hill Beef Farm takes immense pride in its longstanding partnership with the community. As an establishment with a rich history, the Smith family proudly declares, "We are honored to collaborate with our community, providing quality beef rooted in a tradition of genuine care." Morgan has partnered with This Old Farm Meats and Processing to help her grow the availability of her meat at Farmer's Markets, her own storefront, and through Facebook. Facebook works to sell beef! Check out her Facebook Page.


 Boulder Hill Beef Farm isn't just a place where cattle graze; it's a testament to the passion, dedication, and love that Morgan Smith brings to her farming role. Whether you're a neighbor or a visitor, stepping onto this farm means immersing yourself in a legacy of quality, tradition, and a profound appreciation for the land. Visit Boulder Hill Beef, where farming isn't just a livelihood; it's an art form.

Newby Farm

If you’ve purchased local beef from our retail store here at This Old Farm, it was likely raised by Ed Newby near the border of Clinton and Boone Counties just a few miles south of our Processing Facility. Ed Newby has been a great help to This Old Farm for the last several years, providing beef for our retail and excavating the ground for some of our construction projects. We are very grateful to have him as a member of our farm alliance.

Ed Newby is a third-generation farmer tending over 100 acres of land purchased by his grandparents many years ago. He raises beef on pasture without any antibiotics or growth hormones, using more grain in their later months to ensure good marbling and fat cover.

Growing up on the farm he never realized how tight finances can be in agriculture and how low the profit margins are, at least not until he took over management of the farm itself. All too familiar with the challenge of slim margins in agricultural businesses, we do our best here at This Old Farm to provide Ed Newby with above commodity market prices for his beef so that he can spend a little less time monitoring his cash flow and a little more time ensuring that he has Happy Cattle.

Denny's Grass-fed Beef

Denny’s Grass-fed Beef has been raising 100% Grass-Fed beef at their farm in Pekin, IN (about 30 miles northwest of Louisville, KY) for over 10 years now. They’ve had their product on our shelves since February 2018. John Denny grew up on the farm, which has been under the care of his family for five generations now! As more and more children of farmers choose to pursue careers outside of the family farm, it’s incredibly exciting to be welcoming a farmer to our alliance who has a heritage in farming.

As a child, John actively helped in his family’s dairy cattle operation. After an attempt to grow conventional corn and soybeans in the 1980’s, and selling off the dairy cows in the 90’s the Denny family began raising beef cattle. In 2002 John was diagnosed with Leukemia, which was among the motivations he had to consider raising Grass-fed beef. Luckily after several rounds of chemo therapy and a reconsideration of his and his livestock’s diet, he is doing well. As a Pastor at South Liberty Church in Palmyra Indiana, he sees Grass-fed practices as the best way to carry out the Biblical instruction of land stewardship on his farm. In 2006 he began using rotational grazing practices, and is very proud of the positive impact this has had on his land, and the quality of the meat he produces.

In addition to rotational grazing, John Denny also harvests his own hay and haylage which he uses to maintain a 100% Grass diet throughout the winter. Haylege is very similar to hay, but is baled at a higher moisture content than hay. By baling and tightly enclosing grass at a higher moisture content, a fermentation process is encouraged which can increase the protein content. This higher protein content aids in producing a well-marbled meat that is difficult to obtain with 100% Grass-fed products.

Living Water Ranch

Our primary mission at Living Water Ranch is to steward our resources (our cows, our land, our streams, etc.) in a manner that provides a sustainably healthy alternative for generations to come as we seek to grow healthy Grass-Fed Beef making it available to not only our local community, but abroad as well.

The establishment of the farm, before it became what it is now, is the realization of my father’s childhood dreams of living the pasture rural lifestyle. Coming home from bible school I came on board helping the farm become more than just a hobby farm but a productive operation that functioned as a business. Though our farm is not some sprawling ranch you might picture in the western U.S. having the term in our name is a nod to my childhood days living in Texas. We have two streams that converge on our property, several active springs that pop up here or there, numerous ponds, as well as 5 water wells. Having a name that sheds light on both our geographic water features as well as our personal faith was a no-brainer (John 7:38). Those who believe in Jesus, as the Bible says, "springs of living water will flow from within them."

