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  • What is custom processing?
    If livestock producers wish to sell meat, they must have their livestock slaughtered and processed at a U.S. Department of Agriculture-inspected facility. Some producers have chosen to sell live animals, which the customers, as the new owners, can then have processed at a “custom-exempt,” state-licensed facility. For example, Nicolai Farms sells one live beef to four people, each of whom gets a one-fourth share of the meat from that beef. This practice is not only cost-effective for both Nicolai Farms and the customer but also entirely legal if some simple rules are followed. What does “custom-exempt” mean for slaughter or processing? A “custom-exempt” plant, exempt from continuous inspection, can only slaughter and process livestock for the exclusive use of the owners, the owner’s family, and nonpaying guests. Packages of custom-processed meat and poultry must be labeled “NOT FOR SALE." The “NOT FOR SALE” label is required because, by law, the meat cannot be sold, traded, bartered or given away, such as to a food bank. Custom-exempt operations are typically thought to process game meat for hunters, but they usually offer processing services to anyone who wants an animal processed for personal use. Processing businesses that operate under this exemption are inspected by the OK Department of Agriculture once or twice a year. (This is not the same as daily or continuous inspection for USDA-inspected processors.) Custom-exempt processing (also called “cut and wrap”) plants are expected to meet the same requirements for sanitation and construction that USDA-inspected plants must meet, along with keeping certain records.
  • Do you charge a booking/reservation fee?
    At this point, we do not charge a booking fee. However, we have already been left holding the bag on several spots we could have filled by you, our waiting customers. We do reserve the right to charge a cancellation fee if you simply do not show up and leave us with an empty spot we could have filled or cancel less than 48 hours prior to your scheduled appointment. We are considering a booking fee for the future. This will be beneficial to both us and you as everyone wants an immediate booking. We will make it clear if/when that happens. Any reservtion fee would be applied to the processing cost but would be non-refundable if the reservation is canceled.
  • How much does processing cost?
    Our processing fee is .99 per pound hanging weight plus a $77 disposal fee. For additional preferences such as tenderizing, making patties, or special cuts you can view our complete pricing list below.
  • Why am I asked to enter a CC number when booking an appointment?
    Think of your appointment as a hotel reservation for the animal you are dropping off. All hotels require a credit card number when making a reservation in the event of a last minute cancellation or no-show. The same concept applies here. More than once, we have had excited clients make reservations and then fail to show up or only cancel when they finally answer the 5th text or 3rd phone call reminder and their appointment is in an hour. We aren't trying to be mean, it's just good business. Be assured, just like the Hilton, your credit card will never be charged unless you fail to comply with the cancellation terms.
  • What is your cancellation policy?
    It's pretty simple. If you are bringing in 3 beef or less, we need 48 hours advance notice of cancellation. If bringing in over 3 beef, we need 72 hours notice. This is just to give us time to try to fill those empty spots. If you wait (excluding special circumstances ie. illness, a death in the family, a family emergency, etc...) to cancel less than the 48 or 72 hours prior to your appointment, we reserve the right to charge a $25 cancellation fee. If you fail to contact us at all and just don't show we will most assuredly charge a $25 no-show fee and your file will be noted as such. We also reserve the right to cancel your appointment if we make multiple attempts to contact you and receive absolutley no response. Make certain you give us the email and phone numbers you prefer us to use. No response from you within the same 48-72 hours makes your appointment subject to cancellation. We send out multiple reminders via text, email, and/or phone call, giving you plenty of opportunities to plug the appointment into your phone, write it on your calendar, tell Alexia or Siri to set a reminder or whatever you do to keep your life flowing smoothly.
  • How far out are you scheduling?
    As of mid Sept, 2022, we are booked through February 2023 have some openings June-October and a few scattered in November and December. We are taking bookings for 2023 and 2024. DON'T WAIT to book your apointment. We get multiple calls a day for bookings, and those slots fill up quickly. Booking up to a year ahead is recomended. You can always cancel your appointment if you decide you don't need it and have a list of people waiting for an open spot.
