Impact of COVID-19 on Agriculture

New Year Brings Opportunities for Iowa Family

Custom Meat Processing Holds Promise

News / FBNews February 2, 2021

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By Cyndie Shearing

As the old saying goes, “Good things come in threes.” For Curtis and Emily Van Grouw of Hull, Iowa, the recent birth of their son and the launch of a new business venture at the end of January are two monumental “good things” to be thankful for – the third remains to be seen.

After years of careful planning and research, the Van Grouws recently launched Old Parlor Meat Company, a mobile slaughter and custom meat processing plant.

Curtis Van Grouw sees multiple opportunities for the business in Northwest Iowa. This includes farmer customers who do not want to have to transport livestock for processing as well as consumers interested in buying meat directly from a local producer they know.

Curtis, Emily and Waylon John Van Grouw   Credit: Van Grouw family photo   

Farmer interest in the mobile slaughter option stems from the flexibility the service provides, as well as time and cost savings, according to Van Grouw.

“We’ll be providing another option in the marketplace,” Van Grouw explained. The often months-long backlog at larger custom processing plants due to the COVID-19 pandemic continues and has opened up opportunities for smaller businesses owners like Van Grouw to fill in some of the gap. 

Van Grouw’s proximity to large numbers of farmers raising hogs, beef cattle, sheep and goats bodes well for future success.

“We’re working toward a slow and gradual development of the business, including building a strong customer base,” Van Grouw said.

The idea for the business grew out of his personal interest in meat processing and cooking with meat. The name for the new for the new business requires a bit more explanation. 

Van Grouw grew up on a small dairy farm and his parents sold the cows in 2011. But they still have the farm and now raise beef cattle. Van Grouw decided to incorporate the name of an important part of the original family farm – the milking parlor for dairy cows – into the new business, dubbing it Old Parlor Meat Company.

How 2021 will ultimately play out remains unknown, but Van Grouw, a Farm Bureau member in Iowa, is undaunted.

“All sorts of excitement, anxiousness and the unknown are keeping things interesting,” he said. Connect with Van Grouw on Facebook (Old Parlor Meat Company) and Instagram (oldparlormeatco).

Cyndie Shearing is a director of communciations at the American Farm Bureau Federation.

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