Real Work, Real Life

Butcher and Farmer

May 01, 2024 Emily Sampson Episode 53
Butcher and Farmer
Real Work, Real Life
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Real Work, Real Life
Butcher and Farmer
May 01, 2024 Episode 53
Emily Sampson

Send us a Text Message.

On this week's episode of Real Work, Real Life, I’m talking with Tiffany Baxter of Backyard Butchery, a mobile whole animal butcher. Tiffany also manages her own farm and a business doing bee removals. This was such a fun discussion, and so much of what we talk about is applicable to any small business owner. If you’re interested in learning more about what Tiffany does, you can find here here: 

If you enjoyed this episode, you might also enjoy two other recent episodes with folks in the broader farming and agriculture space:

Backyard Butchery Website:
Instagram: @backyardbutchery and @freelandfarms

Caite Palmer, host of the Barnyard Language podcast:

Katie Dotterer, founder of Agvokate Agriculture education.

If you like the show, please rate and review on iTunes and Spotify  (linked below) and please share with a friend! You can also follow the podcast on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Tiktok. And if you’d like to be interviewed here, or there is a particular job you’d like to learn about, please reach out at



Transcripts are now available here:

Show Notes Transcript

Send us a Text Message.

On this week's episode of Real Work, Real Life, I’m talking with Tiffany Baxter of Backyard Butchery, a mobile whole animal butcher. Tiffany also manages her own farm and a business doing bee removals. This was such a fun discussion, and so much of what we talk about is applicable to any small business owner. If you’re interested in learning more about what Tiffany does, you can find here here: 

If you enjoyed this episode, you might also enjoy two other recent episodes with folks in the broader farming and agriculture space:

Backyard Butchery Website:
Instagram: @backyardbutchery and @freelandfarms

Caite Palmer, host of the Barnyard Language podcast:

Katie Dotterer, founder of Agvokate Agriculture education.

If you like the show, please rate and review on iTunes and Spotify  (linked below) and please share with a friend! You can also follow the podcast on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Tiktok. And if you’d like to be interviewed here, or there is a particular job you’d like to learn about, please reach out at



Transcripts are now available here:

Tiffany Butcher

[00:00:00] Welcome to real work real life, where I talked to real people about what they do for work and what that means for their lives. Today, I'm talking with Tiffany Baxter of backyard butchery. A mobile whole animal butcher. Tiffany also manages her own farm and a business doing bee removals. This was such a fun discussion. 

I learned so much. And so much of what we talk about is applicable to any small business owner. If you're interested in learning more about what Tiffany does, I'll link her website and social media accounts in the show notes. If you enjoyed this episode, you might also enjoy two other recent episodes with folks in the broader farming and agriculture spaces. 

Katie Palmer, host of the barnyard language podcast and Katie daughter, founder of ag vacate agricultural education. You can find both of those shows in the show notes. So let's get into it. 

Emily: Thank you so much for being here, Tiffany.

Tiffany: Thank you for having me.

Emily: So, what do you do for work? 

Tiffany: [00:01:00] loaded question. So I am an entrepreneur. I started a business called Backyard Butchery two years ago. We just celebrated a two year anniversary this week. Yay! And so essentially I'm a mobile butcher but I'm a whole animal mobile butcher. I come to you. I kill, cut, and wrap your animal. In your backyard on a 36 foot trailer and you essentially your animal was alive that day.

And by the time I leave, it's in packages in your freezer. That is my 1st business, but I also have a farm of my own on the side and also have a B business doing B removals locally in Oklahoma as well.

Emily: Whoa! Wow, that is a lot. What sort of things do you grow on your farm? Or is it an animal farm?

Tiffany: Mostly livestock, correct? Yeah, I raise purebred, registered show quality shorthorn cattle, and I also have UK Gloucestershire Old Spot registered pigs, and I have [00:02:00] poultry. We've got ducks, chickens, I've got one goose and a bunch of turkeys right now. I also have goats and I use a lot of those animals to actually teach butcher classes, as well as sell meat from those animals and fill my own freezer.

The cattle I do show do show some of those animals. So they get sold as, you know, show steers for FFA and 4 H kids. And other than that, that's, that's what I have here on the farm as well as a bunch of honeybees.

Emily: Wow! Okay, that is really cool. I have a million questions coming out of it. But, when you talk about showing your animals, so you are showing them at a fair, right? You're raising them and then showing them? Or you're giving, you're selling them to someone else to show?

Tiffany: I am letting, I'm letting the youth show the cattle.

Emily: Is that a hobby for them? Or are they, do people like, make money out of the showing aspect of it?