How we began our farming days was touched on above concerning my parents. However, the choice for me to come on board was a long process. After moving away from Kentucky to attend Bible school I underwent a painful divorce and despite my best efforts I could not move forward in that regard. My father’s health was waning and as an only child I felt the responsibility to help where possible. Moving back to Kentucky I began helping around the farm in little bits with my roles ever increasing. Getting involved again in the community certainly helped but all in all it was the peaceful lifestyle, the hard work, the continual challenge faced on a regular basis, and the interaction with God’s cattle … providing for them an amazing life. Soon we began seeing how we can better the animal’s lives. Soon we learned how to grade them and then improve their body condition. A sleek coat, fleshy curves (not bony), and an animal (or a herd of them) that comes running up to me when I drive out to their pasture … those are the marks of a happy healthy cow (in my opinion).

Hunt Family Farm

Hunt Family Farm LLC is a family owned and operated grain and pasture raised pork farm in Amboy, IN. Father and son Jack and Nathan Hunt represent the fifth and sixth generation of farmers to tend to the operation. Nathan has this to say about Hunt Family Farm:

"What sets our pork apart from everyone else's is the story behind it. All hogs are born on the farm and are a heritage breed combination of 50% duroc, 25% landrace, and 25% yorkshire bloodlines. Our sows and boars have free range to a 5 acre pasture and breed naturally. Once the farrowed pigs reach 25 pounds, they then have free access to the outdoors at all times. All hog feed is made on-site using a blend of our own corn and a byproduct of cold pressing sunflower seeds for oil from our neighbors, Healthy Hoosier Oil. This is a green pellet that includes the shell, hull, and some remaining oil which provides a non GMO feed additive for our hogs. It gives our pork a unique flavor, while utilizing something that would otherwise be a waste product for Healthy Hoosier Oil. We feel that the combination of all of these factors creates a healthier animal that grows slower and produces a higher quality meat.

We hope you enjoy our pork! We are very proud of what we represent and put our heart and soul into our farm every day."

Please support other Indiana Grown members, Jefferson St. BBQ and Eskenazi Hospital, for other locations where Hunt Family Farm pork can be found.

Finn's Steak and Eggs Ranch

If we wouldn’t feed it to our family, we won’t feed it to you. At Finn’s Ranch, our cattle and chickens are free to roam on our fourteen acres of pasture.

It all started as a dream in South Chicago. In 2013, the Finns’ packed up their belongings and moved to a farm house in Buchanan, Michigan. What started off as a few cows for the family turned into a full fledged business, as friends and family clamored for their high quality meat and eggs. In 2015, Sean retired from his day job in the floral industry to become a full time farmer, and his wife, Alejandra, followed suit years later. Their sons, Nicholas and Matthew, play an integral role in maintaining the farm and animals day to day.

Sean Finn and his wife Alex, along with their sons, Nicholas and Matthew, run the farm on a daily basis. The family goes to great lengths to ensure everything is fed a natural diet, their cows are 100% Grass Fed and Grass Finished. As well as the goats and lambs. The chickens, the ducks and turkeys for Eggs and Meat are fed Non-GMO feed and have full access to all of our pastures. The pigs are also fed a Non-GMO feed and have access to pasture. Finn's Ranch has Grass Fed Certified Pastures, Animal Welfare certification and MOSA organic.

Our farm is a labor of love and we do not cut corners in order to bring you the best local meat the mid-west has to offer.

JL Blacker Farms

Jeff Blacker and his wife Shelly own and run a 63 acre family farm with their son Brenton and daughter Bailey. JL Blacker Farms is a name you will see on many of This Old Farm’s pork and chicken products in our retail storefront. They joined our Farmer Alliance program in 2015. Living across the road from This Old Farm, Jeff was skeptical about raising grass-fed meats without the use of preservatives and additives, and thought it was a fad. He was a hard working farmer doing things the way he always had since he was a small boy and he was resistant to change. But after time, Jeff and Shelly watched This Old Farm grow, seeing healthy, vibrant people who obviously cared about what they ate, drive out to rural Colfax from all over to buy healthy meats. He began to realize that locally grown, healthy food was not a fad, but here to stay. And since then he and Shelly have been in the process of changing how they farm.

They started using non-GMO feed, free of growth hormones and antibiotics for their animals. Jeff learned from books and materials written by the renowned farmer Joel Salatin how to best use the land to raise their own food and maximize the quality of life for his family and his animals. They are converting their farm over to pasture, and will eventually fence in the whole property so animals can graze freely. Jeff plants a rye cover crop to retain the soil on his land, making organic matter and adding a natural positive nitrogen effect instead of spraying chemical nitrogen to improve the quality of his soil so that his grasses can grow optimally. He is proud of being one of the only full-time farmers in Perry Township his age who is also selling products recommended by someone else. He believes that the large industrial farms and massive machinery of today disconnects farmers from the land, which can result in devastating consequences such as the recent Monsanto Round Up Class Action Lawsuits. Jeff said that the United States has lost 8000 farms since 2015 showing that conventional farming methods have not helped rural families sustain a living on the land. Jeff believes that farmers must create their own markets to be profitable and sustainable.

