At A Glance
|Where:||Cannon Falls, Minnesota|
|Founders:||Ed and Mary Lorentz (parents of current owners, brothers Mike and Rob Lorentz)|
|Number of employees:||45 (2008)|
Don’t waste time asking Mike Lorentz for advice on how to sell meat at a farmers market. “You won’t make enough money to justify being there. It’s great for a hobby, you might even break even. But you won’t turn a profit.” And, he adds with emphasis, “if isn’t profitable, it isn’t sustainable.” For Mike, size matters, even for local food. He sees several “sweet spot” business opportunities for small- and mid-scale meat processors.
At the heart of Mike’s company is a 10,000 square foot processing plant, built from scratch in 2000. It is fully certified by the USDA to process by hand not only cattle but multiple species like bison, pigs, and elk. It’s just about the only plant of its kind in the United States in terms of its moderate size, high number of certifications, and variety of meat processed. It stands midway between mechanized slaughterhouses run by giants like Tyson that process thousands of animals per day and boutique farmhouse operations that process a few dozen home-grown animals per year. Mike believes he is proving that his scale is just large enough to work for small farmers and ranchers.