Tiffany: You only really make money showing animals if you are like grand champion. And at that point you're spending so much money on that [00:03:00] animal. you know, you're, you're lucky if you're coming even on that. And so essentially what I've done, the reason I got into show animals is because when I was a kid I had someone Offer to let me show their animals for basically free.

They call it a sponsorship. So you were you would take ownership of that animal while you showed it and then you would return it back to the owner unless it got sold in a show, in which case you would split the money. And essentially, that is what I offer. The local kids here in Oklahoma. If I have some cattle that would do well in a show, and I know of an, of a kid that can't afford a show calf, then I can provide that for them.

And if they really want to do it, then at least they can save themselves a large sum of money buying a show steer.

Emily: Wow. how much does a show steer cost? Just

Tiffany: so hugely. I mean, you can spend anything from a few hundred bucks to, you know, 15, 20, 000 very easily just on one [00:04:00] animal. I would say average would be at least 4 to 

Emily: wow. Oh my gosh. Okay. So let's like step back a little bit. How did you get into this? How did you find yourself in all of these lines of work? It sounds like you must be very busy. So just curious. So kind of your background, how did you end up here?

Tiffany: weird because my father's from New York and has no farming background. My mother really, you know, she rode horses, but didn't have much of a farming background. I think it was her father. So my grandfather had a giant garden growing up. And he passed when I was about 9, and then at that point, I started growing my own vegetables in a little raised garden bed and in South Oklahoma City.

And I think I became addicted to growing my own food at a very long age. And, you know, when I was 13 or 14 and junior high, they offer agricultural education as an optional class, and I took it. And next [00:05:00] thing I knew, I was showing pigs. And I was being sponsored to show cattle and I was doing speeches and I really got into that and you fast forward to about 23.

I bought my 1st property and I got a few acres and just I've really been utilizing it. For the last 11 years to its full potential and just now looking to actually scale up. My cattle are on a lease property separate from this. But right now, I mean, I'm running 34 pigs on 3 acres and all of the goats in the poultry here on just a small 3 acre farm.

Emily: Wow. I mean, that is amazing in itself to kind of know that you could have a smaller piece of land and like really make it work for you.

Tiffany: Absolutely. I mean, where there's a will, there's a way. You're not going to run cattle. You're not going to run horses. Really. You could only run a couple of those on something like this, but the smaller animals that you're not keeping for as long, you definitely can cycle through those. If you plan it [00:06:00] properly,

Emily: Yeah. one thing I've noticed talking to other guests is that the sort of programming that's available in your school at various levels for some people really is, It sets the rest of your life in motion. Like you took Spanish in third grade with an awesome teacher, or you deckhanded for your science teacher in the summer in high school on a boat.

Now you're a captain, those sorts of things that it's like, it's some sort of chance and also the sorts of communities you live in or whatever, but they can be really impactful.

Tiffany: they can. As a matter of fact, I went to an FFA gala just a couple of months ago and saw my FFA teacher for the 1st time and. Well over a decade and 15 years, I guess. And she had no idea that she'd had such a profound effect on my life, you know, and you're going, how did you not know, you know, I chose the whole career out of agriculture because of the awesome experiences I [00:07:00] had in FFA.


Emily: Oh my gosh. And this is also like my, periodic call to people to write letters to teachers that made a big difference in their life, because it's really easy for them to loom large in your personal history and for those people to have really no clue.

Tiffany: Right. And I had a bit of, you know, a tumultuous childhood, if you will. So I actually didn't even finish high school or college. So I am at this as an entrepreneur and a farmer with, with no real degrees.

Emily: Yeah. So can you talk a little bit more about like, how did you learn how to do all the things? And did you find that? not completing high school and college has made anything harder for you along the way or has it not really held you back?

Tiffany: I don't think it has held me back any, except, you know, in certain terms, I could learn more about tech. I can learn more about you know, accounting and things like that. But these are all things that I have learned. You can learn outside of college. [00:08:00] Everything you can learn in college in my industry, I feel like can also be learned. At home, and as far as agricultural related stuff, the actual farming, I mean, that's to me, you can't really learn in a book. Anyway, this is all hands on. Like, you know, I was castrating pigs this weekend. I could never have learned how to calculate pigs from a book. That's just something you have to do it to know what you're doing.

Same thing with these same thing with butchering. If you don't have a feel for it, it really doesn't matter how much, you know, in a book.

Emily: Yeah. So did you do any kind of like work for other farmers, work for other butchers along the way, or did you really just kind of make it go for yourself from the beginning?

