2/5/24 Our 2024 schedule for mobile butchering is filling up! If you would like to be put on a waitlist for potential cancellations or openings, please fill out this form. We look at cancellation requests the month of your requested month to see if an appointment becomes available. For 2024 requests, please text 616-893-2384 with details of what type of animal and how many and the approximate month you’re looking for harvesting and someone will get back with you.
How It Works
Our approved harvesters have limits of how many animals we can receive a week and that pushes their harvest schedule out several months, make your appointments early! Feel free to contact more than one to see when they are scheduling animals. If you are bringing less animals than what you originally scheduled for or are double booked with two harvesters, please contact the harvester so other producers have a chance to bring animals in.
Below is a list of harvest options for both USDA inspected and Not For Sale options. During peak season, it may take months to get your animals scheduled, so call as early as possible. We coordinate weekly deliveries of the animal carcasses. We do not accept self-kills or drop-offs.
**By choosing BCM as your processor, you and your customers are consenting to receive text messages concerning your order & pick-up information to the number provided by you. Keep in mind that standard message and data rates may apply and you can always reply STOP to opt out of future messages.
USDA Inspected Harvesters
These animals will be inspected by a veterinarian before being harvested. These plants are inspected daily by the USDA and swab tests are made on the kill floor. Your product labels will receive a “legend” (USDA stamp or “bug”). With a legend included, you will have more selling options. Your animals can be sold in portions (halves, quarters, etc.) or by piece at farmers markets, restaurants or on-line. These animals can also be donated to food pantries or used for public events. Please note that each harvester charges their own kill fee and trucking fee which will be reflected in you or your customers’ final processing total from Byron Center Meats unless otherwise noted by the producer. Call your harvester to inquire kill/trucking fees.
*BCM Custom Mobile Butchering
616-893-2384 (Beef, Pork, Bison) – please text 616-893-2384 with details of what type of animal and how many and the approximate month you’re looking for harvesting and someone will get back with you. If we confirm the number of animals within 14 days of your appointment, and there are less animals at the actual appointment, you will be charged up to 50% of the charges for those “no show” animals.
Tap HERE to be added to our waitlist for potential cancellations.
Curious how the process works? Watch our video HERE.
DeVries Meats – Coopersville, Michigan
616-837-6061 (Pork) Email questions to email@example.com
Curious how the process works? Watch a video HERE.
Fillmore Beef – Holland, Michigan
Pease Packing Corp – Scotts, Michigan
269-626-8891 (Beef, Pork, Lamb, Goat)
West Michigan Beef – Hudsonville, Michigan
616-669-1212 (Beef, Bison)
Not For Sale – Custom Exempt Harvesters
These animals must be sold as live animals (designated for customers’ individual home use) before being harvested. They cannot be sold as pieces or donated. The meat will be labeled as “Not for Sale.” The advantage of on-the-farm kill means no live trucking and less stress on the animal. During peak season, it may take months to get your animals scheduled. Call as early as possible.
BCM Custom Mobile Butchering
616-893-2384 (Beef, Pork, Bison) To be put on a waitlist for potential cancellations, please fill out this form. For 2024 requests, please text 616-893-2384 with details of what type of animal and how many and the approximate month you’re looking for harvesting and someone will get back with you. If we confirm the number of animals within 14 days of your appointment, and there are less animals at the actual appointment, you will be charged up to 50% of the charges for those “no show” animals.
What Happens Next?
Weights and Customer Information
As soon as we receive weights from the harvester, we will send you the information via email, text, or phone call.
You, as the producer, are responsible for sending our processing office cutting instructions and/or customer names and cell phone numbers. Please send customer information via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org on or before the day your animals are harvested. Even if you don’t have all the customer information or your animals are not yet in our facility, sending information is a huge help! We want to make sure your customers have enough time to make educated, informed decisions about their meat investment, without feeling rushed. We send reminder text messages and ultimately call your customer if they have not responded to our texts or have a landline phone.
Hang time requests will be noted and we will try to honor them as best we can; however, due to our very full schedule — we may not be able to fulfill your request.
Send in information sooner rather than later to give our processing office more time to contact your customers. Giving late instructions does NOT result in a longer hang time for your animal. If we do not receive instructions from either you as the producer or your customers in time for processing, the order will receive a standard cut.
Please encourage your customers to use our website as a resource to learn about processing, what they can get in their order, and to place online instructions.
Using Our Collection Service
We offer a free collection service to collect money payments for you from your customers. When you email us your customer contact information, also tell us the price per pound you want us to collect and from whom. When your customer comes to pick up from Byron Center Meats, we will require them to bring in a check/money order for your specified amount. The customer will be required to pay that amount in order to pick up their meat. We cannot change or add a collection amount to cutting instructions that are already in production or already processed. We accept personal checks, cashiers checks or money orders on your behalf. We no longer accept cash for this service as of 1/15/21. You or your designated representative are responsible for picking up your checks within a week of us notifying you that all customers have picked up their meat and paid you. No partial collection pickups are available. This collection service is not available on market animal purchases from fairs.
Byron Center Meats has been family owned and operated since its beginning in 1946. Our president, Steve Sytsma, and our business manager, Doug Sytsma, are the grandsons of Gerald and Gert Sytsma, who built the first “locker plant.” Steve and Doug’s father, Jim, is semi-retired, but still involved. Several of Steve and Doug’s kids (4th generation) are also part of our team.