  • I really need an earlier date. What can I do?
    While we would love to accommodate everyone, it is just not possible. Processing dates are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. We do have a waiting list you can get on, and often can get you in earlier than anticipated. But the best we can do is offer you our earliest available opening, and then put you on our call list. At this time (Sept 2021) we are booked through May 2022. Our summer months are light and have a lot of openings but our November -December is full. This changes daily, as spots are filling quickly. We highly recomend you take a date we offer you. We can not hold a date, waiting for you to decide to take it.
  • Can I book regular spots with you?
    YES! We love working with our farmers and ranchers. We have several we schedule regular spots for. We would love to work with you to find a scheule that fits your program. Booking in advance, with regular spots ensures that you, as the custom exempt sales person, have processing dates for your customers. This provides value to your program, as it ensures your customers are able to get their product. If you do not have a place to take the beef shares to be processd, you can not sell them to the end customer. The best practice we have seen is to schedule 2-3 at a time for up to a year in advance. You can choose if this is once a month, every other month, etc. We attemt to keep those dates around the same time month, so it is easy for you to remember and make a part of your schedule. **If dates are already taken, we can not book beyond our capacity. Calling to set up your reoccuring dates does not mean we can get you in sooner. We will start those dates with our first availability. and move froward from there.**
  • What is Dry Aged?
    Dry aging is a process whereby beef carcasses are stored – without protective packaging – at low refrigeration temperatures for one to four weeks to allow the natural enzymes to break down the meat which results in increased tenderness and the development of the unique flavor that can only be described as “dry-aged beef.” Most processors will dry age for 14 days. Any time longer than that will require an additional charge per pound per day. On a very lean, or grass fed beef, depending on how much fat coverage is there, it might not be able to hang more than 10-12 days. We watch these and will process them when they look right. FYI - premium cuts of "AGED BEEF" are usually dry aged for 28 days.
  • How much meat will I get out of my beef?
    The amount of meat you get from a beef varies quite a bit with the weight, breed, age of the animal, how it was fed out, whether heart, liver, tongue, and tail are included, and whether your final product is boneless or bone-in, and finally, how close it is trimmed. The best explanation can be found on our farm Website by clicking HERE. If you have an excessively fat animal, your take home % could be lower simply because there is a higher fat to meat ratio. We can leave 3" of fat on the outside of your steaks and roasts, but you probably wouldn't like it. Conversely, a very lean animal (or grass fed) will have more shrinkage or drying than a more fatty animal, and might not yeild as much final product. How much meat you will get is not able to be determined strictly by a simple math solution, but is figured as a general rule at 50%- 60%, based on an animal, who has a good, but not excessive fat coverage. The genreal rule of thumb for figuring your final product amount is as follows: Hanging weight or rail weight x .60. In summary, a live animal weighing 1000 lbs. weighs about 600 lbs. on the rail, (600 x .60 = which will yield approximately 360 lbs. of final meat product. Again, if the meat you take home is boneless (which the majority of our cuts are), your yield % will be less. If you choose not to take the organ meat, tongue, and tail, your yield will be less. Our beef is packaged to grocery store, pan-ready standards, meaning we trim the fat to the point that you can go from package to pan without any work. This type of trimming yields less poundage overall but does not affect the amount of actual "meat" you are getting. Below is an average approximation based on a 1,000 pound live weight animal.
  • Do you sell beef by the package/cut instead of having to order a large amount?