Jeff and his family love their work producing fresh meats and they want to help others, who are committed to buying local and knowing their farmer, to cultivate a healthy lifestyle. The mission of JL Blacker Farms is to sustain the next generation, encouraging people to eat better and feel better by eating naturally grown foods and locally raised and processed pastured meats. Jeff and Shelly are pleased with the way This Old Farm processes their pork and poultry using vacuum sealed packages with labels that attractively showcase their products, allowing them also to develop their own market through Facebook, Craig’s list and the farmers market in Whitestown. Jeff said they would not be doing what they are doing without collaboration with This Old Farm. For more information, the website for JL Blacker Farms Family Meats is

This Old Farm

In 2001, the home farm ground was purchased outside of Darlington, IN. It was purchased with the thought of better understanding what it takes to farm while being able to raise children that had the opportunity to grow up in the country, learning how to work a full day. One of the first things to arrive on the farm were 3 Katahdin ewes and a ram. There was no business plan, nor thought of making this a full-time ag business. Over time, the love of the land slowly chipped away at the pull from corporate America and a steady paycheck. In 2009, a processing facility was purchased to get pastured pork, lamb, grass fed beef, and pastured poultry to, what I saw as, a growing market. I knew we needed to be able to provide a meat product with none of the additives used in the conventional meat stream.

As my knowledge in the agricultural industry grew and my actual farm time shrunk through the expanding processing business, the farm diversification model changed. While I handed off the responsibility of growing pastured pork and grass-fed beef to other local farmers, we kept our sheep flock growing. That original sheep flock grew and grew to what we have now, which is 200 ewes, giving us a near year-round supply of lamb. We are primarily a grass fed and finished operation rotating on green grass in the warm seasons and feeding a mix of haylage and hay in the cold season. We supplement with non-gmo corn when we need to meet higher nutritional needs. We offer a mineral mix formulated for sheep.

Through the years we have discovered that our Katahdin lambs are sought by an ethnic market that likes the smaller lambs we produce. In 2019, we processed our first group of lambs under a Halal exemption at our processing business and would like to see this market grow. Our goal is to be able to have individuals or businesses select their lamb that is then walked into the facility with minimal stress and processed in a manner, just like the last 2000 years.

We sell Anatolian Guardian Dogs

Call or email today to place a deposit on our next litter. $700 females $500 males

We sell Live slaughter lambs for your next festival or celebration

$3.30/lb Call today to put down a $50 deposit. We will have a date to come pick up from the farm within a month.

We sell fully cut and processed 100% Grass Fed lambs raised on pasture.

$3.30/lb plus processing dependent on your cut choice.

We sell Bottle Lambs

$150 each. Your kids will love the experience of creating that perfect lamb from "Mary Had a Little Lamb". Call or email today to get on our winter or spring list.

We sell Feeders

$150 each. Want something to mow some pasture? Get on our spring list for feeders.

We sell Katahdin Sheep Breeding Stock, Ewes and Rams. Let our superior genetics help you start your sheep operation.

It is breeding season on the farm. Two rams have been fitted with their marking harnesses and the ewes have been brought up from the fields out back. Each week, we will bring the ewes through the chute so we can record who has been bred and what their expected lambing dates are. The farm has roughly 300 ewes being bred this season by a couple rams. Whewe that is a whole lot of daily activity by our rams! Every few years we cycle a ram out and replace him so that we keep varied genetics. One of our best rams is therefor ready for a new home.

Romeo the Ram

Romeo is a large Katahdin ram weighing in at 250 lbs. He sustains on grass or hay and produces a good crop of grass-fed lambs each year. We are selling him for $750. Please call (765) 324-2161 if interested or email

We also have a yearling ram lamb available for $500. He was kept back from one of our best ewes and should make a great breeding ram for years to come.