Tiffany: A little bit of both. So when it comes to the honeybees, I had read everything there was to read that I could and I started in honeybees. And then from there, I just jumped straight into the deep end, starting to do be removals. And I did those. I [00:09:00] still do those to this day, and that's essentially if a honeybee hive gets in the walls, floors, you know, any weird structure they're not supposed to be, I will come and relocate those for charge, of course, and I do a lot of apartment complexes.

Well, there is nobody who's going to teach you how to do that, mainly because from a competition standpoint, the handful of us that do that aren't really teaching the next generation. I. Hate that and there is no real, there really aren't any books on it. A lot of the stuff I see on YouTube has just as much bad information as it does on that subject and, and really around beekeeping as a whole, the bulk of my experience came from working with commercial beekeepers.

Over about a five or six year period all over the country. So I did this crazy thing because I'm a big fan of Tony Robbins. I don't know if you're familiar with his stuff. Robbins will tell you, if you want to learn how to do something, go find someone who's already [00:10:00] doing it. Right. And so my entrepreneurial brain is like, let me go find people doing this.

And I, jumped on like a Facebook forum for commercial beekeepers and basically said, I'm willing to learn and work for cheap. If, you know, There's something that I can help you with. And next thing I knew I was doing pollination contracts. I was you know, learning how to do Queens and breed Queens. We were harvesting semi loads of honey in North and South Dakota and sending these to California to pollinate the almonds.

And that's the bulk of my beekeeping experience. That's where that comes from. And then it just kind of translated back home. Obviously when I started backyard butchery, I quit working abroad. So I can't really be going out of state every month if I'm going to be here doing a butcher shop. So I just stick to the local bee removals now, and that's such a seasonal job, unfortunately, in Oklahoma.

If I were in Florida, I could do this all year [00:11:00] long.

Emily: right.

Tiffany: And that's something, you know, if you're going to do, if you want to be a commercial beekeeper, location is everything. Oklahoma is not the place. Unfortunately, so I will, I'm staying in Oklahoma. So the bee business is just going to be the seasonal business that it's always been here and I will, you know, be branching off into other projects for backyard butchery.

Emily: cool. Yeah. So normally, this is the point where I ask people a little bit about their like pay and how that works. I wonder if you'd be willing to share. You know, maybe kind of general rates that you charge for backyard butchery so that people could get a sense of it. If it feels relevant or you feel comfortable, maybe like where you get your most income now of all the fields that you're working in something like that, just so people could get a sense of what their life might look like if they pursued a career kind of like yours.

Tiffany: Right, I'll say just quickly about B removal. I start at 500 dollars of removal and then I go up [00:12:00] to about 1500 or 2000, depending on how complicated and dangerous that that job is. It's an extremely dangerous job. You need to be charging appropriate amounts of money. If you're able to do that job if you're considering going into that industry.

I would definitely try to find someone already doing that and get a feel for it first because it may not seem dangerous until you get yourself into some of the positions that I have. Butchering is a whole different ballgame. So most butcher shops are pretty close in pricing to mine. The only thing different I have is a mileage fee because I am mobile.

So I'm at 90 cents a pound hanging weight. Now hanging weight means after it's been skinned, gutted, and Head is off. So no high, no hide hooves, guts uh, or skin. So that's your hanging weight. That's about half of the weight. live weight of cattle. That's about 30 percent less on pork about half on, on lamb and goat, as well as bison.

I do beef, pork, lamb, goat, [00:13:00] bison. We're about to do rattlesnakes next month. That's going to be exciting. There'll be a separate charge schedule fee snake, but everything else is 90 cents a pound. Okay, 100 kill fee on beef and I do a 50 kill fee on everything else. Bison is 150 and then 50 cents a pound on the finished ground beef.

And I have like 75 cents a pound for sausage, 1. 50 for chorizo. There's a disposal fee in there. If they want to dispose of it, they can save themselves that, that charge. If they want me to haul it off, I'll charge 100 on beef or 60 for the smaller remnants. And then it's 250 a mile configured 1 way from Hera.

And I want to preface that by saying, or finish by saying that I am too cheap. And a lot of that is because backer butchery is a new concept, and I feel like I probably cheat myself a little bit as being a woman. I'm still having to prove myself in the industry people and prove that [00:14:00] the. Process works, wet aging at home rather than hanging it for 10 to 14 days in a shop.

Emily: Yeah, I mean, I will say, as people think about just being entrepreneurs, I think the setting your own prices and knowing what you're worth is something that. Someone who are really thinking about being an entrepreneur to me, I would find that very challenging. And I think I would find myself in that same position a lot of times where I'm not charging enough.

