Prices and Value

I’ll try to broach this sticky subject as best I can. Everyone dislikes price increase, and I especially detest companies who price gouge or raise prices simply “because the market bears it.” I consider myself a true-blue capitalist, but also believe capitalism without morals becomes plunder. Dave Ramsey says, “Real capitalism allows people to serve in the marketplace.” At Freedom Acres, our foremost goal is to be financially sustainable in order to keep on serving you.

As you will see if you go to our online order form, we’re implementing winter pricing on milk again, as well as slight increases in some of the cultured dairy. You may ask, Why increase milk prices in the winter? We wrestled with this question as well, but finally concluded that it’s essential to full transparency and an honest cost-based pricing structure.

Due to the cost of hay and significantly lower milk yield in the winter, winter milk production costs are increased by about 40% compared to the warm season when the cows are sustained on grass (plus the higher nutrient content in fresh grass supports higher milk yield). That’s not to say we increase winter prices 40%, we don’t. Due to much lower input costs in the warm season, dairy enjoys a significantly lower cost of production in the warm season which helps to offset the much higher costs of winter production.

Traditionally, cows were seasonal producers, but the conventional dairy industry has changed that via year-round calving and concentrated feeds (grains). In the grass-fed dairy world, we don’t have the option of supporting winter milk yield via concentrates. What’s more, grass-based bovines—both beef and dairy—perform much better when managed in sync with the cycles of nature, which is spring calving and a winter rest period (weaning the nursing calf or not milking for 6-8 weeks prior to the next calving).

Winter price increases will be removed again in April. Thanks for understanding.

You will also see increases on the beef side, which we’re applying due to insufficient margin. If you’ve been on our mailing list for a while you’ll recall the letter we sent in January communicating the financial crisis we were in. At that time we dug deep into our finances and pricing structure to find the profit margin essential to stay in business and pay our debts. With the ongoing assistance of our financial advisory team, we’re still working on finding actual costs of product—including overheads—and found that beef is being subsidized with other product lines, which lowers the overall margin we need to stay in business. Again, failure to accomplish financial sustainability undermines our  ability to work toward true sustainability and regeneration of the land and animals in our care, which then affects the quality of your food. We will continue to offer bulk beef bundles as well as bulk quarter, half, and whole beef, which allow you savings via bulk purchase.

As I mentioned earlier, price is a sticky subject, and the communication of it can be awkward. However, I like to remind people that we place a price/value correlation on everything else we purchase; cars, electronics, clothes, building materials, etc., except…… guessed it, FOOD! We’ve been led to believe that food is best obtained as cheaply and conveniently as possible. As a percentage of income, Americans spend less on food than anywhere else in the world, and that’s applauded as progress. Interestingly, we also “enjoy” the status of having the highest disease rate, as well as the highest cost of medicine. Food should be the last thing relegated to the bottom dollar, as it becomes who we are physically. A Joel Salatin says, “It has become more popular in our society to know who is who in Hollywood than what is to become bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh.” That’s a travesty, and this is The View from the Country.

Quotes worth Re-quoting ~

“Everything you want in life has a price connected to it. There’s a price to pay if you want to make things better, a price to pay just for leaving things as they are, a price for everything.” ~Harry Browne

“There is a price to pay for most of our actions. For every action, there is a reaction.” ~ Giancarlo Esposito