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The Ethicurean: Chew the right thing. » Blog Archive » Unfair fare: Why prices for meat from small local farms are too high

March 31, 2009

Local meat, poultry, and eggs, however, are dramatically more expensive than industrial, often two, three, or even more times so. Are these dramatically higher prices legitimate, in the sense that they reflect the true cost of raising that food?

I don’t think so. I believe very strongly that these prices are as artificially high as industrial food is low.

Here’s why. Local farmers are unwilling or unable to scale up to reasonable production levels, so they compensate for low volume by charging exorbitantly high prices to get their cash flow up. They rely on extortionate profit margins — but remember, their volume is low, so they are still barely making it.

This is not to say that raising meat, poultry, and eggs on a small local scale is not more expensive than on an industrial scale. It is, and no matter how streamlined, no matter how efficient, it always will be. Livestock farming is one area where economies of scale and industrial efficiencies are incredible.

via The Ethicurean: Chew the right thing. » Blog Archive » Unfair fare: Why prices for meat from small local farms are too high.

Perhaps it’s locale, but I paid $2.65/lb for the SOLE 1/4 cow I just bought, and I thought that wasn’t a bad deal. Now my freezer is stocked, and I’m a happy clam.

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