And then it ends up, you know, it's your livelihood, you need to charge what you're worth. And also it can be harder to raise it once you're started sometimes. So I think for people out there thinking like, I'd love to be a small business owner, I think really wrapping your head around. being willing and comfortable to charge what you're worth, not questioning it, not getting you know, not taking it personally when people question it, because nobody likes to write the check ultimately But yeah, that's, that's interesting to know. Do do you have a sense of what might cause you to charge more, or are you just still in [00:15:00] the trying to sort of prove to people that it's a really good process? very

Tiffany: it should, we should be charging more just because it is a luxury convenience. I handle a lot of animals that other processors could never. So I hold a niche in the market since in Oklahoma and I have to say each state has a different law on butchering.

So I'm going to be speaking about Oklahoma, but each state is a little bit different on their laws in Oklahoma. The animal does have to walk across the kill floor. That means it has to. Walk across the kill floor. If it has a broken leg or any kind of injury where it can't walk, they're not going to process it for you.

Now in the cattle industry, if you're running any number of, of cattle at some point or another, this is going to happen to you. You're going to have one injure itself, hurt itself some way. They're not exactly the smartest animals. They will find a way to hurt themselves and you're going to have to make a [00:16:00] decision.

If it's a broken leg or something like that, that is not something a vet can fix.

Emily: Bye

Tiffany: 90 percent of the time, they're not gonna be able to do anything about it unless there's something like really young, you know, and small and they're still growing and you have a chance to splint it a grown cow with a broken leg is not going to recover.

And so now, as a farmer, you have to make a decision. Am I going to put this animal down and just lose everything from this animal or. If you're able to butcher it, you're at least able to salvage some of that beef. You know, you're talking anywhere from a couple hundred pounds to five, 600 pounds of beef that's edible and sellable as a farmer, at least, you know, that's a, that's a hard hit, but we can soften it, you know, with being able to salvage some of the meat out of it.

And I always joke that I specialize in injured and crazy because your local shops can't take injured stuff. And if you can get it in a trailer, you're not going to get it to a butcher shop either. So, there are plenty of animals [00:17:00] that, they're just nuts. They're just born crazy. There's nothing you can do about it.

They're just not all sweet, you know, fluffy cows. Every once in a while you get a bull that's a pain in the butt or aggressive. And that's not an animal you want to trailer. You also really don't want to trailer something that's already stressed and stressing even more in a trailer, because now your meat is going to be affected by that your meat quality.

And that really is the argument for backyard butchery is the animal is not stressed at all. To me, it's the most ethical way to eat meat is to put that animal. Give that animal it's one bad day at home, you know, without seeing it coming, ideally. And being mobile gives me all of these options. So, it puts me in a niche market and I can butcher stuff other butchers cannot.

I also come to you and you have, you don't have to do anything. So, to me it should be more expensive. I will say average, Shop around Oklahoma is about a dollar a pound, but I [00:18:00] will also say most of the shops have converted to USDA. So there's three tiers of licensing. We've got custom exempt, which is where I'm at, and then you've got state inspected, and then you have USDA inspected.

And each one of those licenses is a different process and allows you to sell your meat differently. So typically speaking, USDA shop is going to charge you more because just The sheer amount of paperwork that they have to go through, they're gonna have to charge for that. They also keep an inspector on site that's inspecting each carcass as they come through.

So unfortunately, I can't do that since I'm mobile. So I'm just at the very bottom. I'm custom exempt. My clients can sell shares. They can sell haves, quarters, holes, however they want. And legally speaking in Oklahoma, there's no law on to as to how many shares per animal. So if you've got a whole thing that you want to sell 100 shares of sausage, you can sell 100 shares of sauce.

However, you can't sell it out, stay out of [00:19:00] state lines or 2 restaurants or grocery stores unless you're at that USDA level. And unless I put a bathroom in an office on my trailer, they told me I couldn't be USDA license and I would have to have an inspector riding around with me. And again. Then I would lose a lot of those injured animals.

Those animals would likely not pass that certification. So I'm happy to stay a custom exempt. That's the choice that I've made. And that helps me stay a little bit cheaper. The 250 miles really not where it needs to be mainly because right now the economy is terrible. I think everyone can agree. Fuel prices are high, but it's not just the fuel.

It's the oil and tires and maintenance. I had to put 6 new tires on my pickup and 2 axles in 1 week. And it was like, 6 grand, 


Tiffany: you know, so that I need to raise that price. We need to be up to like, 350 a mile before we even start making a little bit of money on the mileage fee. [00:20:00] So, essentially, I'm driving.

My time driving is free.

But I feel like as a business owner and as a woman business owner in this industry, I feel like you have to prove yourself before, you know, you can really safely charge that. If I was booked out 6 months, I would be charging more, but I'm still only booking out. I think right now I'm middle of June. So I have consistently since I opened stayed between 2 and 3 months booked out and that is not.

