The Cash Cow Co-op, a new way to connect consumers with local farmers and butchers

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RENNER, S.D. (KELO) — For some families in KELOLAND, buying your meat directly from a farmer and local butcher is nothing new, but many others are just beginning to discover this local way of shopping for meat. Now a new website hopes to connect these new consumers with local producers. 

“There’s no comparison ever, this is the craziest it’s ever been in all the years I’ve been around,” John Siemonsma with Renner Corner said.

Renner Corner is one of many area meat lockers slammed with new business during this pandemic.

“Especially right now it’s better value for the people buying from the farmer vs. a grocery store just because the prices are so high,” Siemonsma said.

It’s also a way to find another source for meat when grocery store stock is running low. 

“People want to buy, they just don’t know how,” Cash Cow Co-op co-founder Damon Brown said.

Damon Brown grew up working cattle on his family farm in southwest Minnesota. 

“We don’t have a meat shortage, we have a production shortage. It’s not like we don’t have a product, we just can’t get people to process it and get it to people who want to buy it.”

He and his partner Kristine Reiner came up with a new marketing idea to help connect area farmers and butchers with these eager new consumers.

“Just from a marketing standpoint, people are like, where do I find this, where do I find this meat? Who can I connect to?” Reiner said.

The website, called the Cash Cow Co-op, just launched last week and hopes to create a directory of local farmers and butchers with live stock and fresh meat available.

“Whatever way you can get the word out is good,” Siemonsma said.

There can be a bit of a learning curve for people who’ve never bought a hog or a cow directly from a farmer before, but butchers and even farmers can help consumers figure out exactly what kind of cuts they want.

“They ask, I’ve never done this before? And we just tell them, what size roasts do you like, how thick do you like your steak, how many in a package and we just talk it through” Siemonsma said.

The Cash Cow Co-op hopes to facilitate even more of those first time conversations as more families look to buy their meat locally.

“I really just hope we connect people with a product, its not even about us, its just getting families to farms,” Reiner said.

“That’s really the goal is to help others connect,” Brown said.

Next week the website will allow people to sign up for free. Their directory will launch in June and after that, the Cash Cow Co-op will continue marketing these local producers on a variety of digital platforms. 

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