In 2009, Byron Center Meats built a 13,000 square foot addition to the building, including a state-of-the-art processing facility and retail store. Using modern equipment, we offer several options for vacuum sealing, labeling and further processing (specialty products) of your meat. We have a USDA inspector on site daily to ensure cleanliness and safety. We have also received our organic certification. BCM voluntarily conducts third-party audits through Silliker. We are consistently rated with the highest scores possible.
Our experienced processing crew does the custom cutting for home freezers, farmers markets, and restaurants each week. They also work with nationally known chefs to provide cuts for their five star restaurants.
Byron Center Meats Custom Butchering
Our Byron Center Meats Custom Butchering mobile truck (pictured below) is in production on Thursdays. We have our USDA grant of inspection for USDA inspected slaughter. Read a recent article from Michigan State University about “Making It In Michigan” that features our truck. Check back here for progress updates on the mobile butchering truck or email email@example.com and share your contact information to be added to a list of interested producers.
When pricing market animals, producers need to be aware of the costs in raising your animals (You do want to make a profit, right?). Other determining factors may be market prices, Byron Center Meats current prices, your clientele, your product, etc. Listed below are some links to information and pricing tools that can help in setting your price:
- MSU Pricing Freezer Beef Article
- Grain Fed Freezer Beef Pricing Worksheet BCM
- Grass Fed Freezer Beef Pricing Worksheet BCM
- Current Byron Center Meats prices
- Wayland Livestock Auction prices
- Business Planning Research
- Hot Topics in Animal Ag Food Industry
More information about what is required to sell USDA Inspected Meat in your facility below…
The average dressing of beef animals from live weight to carcass weight is 60 percent with a range of 55-65 percent. Beef heifers (62 percent) and dairy beef steers (56-61 percent) will typically be a little lower than that. There are five yield grades for beef carcasses: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Yield Grade 1 is the heaviest muscled and trimmest and Yield Grade 5 is the lightest muscled and fattest. Knowing the exact yield grade is not necessary when dealing with freezer beef but can help estimate the amount of beef one will receive from a carcass. Yields from dairy steers may be an additional 10 percent lower than from beef steers.
Example of Pounds of Beef to Expect
- Live animal weight = 1,200 pounds *63 percent dressing percentage = 756 pound carcass
- Carcass Yield Grade 3 (average muscling and fat cover) = 60 percent yield when obtaining mostly bone-in cuts and 50 percent yield with all boneless cuts.
- 756 pound carcass * 60 percent ~ 453 pounds of packaged beef, mostly bone-in cuts and ground beef
- 756 pound carcass * 50 percent ~ 378 pounds of packaged boneless, closely trimmed beef and ground beef
Source: Michigan State Extension – 2012: Jeannine P. Schweihofer “How Much to Expect When Buying Freezer Beef: Part One” Read the entire article
Uses added nitrates/nitrites to cure the meat. Industry standard. Ham is smoked as one, semi-boneless, piece. It can then be left whole or cut into smaller roasts and ham steaks.
Uses naturally occurring nitrates/nitrites in celery juice powder. USDA procedure has a narrower time tolerance for chilling of these products. Due to this procedure, hams will be broken down into smaller, boneless pieces prior to smoking. They can still be made into ham steaks, but they will be smaller in size. Picnic hams must be cut in half prior to being smoked. **Available for an additional 30₵ per pound**
Labeling Your Product
If you intend to sell your processed meat by the piece at places like a farmer’s market or a farm store, we have a number of options for the labeling of your product.
- We have our own Byron Center Meats labels that are used on much of our custom processing products. It will identify to your customers that the meat was processed at a USDA inspected facility.
- You also have the option of using a “Thank You” label that does not identify Byron Center Meats on it, but will still have the USDA note on the label. Your farm name will be printed on the label along with the identity and weight of the cut.
- Your final option would be to have your own custom labels made with your farm name, logo, etc. Depending on the quantity of beef you process, this may be an excellent way to go. The initial investment would be approximately $2,000 and would provide you with 60 rolls (36,000 labels). One beef processed equals about one half of a roll of labels. For more details on labels, feel free to contact Pam at Kent Butcher Supply (616-534-4050). Your label would be submitted to the USDA for approval before being used in production.
Pricing Your Product
Another option that we offer is pricing of your product. If we are provided with a list of the various cuts and the price per pound of those cuts at the time your animals are harvested, we will include the price per pound and the package price on each package. This allows you to bring your product directly to market, saving yourself considerable time. Good communication is key here. If your prices change, you need to inform us with each new order.
Building Your Brand and Growing Your Business
Are you looking for ways to grow your business or “Build your Brand”? Studies show that the #1 thing consumers want to know is where their meat comes from. They want to know who the farmer is, how the animal was raised, and that they are supporting the local economy. They want to feel good about the meat “from the farm to fork.” You, as the producer, are the best promoter of your own product. You control the feed, monitor the health and raise the animal. Selling points to highlight include: your product being local, being fed a vegetarian diet, humanely handled, antibiotic free, growth hormone free, grass-fed, being a specific breed, etc. Pick the things that are true for you and get the word out. Are you willing to guarantee the quality? If so, tell them that.
Consider encouraging your customers or potential customers to visit your farm and have them pick out their own animal. Consider having potential customers talk with current customers for a good referral. Refer customers or potential customers to this website for downloadable processing guides that they can look at before they give their customized instructions or better yet include links in your marketing directly to our “Custom Processing” page.