How much meat will I get? How much freezer space do I need?

The amount of meat varies by animal type and size. The following provides an average look at the large animals that are available for sale in virtual auctions:

    • Beef: Average live weight of a market steer is 1,250 pounds, which yields 450-540 pounds of meat. This will require 12-15.5 cubic feet of freezer space.
    • Swine/pork: Average live weight of a hog is 270 pounds, which yields 120-140 pounds of meat. This will require 3-4 cubic feet of freezer space.   
    • Lamb and goats: Average live weight of a lamb is 120 pounds, which yields 35-40 pounds of meat. This will require 1 cubic feet of freezer space.

For larger animals, consider splitting the purchase with 1-3 friends, with each taking home a half or quarter of the meat.

What types of meat cuts will I receive?

Most butchers will provide purchasers with options for the types of cuts they would like so there is no standard answer. However, the University of Minnesota Extension provides an example of the typical cuts one might receive.

How are animals priced?

Due to limited face-to-face interactions at this time, animals do not have a certified weight. As a result, all animals will be sold by the head, which means the price listed/bid is the price to purchase the entire animal.

Although it can be a large up-front investment, purchasing meat in bulk is often an economical option for families who consume meat regularly.

Note the buyer is also responsible for paying processing fees to the processing facility that packages the meat. Virtual auctions will help to identify local processing facilities. 

How do I get the meat I purchase?

At the conclusion of the sale, buyers will indicate where they would like their purchases processed. Each auction will have a list of processing options. The buyer will need to contact the processor with their cutting instructions. The processor will let the buyer know when the meat is ready for pick-up and the buyer will pick up the purchase at the processing facility. 

How do I donate the meat to a food pantry?

For virtual auctions that indicate they have a food bank/pantry partner, you will have the option to designate your animal purchase for donation at the time of checkout. Donated animals will be processed at the appropriate facilities and virtual auction organizers will arrange for pick-up by or drop-off to the food bank or pantry. Buyers of donated animals will receive a letter stating the animal was donated and that they qualify for tax exemption. 

What is the auction I want to support doesn’t have a food pantry donation option?

If your local auction hasn’t partnered with a food bank or pantry to accept meat donations, it may still be possible to donate to a local food partner. Check with the auction organizers to see if they are offering the ability to resell livestock through a local livestock market. If yes, buyers could offer their purchase up for resale at the local market and donate the monetary proceeds of the resale to a community food pantry.

Do you have other questions about purchasing from virtual auctions? Check out the Potential Buyer FAQ document, Virtual Auction Resources and Documents, and Virtual Auction Add-Ons.