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Pandemic increases demand for locally raised beef

A local farm in Clinton County has seen an increase in the number of customers who want locally raised beef.

Posted: Feb 15, 2021 12:47 PM
Updated: Feb 15, 2021 1:39 PM

CLINTON COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) —Jared Orem is the third generation to operate Orem Farms. Orem is a fireman at the Lebanon Fire Department but raises cattle on his family farm.

“We are a freezer beef operation primarily, we sell beef by quarters half's and wholes,” said Orem. “We’re a direct farm to fork.”

Prior to the pandemic, Orem Farms provided freezer beef for local customers.

“We’re getting a lot of repeat customers,” said Orem. “Our business has really grown.”

Prior to the pandemic, the Orem family began advertising to sell their freezer beef using social media.

“We started advertising on Facebook, Instagram, and stuff like that,” said Orem. "It was not uncommon to put out an ad prior to the pandemic and to get 50 calls.”

Orem says the trends have changed recently.

"The trend before the pandemic was definitely back to farm to fork, but it wasn't to the scale that it is now,” said Orem. “People are very concerned with what they're eating."

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Orem saw a drastic increase in the number of people who wanted to purchase locally raised meat.

“Definitely COVID has changed how people are trending back towards private food operations,” said Orem. “People are getting their beef and their pork and other meats directly from farms.”

When the COVID-19 shutdown restrictions began, the Orem Farm quickly became busy.

"I spent the next three days on the phone trying to get people scheduled out because I had a smaller base than of customers," said Orem.

Orem operates a hale baling business, which provides feed for the cattle during the winter months.

“It’s not uncommon for us to go through over 100 bales of hay a year,” said Orem.

“Our cattle are 90-95% grass-fed,” said Orem. “We do use a little bit of grain that comes right from our farm.”

Orem said the cattle are also given a little bit of grain every couple of days. The grain comes directly from the Orem farm.

“We do grow crop as well and we get our seed from Beck’s,” said Orem. “So we harvest it, it all goes into our big wagons, we grind it up and then we feed it in small amounts every couple of days to our cattle.”

Orem said when the grain is mixed in the wagon, it’s mixed with a supplement called Total Feeds.

“The supplement just gives them some extra minerals that they don’t get from the hay,” said Orem. “It helps maintain health, regulates body temperature, and helps their baby calves develop better.”

Orem knows the pandemic has changed how people are spending their money.

“People are planning ahead and spending their money in different ways than they did prior to the pandemic,” said Orem.

When you buy freezer beef from Orem farms, Orem wants customers to know that he eats the same meat he raises on his farm.

“I eat the same thing that I sell to other people,” said Orem. “I’m not going to do anything to my cattle that would be detrimental to the beef and unethical in any way.”

When customers buy freezer beef from the Orem Farms, they’ll be in contact with the owners directly.

“We’ve since set up our own website, Orem Farms,” said Orem. “I’ll be in contact with you directly to let you know the process and let you know how we do things,” said Orem.

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