Anything to be ashamed of. I'm very proud of that, actually. But a lot of shops are booking six months to a year out at a time.

Emily: Right, 

Tiffany: Then I feel more comfortable raising my rates.

Emily: yeah, that is a great kind of piece of advice that thinking about how long are you booked out? Because if you're booked out, like Two years, then yeah, you know, you could charge a little bit more and the market would, would bear it. And that period of time, I think that's also another thing entrepreneurially to think about that knowing you might book out two or three months at a time, or maybe someday will be three or four or five months at a [00:21:00] time.

That's going to give you some nice consistency on that business.

Tiffany: Right. And I will say in butchering the, the nice thing about butchery is that pretty much across the board, at least here in Oklahoma, all of the shops raise their prices once a year. January 1st of every year, you'll see a price increase and I think that's just something that's accepted in the community.

And I'm thankful for that, because that gives me an opportunity once a year to raise my prices without any kind of prejudice.

Emily: Yeah, I mean, inflation marches on I mean, unless we're going to decide to pursue a whole different kind of economy, everyone should be raising their rates a little bit and their wages and all those things a little bit, you know, every year. can you talk a little bit about like, what are your sort of working hours? Like, I know it's sort of different for entrepreneurs to talk about work life balance, but do you feel like, are you happy with your work life balance? Like how many hours do you find yourself working? Typically. 

Tiffany: Okay, so I just have to laugh at [00:22:00] this one. My schedule has a life of its own. And I have to also say that I'm balancing a lot of other stuff as well. But as far as the butcher shop, I tried to book three to four days a week. And Each one of those days kind of varies because I only go to one farm per day for a lot of reasons and going to one farm a day depends on, you know, how long I'm there depends on what I'm butchering.

So sometimes Sometimes I'm doing a bison or a cow and that takes all day, you know, and sometimes it's a 300 pound cow and sometimes it's a 3000 pound cow. That's a very big difference in how long that's going to take me to butcher. And then also have, you know, I think this week, like I've got two days where I'm just doing one pig at each farm.

Okay. Well, that's going to be super easy peasy, lemon squeezy. And then there's days that I go and do 10 sheep in a day or five pigs in a day or. So it just depends on what comes in. Unfortunately, my schedule is kind of at the [00:23:00] mercy of what calls come in. I try to schedule it where I have like either a cow or two pigs, three days a week

Emily: Mm

Tiffany: to get me to a weekly average two to 3000 a week is my goal.

If we're talking money wise and I can usually get pretty close going by that. The problem is doing injured stuff. Those are emergency calls and those come in and you have to get to them very quickly before an infection becomes septic and the animal becomes inedible. So although I try to schedule three to four days a week, I also do take those emergency calls and I do charge an emergency fee for that.

And that tends to put an extra load on me. I will also say that doing the mobile butchery specifically I spend at least one of those days working on the trailer. So, like today, there was some rewiring we had to [00:24:00] do. I need to, you know, work on a couple things on the bandsaw, tighten up some stuff.

And it's, it's small stuff, but it adds up really quickly. And when things break, you have to have time to fix them. You can't go out in the middle of a pasture, And not have equipment working properly if your guns aren't cited in or your, winches aren't working properly. How are you going to lift that animal vacuum sealers grinders?

All those things have to be working properly. So there's a lot of maintenance involved a lot of, like, a lot of motors that have to be maintained as well. I have a generator that one of them's being worked on. One of them's working. So a lot of my equipment, I have two or three duplicates for always being worked on. Yeah, so give yourself time for that and just the physical load of that job. You can't I can't physically do this job 5 days a week. And if there are people out there that can do what I do 5 days a week. More power to them. However, [00:25:00] my hands and wrists and back and feet, all of that, and I'm 34 for the record, but , they, they hurt.

So I need physical rest between those days. 'cause those, that day could be a four hour day if I'm doing just like one pig. Or it could be a 14 hour day if I'm doing a big animal. And also it depends on how far I'm driving. So sometimes I'm driving three hours to an appointment. And sometimes I'm driving, you know, 30 minutes to an appointment, I would say average is probably an hour, an hour and a half, but just last week, I think I drove 17 or 18 hours in 3 days and it whipped my butt.

So, you know, doing, I think I did 3 head of cattle and a bison in 3 days and drove 17, almost 18 hours because they were all further distances and I don't do that a lot. That's my own fault for scheduling them back to back to back. But that's why I say the schedule has a life of its own. So there are certain months that will book up [00:26:00] faster.