    Yes. We have a limited amount of inspected meat that we can sell by the package/pound. We try to keep our prices a little under what you might pay at Sam's but you will be getting far better quality than you will purchase in a grocery store. However, if you want the best pricing, get with a friend of family member who is also interested in some fresh locally raised untainted meat and you will find that it is an investment well worth the money. If space is an issue, you can even split a quarter as long as you both agree on a single cutting order. On an average calf, that would be around 40-50 pounds of packaged meat each which would easily fit in any refrigerator freezer. Buying a share of beef directly from a local farmer/rancher allows you to get cuts of meat that you might not normally indulge in because of the cost. GOOD ground beef right now is around $6+/pound. Brisket is $5/pound. Fillets are around $24/pound. Ribeyes are around $18-$20/pound. At those prices, I wouldn't be eating much beef! However, when buying straight from the farm you are paying around $8-$9/pound across the board for ALL the meat. You can eat ribeye steaks for the same price as hamburger!
  • Can I get extra lean hamburger?
    YES! You can choose which ever blend of hamburger you desire. Our standard is 85/15. While we try to get this as close as possible, there is no sure-fire way to measure out the fat-to-meat ratio to make an exact blend. For extra lean burger, there is a small additional charge for the extra time it takes to cull out all the fat.
  • When do I pick up my beef?
    We allow the beef to dry age for about two weeks so usually 14-16 days from the time your beef is brought in, it will be ready for pick up. We will notify you when your meat goes into the freezer. We are a procesing facility, not a storage facility and have limited storage space. We give you 48 hours after your beef is frozen to pick up your meat and then after that a $10/ day storage fee will be charged. Office hours are M-Wed 9am to 7pm and 9am to 5pm on Thursdays. Call us ahead of time for a Friday pickup. We are usually around but we just might be floating on the pool with the grandkids. We understand that it's diffuclt for some to get to us during these hours. If you need a later time, or a Saturday pickup, we are happy to arrange that if we can. We will not be opening for pick up on Sunday's.
  • Why does my beef say,  "NOT FOR SALE?""
    Packages of custom-processed meat and poultry must be labeled “NOT FOR SALE." The “NOT FOR SALE” label is required because, by law, the meat cannot be sold, traded, bartered or given away, such as to a food bank. AKA - not for REsale. It is custom processed for the owner (you) only.
  • I want my beef cut a certain way. Is that possible?
    Yes! That's the beauty of custom processing. You will be sent instructions and a link to a processing form. This form allows you to tell us just how you want your beef processed. The form can be confusing if you have never done custom processing before, so we have provided a detailed explanition of the various cuts on the bottom of the page containing the link to the form. Please read through that sheet first, then if you still have questions, feel free to give us a call and we will walk you through it. If you desire speciality cuts, we can certainly do that but note that there will be an extra charge.
  • Some of the cuts or parts of the beef I like are not on your cutting sheet. What should I do?
    Our cutting preferences sheet does have a few items omitted that some people might really miss, like the chuck steaks, cheek meat, or Cowboy steaks. These speciallity cuts are not something that most people choose and take a lot more time to process than the standard cuts. If you want any of these speciality cuts, please call us when you are filling out your cutting order. We can do them. but there is an additional fee for speciality cuts.
  • Where do I get beef to process?
    The Fated Calf does NOT provide individual cuts of meat or shares of beef. We are a processing facility only. You or a person you have purchased a share of beef from bring us a live aniumal, and we process it. If you are looking for a beef or a share of a beef to purchase, get in touch with a local farmer, and purchase from them. Of course, we highly recomend purchasing beef shares from Nicolai Farms. They provide all natural Oklahoma beef that is always hormone, steroid, and antibiotic free. We also have a short list of local farmers who we know bring in quality beef and always turn out a great end product.
  • Is the Fatted Calf State or USDA inspected?
    No. The Fatted Calf is a custom exempt facility only. See 'What is custom processing.' for more information.
  • Where are you located?
    Our address is 94822 N. 2495 Rd Geary, OK 73040. Apple Maps consistently brings you straight here while if following Google, you might end up in Hydro. If you contact our staff before coming to see us, we can drop you a PIN (on iPhones), or send you detailed directions to get here. Yes, we are located in rural Oklahoma. Yes, it is a dirt road, but it is safe to drive on. One of the ways you might come, there is even a low water crossing. (This is on a county road, that is maintained and safe to cross.) Just consider it an adventure outing to the country and enjoy the scenery. It really is beautiful and peaceful.
