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ChopLocal offers unique marketing option for smaller producers

Smaller producers can now cut out the middle man and sell their meats directly to the consumer through ChopLocal.

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ChopLocal prides itself on offering farm fresh products right to the consumer and have been marketing their turkey selections as Thanksgiving approaches. Photo taken in 2021 . Emily Beal / Agweek
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ChopLocal, an online marketplace, is now making it easier than ever to buy farm fresh products, directly from the farm. With a wide selection of meats and products, ChopLocal is helping connect consumers directly with farmers, one click at a time.

Once on the website, customers can buy a variety of meat from farmers. Katie Olthoff, co-founder of ChopLocal, says that by showing the farmer that raised the meat they’re buying, consumers are growing in their trust to not just the product they're buying, but agriculture as well.

“What we found was the fact that it humanizes the whole process when the consumers can see who exactly they are buying from. It’s really building trust,” she said.

Smaller producers are able to have a larger profit margin when marketing directly to the consumer as well, making more money per animal sold, which can make quite the difference financially.

“This gives farmers another avenue, another profit center on their farm, which is desperately needed in some farms right now,” Olthoff said.

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Brad Moline’s family has been raising turkey since 1924 and he is no stranger to the turkey industry. His operation is a commercial turkey farm that is an independent producer, and it is part of the Iowa Turkey Growers Cooperative located in Manson, Iowa. He and his family raise around 150,000 tom turkeys a year. Moline is also the vice president of the Iowa Turkey Federation.

“A lot of them end up on your Subway sandwiches or in your local deli meat aisles,” Moline said.

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Logan, Ava, and Coy Moline are siblings that sell their birds on ChopLocal. ChopLocal contributed photo

While Moline’s operation is not considered a small farm, his children have begun raising their own birds and marketing them directly to consumers through the ChopLocal website.

“By people selling on ChopLocal, it gives the turkey industry a level playing field to compete with pork, beef and chicken and offer a unique opportunity to be in the same marketplace as those other meats,” Moline said. “It also offers more options to consumers than they’re going to get at the grocery store.”

Like many industries, the turkey industry is facing some challenging roadblocks that were set in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Moline said one of the biggest is labor shortages within the turkey industry, a problem that is causing all types of meat prices to climb in the grocery store.

In addition, just regular supplies needed on the farm, such as shavings, feed supplies, waterline parts and more have been hard to come by and are on back-order, creating yet another roadblock for turkey producers to overcome.

Though the price of turkey may be on the rise, Moline believes that the overall quality of the turkey is going up along with it.

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“We have a lot of independent producers producing the turkeys, the farmers are taking great care of the birds. The amount of antibiotics being used in the industry is continuing to decline,” Moline said. “We definitely need to let the public know that we are trending in the right direction.”

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