November seems to be a hot month because it's right before, you know, the holidays and it's right before we go into winter where everyone is going to spend their money feeding their animals. Hey, so like November and March, March is show season. So show pigs and stuff, people are trying to get rid of them.

And those two months we'll book out the fastest. And about this time of year, I book out, I start booking more because animals are being born and then coming out of winter, like we were just. I'd say January, February is about the slowest time when I don't get a lot of as many calls. So it really, really varies.

I think you could be as busy as you want to be, or you could work as little as you wanted to in the mobile industry.

Emily: Hmm. That's so interesting. Yeah. I, the sort of the busy and the slow months, I think is an interesting one to think about for lifestyle too. you know, if you think about like a ski instructor or something, you're busy months are all going to be in the winter. Every single year, you'll be working all winter long and your summers might be off.

So it's like, what, what time do you want to [00:27:00] have? Be a little slower. I kind of like the idea is sort of an office worker of having a slower time instead of a steady all the time it's on, but I'm sure there's moments where it's not as easy having busier times and slower times,

Tiffany: Right now, there's things that you need to consider as well. Like, my equipment doesn't work under about 37 degrees or so. So, this business specifically would be very hard in months that are very cold states that are very cold. And also you have to work outside. So when it's 110 out here with, you know, the dew point is really high.

The humidity is crazy high. It's a miserable job. So I try to take vacations in the heat of the summer and in the cold of the winter. In Oklahoma, I don't know why we have the hottest and the coldest weather at the same time. It's like, it's just rude, honestly.

Emily: just lucky, I guess.

Tiffany: Right. Yeah, but [00:28:00] that's something to consider.

You know, I don't know that this business model would work as well in, you know, far up north. I know the licensing is even, you know, the licensing is different. Like, if I did this business on the east coast, I don't even think most of those states I would need a license. because the animal doesn't leave the property, those states, I know for sure, like New Hampshire, Massachusetts, I wouldn't even need a license.

The problem is, is also in those states, there's not a huge agricultural presence. And so butchers aren't necessarily as widely needed in those areas as they are here in Texas, Oklahoma area, where we have a pretty high cattle production. Okay.

Emily: Yeah, sure, yeah, that makes a ton of sense. so you've mentioned a lot of things you love about your work, but is there anything you would add that you really love about the work that you do? And I would say kind of broadly, all of the work that you do, is there anything you'd add that you've just find that you love, especially if you think people find it surprising?

[00:29:00] Okay.

Tiffany: my passion for agriculture with kids and even, I'm actually doing that tomorrow. I have a program for 4 H and FFAs in Oklahoma. If they just pay the regular butchery fee, I will teach a butcher class to your chapel for free. So I will go out and tomorrow we'll have the entire.

FFA chapter in and out of my trailer. We will skin and gut a couple of pigs and then we will cut it up and make sausage and package it all together. And. I want to add that I don't, we don't force any kids that don't want to be involved in that. So whether I'm going to someone's homestead or farm and their homes, they're homeschooling their children and they're coming out and they're talking to me and I'm showing them things and they're spending the day with me because sometimes I spend the whole day there, you know, whether it's that, or it's working with the FFA kids or it's sponsoring someone to show cattle.

I really [00:30:00] enjoy. That part of my job the most because in farming, we in farming in general, agriculture in general, we're like, 35 years behind as far as our next generation. The average farmers over 60 years old. It's over 65. I believe now, which means that we don't have a next generation ready to go.

We're essentially agriculture has been in decline for 35 years. So I like to see kids get excited about butchering. I have a couple of kids that tell me they want to be a butcher when they grow up now. And you, it makes me want to tear up because you're going, you know, this is so good because they've just kids are just not exposed to it.

And to me, this is something that should be offered in school learning about where your food comes essentially.

Emily: that connection to your food, especially, you know, if you are someone that isn't a vegan who eats any kind of animal products, like we all need to be so much more connected to it. I think it would make us value it more and waste less and understand. Why you pay for [00:31:00] quality and kind of all those important things about our, our food source.

So that's really cool. It's neat that you get that opportunity to share that with, with kids, especially.

Tiffany: Yeah, I absolutely love it. And I would say even vegans should know where their food comes from.

Emily: Well, yes, I just mean like, I just mean, if you don't need any animal products at all, you don't pro you probably get exempted from needing to learn about where meat comes 


Tiffany: On the meat side,

Emily: Yeah. On the meat side. 

So on the flip side, is there anything that you find is tough about this career path, especially if it's something that you just maybe didn't anticipate how challenging it would be when you thought about it when you're younger.

Tiffany: will say backyard butchery, especially, the one thing I could not have anticipated would be the, how do I put this, animal abuse, really. You know, animal neglect. And a lot of it is ignorance. But coming as a producer first, as a farmer first, before a butcher is different because I come at [00:32:00] this this job, you know, on the, on the other side from the other side.