At TOFI Packing, we offer USDA inspected Beef, Hog, Lamb and Goat harvest, and further processing. This means you can sell anywhere in the USA. We love to see your farm business grow. Are you a beginning farmer with new livestock? Are you transitioning a new generation back to the farm and looking to be able to direct market your product? Are you proud of the unique way in which you raise your livestock and want a processing partner that can help you tell your story? If so, we are the right partner for you. We love to highlight what you do on your farm by offering many USDA approved label claims. You will be greeted by friendly people when you call to schedule your appointment. We train all of our staff on livestock harvest and processing so you can have all of your questions answered. Being farmer centric while promoting integrity, knowledge, and quality is what makes TOFI Packing stand out as the leader in 100% traceable livestock harvest in the Midwest. TOFI Packing was started by a 1st generation farmer and many of our employees raise livestock as well. We know farming is hard and we are here to help. Integrity is the cornerstone of our business. Because our facility is 100% traceable, you know that your customers will be enjoying the meat you raised and ONLY your meat. We don't pool grind and therefore can add "raised by" on your packages. Again, we know how much time you spend raising livestock the best you can and we are here to harvest your livestock with humane handling and integrity. We offer first class rollstock packaging for all of your meat cuts that beautifully frame your cuts of meat. Give us a call to find out more and book today.

Not A Big Business? Not A Problem.

The kids enjoy a game of Tug-of-War

Our desire in the beginning was to provide healthy food for our family and friends. Though our little farm helpers are all grown up now, our commitment to families hasn’t changed. We love supporting youth in agriculture. Are you a 4H family, FFA member raising livestock, or simply working to create a vibrant hard working family that can feed themselves? If so, we are the right partner for you, as it is exactly where our owner started when she brought home her first 3 Katahdin ewes.

Have an idea you want us to try?

At TOFI Packing we specialize in R&D runs for established and emerging meat brands. We specialize in co packing for regenerative, local, regional, and organic brands. We can help your product dreams become a reality. We have friendly staff that help you navigate the R&D process. Give us a call today.

Did you purchase from us or your farmer?

You can submit cutting instructions to tell us how you want us to cut your meat.

Need to purchase a side of beef, pork, or lamb? Get in touch with us.

Some say there are no periods in our VAG.................... In Memory of Kendra Rairdon, she may have moved on from TOFI but she lives on in our hearts and in our acronyms.

Add some value to your cuts

At TOFI Packing we offer a wide variety of value added goods to diversify your meat offerings. Many of us in the meat world end up with too much ground product. To help you have more ribeyes or pork chops to sell, we produce items such as cotto salami, uncured smoked sausages, jerky, uncured bacon and so much more to use up some of the trim product that would go to grind while diversifying your product offerings. We primarily utilize all natural ingredients and minimally processed seasonings in our value-added production to compliment your grass fed, pasture raised and/or regenerative based operation. Taste tests have proven that most people chose our naturally cured bacon over bacon containing added nitrites and nitrates even if they are NOT health conscious. Our staff is ready to help delight your customers with new products. Download our list below. Give us a call today.

Looking for freezer beef/pork?

At TOFI Packing we can provide kill and chill services for your livestock operation, butcher shop, or further processing facility of your choosing. Do you already have a processing facility but need livestock humanely harvested and primaled? Do you need a facility to harvest your livestock organically? TOFI Packing can provide humane harvest efficiently. Studies have shown that many gain efficiency by separating the harvest from the processing and letting different facilities do what they do best. While we pride ourselves in our 100% traceable facility from harvest to package, we are a team player and are happy to work up and down the value chain. Give us a call to learn how we can get livestock harvested and into bins for pick up or delivery.

Need help with branding your business?

At TOFI Packing, we offer Co-packing services for local, regional, organic, and regenerative meat brands. We have all of the systems setup to help you navigate the niche meat manufacturing space. Whether your brand is established and looking to grow or your brand is just starting out, we can help. Our brand services include: R&D, Consulting, livestock harvest, local livestock sourcing, co-packing, portion control, and more. Let us help your local, regional, organic, or regenerative brand grow or let us help make your local, regional, organic, or regenerative brand dreams come true. Give us a call today.

Looking for a place to process your animals?

Give us a call or click "Reserve Spots" below to schedule your livestock today. If you have 1 animal or hundreds out on your pastures, we want to be a part of achieving your farming dreams.

Just need help figuring things out?

At TOFI Packing we have great resources in our people. Most of our employees farm or come from a farming background. We also have experts in the local, regional, organic and regenerative niche meat manufacturing space. Are you a farmer trying to develop a direct to consumer market? We can help. Do you have a family member trying to find their place on the farm? We can help with that. Are you just getting started out farming? We can help you lay a good foundation. If you’re an experienced farmer in a bind and need some suggestions for a way forward, we can help there too. Give us a call.