This is no inexpensive undertaking. While a full-sized market hog can produce about $900 worth of sausage, it costs about $300 to process the pig and $300 to feed it, plus all the miscellaneous costs of marketing, distribution, and veterinary supplies, Alice says. "If absolutely everything goes right, about 20 percent of our gross is profit. In the real world, with imperfect breeding schedules, parasite problems, etcetera, the best margin we've made over a year is 10 percent. That doesn't count paying us for our labor. We count ourselves very lucky if we get paid $10 an hour to farm, and many times we have to take a leaf out of the Amish folks' book and count our labor as part of our profit."
Deirdre Fulton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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