And so I know how these animals are supposed to be raised and I know what they're supposed to look like. And I go to your house, I go to your farm. I see how they live. I see what you feed them. I see their conditions and I see everything. And so there's no hiding things from me. Unfortunately, what that means is I oftentimes see.

Especially in injuries, I see things that I wish I didn't see and I get very angry, with, with some clients that I, you know, I've been known to give a couple of nicely worded lectures on how to take care of animals. I mean, there has been some stuff that was so, I mean, just straight neglect.

Unfortunately, a lot of times, like I said, a lot of times, it's just ignorance. And so I spend as much time as I can helping those people rather than, you know, I don't want to just rub their nose in it. I really want to say, okay, [00:33:00] well. Here's what we can do better, you know, and there's no arguing whenever I'm right there in front of them and I can show them their carcass and I can go.

Do you see this? This is an infection. Do you see this? This is plus like, this is. This is arthritis this animal should have been put down 5 years ago. It's I did 1 last week where its hips were broken and. There are things you see that it just breaks your heart because I know I'm a butcher and I know I'm a farmer, but I'm actually a huge animal lover and I, I know, like I said, I kill animals for a living, but it is really hard to put one down when they're suffering and in pain.

And you just, you feel just terrible. So, yeah, I couldn't have seen that coming. I think maybe in my mind, I had put farmers on a pedestal prior to starting backyard butchery, but also keep in mind backyard butchery does, you know, attract certain types of clientele. People who don't have trailers, who may not have a lot of money, they, you know, [00:34:00] for one reason or another, they're using my service, whether it's because they don't have any other option, the animal's injured, Or because they just want the animal to have the best possible last day.

So I kind of see both extremes and I've also done some feedlot cattle and learned what the cattle, the beef in rotation, At the grocery store where that comes from, and that's also really hard. So I don't think I can eat meat that I didn't raise anymore. I was already pretty bad about it before I became a butcher.

And now I'm even way worse. I'm like, oh, no, no, no, we're not even we're not eating anything from the grocery store.

Emily: Yeah, good for you for speaking up because I think that exactly like human to human interaction is how you really change people's behaviors and minds about things. It's also really hard. Like they're your client that's paying you. It probably takes quite a bit of I don't know, bravery, belief in yourself to like speak up, [00:35:00] but it's so important.

Tiffany: You have to yeah, you have to I can't I mean, there have been points where I've driven away from crying. But. I also, if you know me at all, you know that I can't stay quiet about something like that and I actually do work with the animal control officers in Oklahoma. We just did a presentation for 1 county and we're going to do another county in a few more months.

And so I would rather work with people and. Help them do better and then to just discourage people from raising their own animals because you want people to raise their own animals and raise their own meat and do, you know, do healthier for their family, you know, create healthier food. However, it's not healthier, you know, if the pig is sitting in a 6 by 10. Full of water up to their, you know, up to their ankles and now 4 to 6 inches of water. That's not healthy for you or the animal. And at that point, I have to go. Do you [00:36:00] really want to eat that? You know, are you sure, you know, because now you've just. You, you screwed, you screwed yourself essentially.

Cause if that animal is not edible, now you've just wasted your time and your money. And I do see plenty of inedible animals because of what I do and the niche markets that I have with the injured stuff. So I see a lot of stuff I wish I didn't see.

Emily: Yeah, yeah, I mean, thanks for sharing that. I mean, that's, a tough part about it for sure.

Tiffany: You just have to swallow it and try to help them do better. That's all you can do because being mean about it doesn't help anyone.

Emily: Yeah, 100%, 100%. So, looking ahead, what do you hope to be doing more of or less of in the next 5 to 10 years?

Tiffany: So I am hoping to be buying a ranch in the next few months, really. By the end of this year, hopefully that move will have happened. And I intend on building a deer shop and a taxidermy shop. [00:37:00] So currently on the trailer, I'm just doing beef, pork, lamb, goat, bison, And rattlesnake and I don't do any deer on the trailer and deer hunting has risen in population over the last few years.

So also, we have found wasting disease in Oklahoma. So I want those. I want it to be set a separate facility for that reason. And that will be a brick and mortar facility. So the animals already dead. It's already been gutted. There's really no reason for me to come to you to do deer. So it. Way more financial sense.

And if you are looking at opening a butcher shop, I will say there is more profit to be made having people bring their animals to you. That is, that is, I do not make more money by being mobile. However, I service and fill a specific need, you know, when I looked at building a butcher shop, I did look at building a brick and mortar [00:38:00] and I looked at multiple options.

