Delivering Meat and Building Trust with Consumers

Farmer Grade is a new business idea birthed out of the rise of social media. Sawyer Whisler, a farmer from southeast Iowa, wanted to do something different while selling meat directly from the farm to consumers. He wanted to build his business based on earning the trust of consumers.

“Okay, well, what if I started a direct-to-consumer meat business that was focused on the story of the farms, and all the farms that we work with are showing people what they do every day through social media? It’s more story-based meat, 100 percent transparent meat raised in America rather than selling people just strictly on the claims. And so, we started with our farm first, ‘This’ll Do Farms,’ selling our pork directly to consumers. I looked around the farmer landscape of social media brands, and we weren’t the only ones that were showcasing what we do on our farm every day. There are a ton of other farmers doing that, but they just don’t have the infrastructure nor the desire to start their own meat business. They just want to farm and make content, so that’s where Farmer Grade comes into play.”

He says Farmer Grade offers farmers incentives to do business with them.

“We work with the most well-known livestock farmers in America and help bring their beef, their chicken, their pork, to the marketplace and partner with them. We pay them a premium price for their product so they won’t get more than what they get if they take it to a packaging plant. We do all the hard stuff behind the scenes with the direct-to-consumer meat, and the consumer wins. They’re informed. The farmer wins, as they’re getting paid more than where they would traditionally. American butcher shops winning. We’re winning, and it’s just kind of a win-win across all fronts.”

Whisler talks about how Farmer Grade facilitates the sale of meat from the farm to the consumer.

“We have processing facilities that we work with. We strictly work with American family butcher shops that are USDA-inspected. We have a handful that we work with, and we have the farmer bring their animal to the processing facility. We pay them full market value for their cattle plus a little more for them bringing traffic to Farmer Grade from their audience and we decide what cuts we want. We decide what’s going to be thrown in the box, and then we can pack every single order in our own warehouse.”

Farmers are reaching out to them to see if Farmer Grade would source their beef. Whisler says potential partners must meet their transparency requirement.

“Farmers and Ranchers, they’ll reach out and say, ‘Well, I’m doing this. I have this many head of cattle. I’d love to work with you. I love the mission and story that you’re trying to do with Farmer Grade, and I love to work with you.’ But then we asked the question well, do you have a social media following? Are you showcasing what you’re doing? Because that’s foundational to us. That’s our number one, thing that we require every single farmer we work with, you got to have some sort of social media to make it work. And so, if they don’t have that, we just say, ‘Hey, we’d love to work with you in the future, but you got to start showing what you’re doing on social media.’”

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