  • What is the difference between live weight and hanging weight?
    Live Weight vs. Hanging weight Lets assume an average sized two year olds steers weighs approximately 1,000 lbs; that weight is called the “live weight”. To keep the arithmetic ,simple we’ll assume a 1,000 lb. steer is brought in. Once the animal is slaughtered however, the skin, head, non usable organs, and hooves are removed and the carcass is split down the middle and weighed, giving the butcher the “hanging” or “carcass weight”, which is usually around 60% of the live weight. The two “sides” are then hung in a cooler for 10 days to two weeks to age. This improves tenderness and enhances flavor but also further reduces weight due to evaporation. So, a live beef weighing 1000 pounds would weigh (1,000 x .60) 600 pounds on the rail, or hanging weight. We use the hanging weight of the carcass to determine our processing fees.
  • My T-Bone has a tail. Why?
    Often, when you cut the T-Bone, there is a small, but very tender piece of meat that most places cut off and put into hamburger. If your steaks are large, we prefer to include that with your portion, giving you more of the better meat, rather than having that piece go to ground beef.
  • The internet says I shoud get 60% finished product. What if I don't?
    First, dont believe everything you read on the internet. This is a complicated question. Many people are researching how much packaged weight they should get. According to the internet, 60% is the golden number, and it indicates you should get no less than that number. The 60% talked about is 60% of the hanging, or rail weight. This means that the boxed meat you put in your freezer should be around 60% of the hanging weight which would include you taking the tail, tongue, heart, liver, and having little or no fat trimmed off before packaging. 60% NOT a concrete number, it is an AVERAGE, and a goal to strive for. The actual poundage you take home is dependent on many factors. 1. The breed of the animal Some breeds are designed for beef production, and have a better yield of meat. Not all breeds are great meat producers. Longhorns make fantastic steaks, but their size is deceiving. They are long, lanky, and have a ton of bone. 2. The time fed out/ finished Longer is not always better. Animals fed over 120 days often produce too much outside fat cover, instead of it going into marbeling. We have consistently seen beeves come in that have been fed over 120 days that had a high rail weight, but a low yield of actual packaged meat. The fat in these cases went to outside cover, not marbeling. We can leave that 3"-4" of fat on the outside of your steaks but you probably wouldn't appreciate it. 3. The condition of the animal Many animals come in with old injuries, bursing, scar tissue, etc. These are not *sick* animals but just injured. The injured muscle has to be removed, as it does not produce quality meat, even for hamburger. Trust me, you don't want it. 4. Our standard We make every effort to produce a cut that will allow you to go from package to pan with out any addtional work for you. "If it's not good enough for grandma, we don't put it out," is the motto our butchers go by. Our steaks are trimmed to 1/2" or less all the way around. Sometimes this means removing as much as 4"-5" of fat off the outiside of the cut. 5. Boneless vs. Bone-in The makority of our cuts are boneless. You can ask for all bone-in cuts if you prefer. Bone weighs a lot. Your yield will automatically lower when the bone is removed. However, you are not losing any meat, only non-edible product.
  • What if I find a bone in my hamburger?
    Well, we do our very best to make sure that does not happen, but on occasion one can slip through. Processing plants are allowed a certain amount of bone to be in the meat but it is never pleasant. That is why we invested a fair amount of money into a bone collector system which filters out all the hard fat, sinew, and yes, bone or anything else that should not be in your hamburger. We make every effort to be very careful but we are not perfect and unfortunately there might be an occasional unwanted object slip through the crack. If that happens, we sincerely apologize and hope you will kindly let us know and understand that it is not our standard.
  • Do you accept EBT/SNAP payments?
    Yes! We gladly accept both.
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