And to build a brick and mortar shop, I priced at 1. 5 million and that was in 2020. So I expect that number would be even higher now. And the deer shop has no legal oversight, and I think most states don't have a lot of legal oversight for wild game.

If you're wanting to get into butchering, I feel like that honestly is the smartest 1st step, because you won't have.

Okay. As much regulation outside of tags, you will have to hold on to tags. People have to have everything tagged and you'll have to keep it tagged. But other than that, you're not having regular inspections. They're not going to have any kind of stipulations on your equipment, what it's made out of, what the shop is made up of.

And so you really. Can do so much more with so much less and and build up to a butcher shop that way. And that's what I would recommend to most people interested in. And I would recommend they start with, [00:39:00] you know, working with another butcher as well. But my plan is to build that deer shop. And I figured I've been playing around with taxidermy for the last year or so, and I've kind of gotten nerdy into it.

I figured if I'm going to take your deer. And we're going to butcher it. I might as well go ahead and take your head and make it a one stop shop. So you and I'll have to hire some help for this, but it's, it's really like the. Super Bowl of butchering is deer season. It's it's hot and heavy for 3 months.

I think in Oklahoma, I could build a deer shop across from another deer shop, and we would both still be busy with a huge, huge need for this. And we need more butchers. And in the wild game industry, it is just growing, you know, right now we've got the lowest cattle numbers in the U. S. since the fifties, which is a huge issue that we're, we're carefully watching from afar and not really sure where that's going right [00:40:00] now.

But the deer industry is still very much. In an upswing, and I feel like even with the wasting disease being found in Oklahoma, I don't have any concerns of it. I think we're gonna, we're gonna be as busy as we can be.

Emily: Yeah. What an exciting thing to be looking forward to this year. It's a big, will be a big change.

Tiffany: It will be I'll be buying more acreage to really expand on my pork and beef business. So just selling my own personal beef and pork shares to people, I believe in 5 years from now will be a big part of my income, but it is without a large amount of money to jump in. You kind of have to build your numbers over time and that takes time.

So I think it'll be another 5 years for me. I just started this pig herd back in 2021, and I started my cattle herd in 2022. So as far as like, breeding them and raising them for slaughter. You know, we're year [00:41:00] 3 on the pigs and I've got 34 out there and I'll continue to grow that as well as. Right now I've got 10 head of cattle in five years.

That number should be triple or so. And, you know, we'll be selling a good amount of beef and beef sells well. I think everybody's been to the grocery store and sees what those prices look like. So for, for 5 a pound for choice ground beef at the grocery store, I think I could make a little bit of money selling local farm raised beef.

Emily: Totally. Totally. Oh my gosh. That's so exciting. So this is the last question I have for you. And then I want to leave time at the end so you can tell people where to find more about you, but what is one piece of advice generally about work that you would give your younger self?

Tiffany: Ooh, that's a good question. You know, I would say take the risks. If you have a great idea, take the risk and run with it. I think a lot of people, and I would say don't listen to the negativity. [00:42:00] Don't, don't, don't listen to it because When I tell you this idea, backyard butchery, it started as a just a silly idea and everyone told me it would never work.

Even, it took me a year and seven months to build the trailer and people still told me it wouldn't work. It'll never work. It'll never work. And then the minute I was open, man, this is such a good idea. I had the idea. Oh, my goodness. This is so smart. Why has nobody ever done this before? I'm like, wow, the table so you just have to know that people, people are going to do what people do and you can't listen to them and you just have to follow your own path and take those risks because they're totally worth it.

I mean, what's the worst that's going to happen? What's the best that's going to happen? I try, I ask myself those two questions every time I look at a new business adventure, like what's the worst that's going to happen, but what's the best that's going to happen,

Emily: That is such a good piece of advice. Yes. And I I think that can [00:43:00] apply to so many different situations. So can people find more about you? 

Tiffany: Okay, I am all over social media at backyard butchery. That's with a Y at the end. That is Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, Discord, everything. I have, I have it all. I also, Freeland Farms is my other business. You can find that on all of the same Instagram, Facebook, TikTok accounts, and my website is backyardbutchery.

com. I have some really cool merch if people are into into that kind of stuff on my website, and all of those links are on that website as well.

Emily: Well, thank you so much for making the time to talk with me, Tiffany. This was really fun.

Tiffany: Of course. Thanks for having me.


Katie: Thanks for joining me. If you liked the show, please rate and [00:44:00] review on iTunes and Spotify. And please share with a friend. You can also follow the podcast on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, or ticktock. And if you'd like to be interviewed here or there's a particular job you'd like to learn about, please reach